The Fascinating History of Drayton’s Family Wines

Hunter Valley is renowned for its incredible selection of wineries, and the Drayton’s are one of the pioneering winemaking families of the region – their winery is one of the very few that are still run by a family team.

Drayton’s Family Wines spans back more than a century. Joseph Drayton left England at 27 and moved to Sydney with his wife, two sons, and a newborn daughter. Sadly, his wife, daughter, and one of his sons were lost during the journey. Arriving in Lochinvar and then moving to Pokolbin, Joseph acquired more than 80 acres of land. Here, he built the Bellevue homestead and, in the late 1850s, stopped growing grain and instead started to plant his first vines.

After he got married again, Joseph had eight more children, one of which – William – bought more land and started growing vines in the plot next to his father’s.

Eventually, William took over Bellevue from his father and, when he retired, split his assets between his ten children. Four of them, Harry, Walter, George, and Leonard, took over Bellevue.

In 1947, W. Drayton and Sons became an official company and was passed down to the fourth generation Drayton sons.

Moving forward to 2008, Drayton Family Wines was part of a tragedy that saw a fire hit the winery and a resident winemaker die in the explosion.

Today, the winery is back in full swing more than 150 years after its initial inception. It’s run by Max Drayton and his two sons, John and Greg. Max is now one of the go-to people in Hunter Valley for wine advice, and he has helped numerous keen winemakers conceptualise and start their businesses in the region.

Drayton Family Wines for Visitors

For visitors, Drayton Family Wines promises an authentic look into the winemaking process that has thrived in the Hunter Valley for over a century. As well as learning more about the fascinating history of the Drayton family, you can also explore the numerous delicious wines the family has become so well-known for.

Daily cellar door tours and winemaking tours give guests an insight into the creative process that every vine goes through to become a fully-fledged bottle of sought-after wine that hits the shelves in the shops.

The scenery surrounding Drayton Family Wines is spectacular, too, so when you’re not busy learning about the family and their processes, you can explore and discover the rippling Hunter Valley.