Q & A with Peter. The owner of Adina Vineyard & Olive Grove in the Hunter Valley
Q. Why did you make the change to the Hunter Valley?
A. 12 years ago I was running the European business of a US multinational IT company. I was located in Paris and as I started to think about retirement and lifestyle I knew I wanted to do something different to the corporate world, but after being involved in multi billion dollar businesses for a long time I also knew I wanted to do something to keep me active and challenged. I had a lifetime interest in wines that started when I was a young engineer working for IBM and I was transferred to Adelaide for 3 years. During that period I sold many of the traditional wine names their first computers – I taught them a little about IT and they taught me a lot about growing and processing grapes. After considering various options in Paris we decided we liked the dream of owning a vineyard so we started to look at vineyard properties in various locations but very quickly decided on the lower Hunter. We kept coming back to the Adina property and eventually agreed to buy it in 2003.
Q. What prior knowledge of wine making did you have?
A. Well I had certainly drunk a lot of wine! And after 4 years in France I had the opportunity to visit most of the wine regions. But I had no detailed knowledge of the technicalities of making wine. I did have a reasonable business background and had been involved in sales and marketing for many years. I also quickly figured that in the Hunter we had access to many talented winemakers who could supply the skills I needed. In addition the infrastructure existed to provide all the technical and packaging items we needed.
Q. Would you mind telling us about your business?
A. From get go we decided that we wanted Adina Vineyard to be a “destination” – not just a place to grow grapes. When we arrived the business model was to grow grapes and sell them to other producers – there were no cellar door facilities, just 2 houses on the property. Today we have made considerable investments to develop the tourist destination concept. We have a new cellar door, restaurant, accommodation, an olive-based providore business and there is a day spa on the property. Strategically we have made a big investment in the olive business and now we have olive harvesting, processing and marketing processes in place. We actually have the largest olive mill in the lower Hunter which produces extra virgin olive oil for ourselves and many other growers in the valley.
Q. Does Adina Vineyard have an environmentally friendly approach to it's business?
. We have embraced the reduce, reuse and recycle concept and incorporate that as much as we can in our farming and sales activities.
1. We have installed an extensive water monitoring system that enables us to do pinpoint irrigation and reduce water requirements
2. We recycle the by-products of olive oil production by composting same and using it on the olive grove.
Q. Can you please tell us about the Adiina Vineyard experience
A. We have both a wholesale and retail business for olive products. The retail business has been quite successful in bringing table olives, olive oils and tapenades to the market. Some years ago we added some complementary products like dukkah and our caramelised balsamic vinegar which have become very popular. We have recently released the first of a new product range under the Hunter Providore label. This range which includes relishes and pickles typically has an olive paste base that is incorporated with other inputs to make a unique food experience.