The epicurean experience of a lifetime

Palatial Sweetwater Vineyard Estate opens its doors just twice a year. Here’s your chance to step inside one of the regions most historic estates.

Nestled into Sweetwater Ridge in Belford, the stunning complex is set on 122 acres of incredible rural countryside overlooking the acclaimed vineyard and is widely known as one of the most significantly elegant country vineyard estates in Australia.

A private property, visitors are only granted access to its iconic cellar door twice a year as part of the Sweetwater Estate Exclusive Luncheons in May and September. This year’s first event will be held on Saturday May 23. Owned by the Iris Group, the estate includes 39 acres of Shiraz, Cabernet and Semillon vineyards, renowned for producing distinctive wines of the highest quality with a fragrant floral fruit character and rich textural tannins.

Guests at the exclusive upcoming luncheon will have the opportunity to sample some of its finest vintages matched with five incredible courses created and prepared by one of the region’s most acclaimed chefs – Paul Niddrie, Head Chef at Flotilla Restaurant. Cheffing for 12 years, Paul was trained under and alongside some of the best chefs in the region, as well as in Europe – but you won’t find him riding on their coat tails. His food has been described as indulgent, exciting, fun, extravagant, thoughtful and restrained – all characteristics Paul credits to his childhood in rural Gloucester.

It’s these qualities he’ll be bringing to the Sweetwater luncheon menu. Paul said he was honoured to have been invited to chef the event: “I’m going to have to create something pretty special to live up to the spectacular wines and setting of this fantastic event,” he laughs. “The atmosphere and beauty of the setting will really enhance the menu I’ve planned.”

The event will begin with canapés in the sunshine in the grounds of the property, which is reminiscent of a grand European chateau of yesteryear. The cellar door originally stood in France, and was transported to Australia by a previous owner of the estate, lending an authenticity and character unlike any other property in the region.

Sweetwater’s General Manager and Senior Winemaker Bryan Currie said it was a ‘spectacular’ property. “I don’t know any others like it in the Hunter Valley,” he said. “What’s more, it has a really high quality vineyard that produces some amazing vintages.” “It’s a real jewel in our crown; but because it’s a private property the only way the public can access the grounds is to come to our two exclusive annual events. They are a fantastic way to sit down and really appreciate the very best wine with an incredible menu in a spectacular setting.”

For more information visit