Clyde Park Vineyard
The stunning views of the Moorabool Valley are one of the many reasons to visit the thriving gem that is Clyde Park Winery.
Words by ELLIE GARDNER | Photographs by BRAD HILL IMAGING
Located in Bannockburn, just a short drive from Geelong, this gorgeously rustic winery offers the perfect excuse to escape for a family day out, and to enjoy an authentic food and wine experience in a relaxed and ambient setting.
Established in 1979, Clyde Park began with plantings of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines, and has progressively expanded to nearly 40 acres of growth, adding Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Gris varieties. Terry Jongebloed and Sue Dixon have owned the winery since 1997, and brought with them a passion for genuine food, wine, and memories to be shared with loved ones.
It is this holistic and real approach to their products that enables Clyde Park to stand as a 5 star winery, as rated again by James Halliday in 2016. Now, with their new renovations nearly complete, the vineyard continues to establish itself as a friendly and flexible place to celebrate that special occasion or to enjoy a casual meal for lunch and wine tasting.
Walking into the familiar bistro, I recall the memories of a family wedding that I attended late last year, and remember how beautifully perfect that ceremony was - like something out of a movie. I sat with Terry for a chat in the warm and comfortable bistro, listening to the smooth tunes of the 1970’s, and enjoying the positive vibe that Clyde Park is famous for.
Terry says, "Our approach with everything we do in food and wine is authentic, there is nothing pretend here. We are a winery in a paddock, after all! For us it is all about having healthy paddocks and growing great fruit. We don’t use herbicides, and we believe in nurturing and developing the land. Under the vines we have mulching and compost programs in place that nurture the soil, because ultimately, healthy plants and soil gives us better tasting fruit."
"We always use local and real produce. We raise our own lamb and they also double up as our horticulture lawn mowers in winter! They get out amongst the vines and chew the weeds down naturally. We have chickens that provide the eggs for our desserts and wedding cakes, all made on site by Sue, my partner and Culinary Director of the bistro, along with Adrian Tozer, Head Chef. We have 2 vegetable gardens, growing all sorts of produce, from cauliflower that is used in the slaw, to tomatoes of 5 different varieties that are on their way to ripening. We have a really positive approach to sustainability and hope to do our bit, and we aim to work in conjunction with the ethics of the wine maker, the viticulturists, and the chefs to achieve this. It’s very much about the realness of what we do, just to have uncomplicated but tasty food."
Terry is excited for what the new renovations will bring to the already busy and beloved vineyard. He says, "We will have a new undercover terrace outside facing east, which will give an undercover experience of the outdoors, suitable for those windy or rainy days. It will be made of really old timber posts of Victorian grey gum, and of old Oregon beams that are 100 or so years old. Our new wood fire pizza oven will be another great addition, with its internal being made from clay sourced from France, which we are very excited about."
"We want to make the most of these magnificent views, and so we will be having glass doors to utilize that, with the flexibility to open them depending on the weather. The new cellar door area will allow us to hold more private and personalised wine tastings, with 100% of our time being dedicated to the participants during the session. A smaller dining area is also being built to accommodate for smaller lunches and private cocktail events. As the bistro has gotten busier, we’d like to give a better service of wine tastings, and being able to do this in our new areas will be great."
It is an incredibly busy time for Clyde Park, with their wedding season underway, and Christmas drawing closer. Terry continues, "We are now open 7 days a week for lunch, and have a lot of Christmas parties booked, as well as weddings. We absolutely love our weddings, and really pride ourselves on our understanding of the bride and groom’s individual needs and what they’re trying to do. We all have different budgets and dreams, and we like to think that we can cater for them all. The best way to see if we can is to come and have a chat, which really personalises the experience, I think. It is very important to get this special day right."
"The kids love it here, too, because they can run around and enjoy themselves, while the adults can sit back and relax. We strive to be consistently great at what we do, and I think that people love coming back because what we offer is a really honest approach. Our food is not so much fine dining as it is fine produce done in a very relaxed, rustic, and sophisticated way. We are in the quality game, and the Moorabool Valley region as a whole is really moving away from being a quiet achieving region, to driving sustainable, improved, and quality wine."
Cellar Door and Bistro open 7 days a week, bookings can be made online.
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