Getting to Know Drayton’s Family Wines

Getting to Know Drayton’s Family Wines

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 03/30/2016

Reading time: 3 mins

Learn about one of the oldest wine families in Australia!

The Hunter Valley is renowned for its extensive selection of wineries, but some hold a much larger place in history than others. Drayton’s Family Wines is one such vineyard, having helped the Valley become known as Australia’s go-to wine region. The Drayton’s are one of the pioneering winemaking families in the country, and the winery is one of the few that’s still owned and operated by the founding family.

The History of Drayton’s Family Wines

Drayton’s Family Wines spans back over 150 years, starting when Joseph Drayton first stepped foot on the rich soil of the Hunter Valley. Born in Lincolnshire in England, he set sail for Australia when he was 27 with his wife and children but sadly lost his wife, a son, and a daughter during the crossing. It wasn’t until 1853 that Joseph and his remaining son, Frederick, moved to Pokolbin and acquired a landmass of around 80 acres. It was here they set up the Bellevue homestead, which was the first site of what we know today as Drayton’s Family Wines.

Joseph then re-married and had ten children with his new wife, leading to one of his sons, William taking over the winery once his father reached a certain age. What followed was years of the family growing and each generation passing on the Drayton’s Wines to the next, with sons, daughters, and in-laws all helping in developing the winery’s unique taste.

The history of the Drayton’s is both fascinating and tragic. In 2008, an explosion at the winery resulted in the death of Trevor Drayton, one of the winemakers at the time.

Today, the empire is owned by Max Drayton and his sons, John and Greg. With over 60 years’ experience crafting delectable wines, Max is now an invaluable source of advice in the region and the head honcho of one of the best-loved wineries in Hunter Valley.

Drayton’s Family Wines

The winery produces a variety of wine flavours, including vintage offerings.

  • Semillon Chardonnay

    Made from a tasty blend of two different white grape varieties, this Australian-Chablis style offering has an enticing tropical aroma with a rich, crisp finish.

  • Traminer Riesling

    A straw-yellow wine with a complex, almost spicy scent. There are hints of lychee and rose imbued in the flavour, while the subtly palette provides a herby, tangy aftertaste.

  • Heritage Red

    Oozing rich blackcurrant and fruity undertones, this medium-bodied red only improves with age, and is ideal for immediate drinking.

  • Shiraz Cabernet

    This is another medium-bodied offering from Drayton Family Wines, with a strong and spicy aroma and a hint of pepper. It boasts plenty of body, with undertones of blueberry and blackberry that add a fruity punch.

The expansive selection of wines, the prestigious history, and the stunning surroundings make Drayton Family Wines the perfect vineyard to visit during a trip to the Hunter Valley.

Related article: How Many Wineries Are in Hunter Valley?

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.

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