Wingham is well known for being a beef town but within a few months it could also be known as wine country.
Wingham’s new vineyard, Jacaranda Estate has just harvested 2.5 tonnes of grapes for a yield of 1300 litres of wine.
The fruit was hand basket pressed on site using 100-year-old presses and delivered to wine maker Will Rickard-Bell at Chill Wine Co in Orange.
Business owners Mark and Belinda Smith will harvest a total of around eight tonnes this month which will produce more than 7000 bottles.
They aim to produce premium sparkling and still wines entirely from the grapes grown on the estate including chardonnay, pinot noir and rose.
Mark and Belinda purchased the Appletree Street property in January 2014.
Since then they have created extensive gardens with hundreds of trees planted including hedge trees, citrus, stone fruit, olives and other fruit and nut trees as well as a large vegetable garden area.
The one acre vineyard of 1250 vines was established in early 2015 from two year old grafted vines.
A dam has been created which acts as a reservoir of one megalitre with water pumped from Cedar Party Creek which forms the northern boundary of the property.
Plans are being drawn up for a small building on the estate that will serve as a cellar door for wine tastings and sales with the first bottles expected to be available by mid August.
Both Mark and Belinda say they have considerable experience in viticulture, wine sales and marketing and Mark has co-owned vineyards in the Hunter Valley and Megalong Valley.
Mark explains that Wingham’s climate is not ideally suited to wine grape growing however much has been learned over the years about how to cope with hot/wet climate issues. Since being planted the crops in Wingham have grown prolifically.