We’re fortunate enough to have some lovely things written about our winery. Here is a sampling of the latest reviews.
Country Style Magazine: To The Coast1 December 2012
Originally published in Country Style Magazine, December 2012. Story by Barbara Sweeney. Photography by Michael Wee.
Looking out over the smooth swathe of lawn to the small stone cottage surrounded by a garden bed filled with purple lavender, with two sturdy junipers and garden urns on plinths on either side of the front door, and you’d swear you were in the south of France.
But glance to the west and you know this is Australia. The horizon is a green-grey blanket of eucalypts. And in the foreground is wetland dotted with white-trunked eucalypts like candles on a birthday cake. It’s the northern reaches of Burrill Lake and its surface sparkles in the sun.
The picturesque garden is the work of unashamed Francophile Rosie Cupitt and her husband Griff, who have only recently returned from a cheesemaking study trip to La Rochelle on the Bay of Biscay in western France.
Rosie, a former landscape gardener (with a penchant for lavender, salvia and pines) and now winemaker, has travelled regularly to France over the years, leading garden tours, picking grapes and now combining her loves by taking small food and wine groups. “A lot of what we’ve done here has been taken from these tours,” she says.
The Cupitts have been visiting their beach house at nearby Narrawallee Beach for almost 30 years, and in 2000 they decided to move permanently from the NSW Southern Highlands to their home on the coast. “We were going to retire,” says Rosie. “Then this property came up a few years later and we ended up buying it. It was a kind of spur-of-the-moment thing.”
Both Rosie and Griff had projects that they wanted to pursue. Griff, who comes from a long line of pastoralists and butchers, wanted to get back into cattle. “He’s a grazier through and through,” says Rosie. He now breeds Aberdeen Angus, which you can see in far-off paddocks.
Rosie wanted to settle down in one place and make wine. While the NSW South Coast may not be a traditional winemaking area, it has been steadily growing. There are now 13 cellar doors in the region, and Rosie and Griff’s place, Cupitt’s Winery, is one of these.
The property has three hectares of vines, including neat blocks of sauvignon blanc. “That’s more a heart than a head choice,” says Rosie. “This is not an ideal growing area for sauvignon.”
The Cupitts also grow semillon, verdelho and cabernet franc grapes, and have installed an ingenious underground winery, which you enter through heavy grey timber doors set into the side of the hill.
“We decided to embark on a mission and go full pelt,” says Rosie. “We’re following our passions.” The stone cottage, which was built in 1856 and once served as a dairy, was always going to make an ideal cellar door.
Restoring this, and turning the slab cottage nearby into accommodation, were their first priorities. To prepare the stone cottage for visitors, Rosie and Griff had to first clear out the pigeons. They then needed to put in a new floor, windows and doors, and repair the tin roof as well as the casuarina-shingle lining underneath it.
The 100-year-old slab cottage is furnished with Cupitt heirlooms — squatter chairs and the chiffonier in the living room from Griff’s dad, an old mirror found in the shed of the family’s Southern Highlands farm, and a wonderful cedar chest of drawers. Rosie’s inimitable style, drawing on her love of France, can be seen in her choice of curtain and upholstery fabrics, and small decorative touches. Despite the stylish flourishes, this is still unmistakably an Australian cottage: sturdy and comfortable, welcoming and easy.
There’s a basket of logs by the fire, an outdoor table on the verandah — an orderly hedge creating a private nook — and even a fishing rod by the front door.
A few years ago, Rosie and Griff built a restaurant opposite the cellar door. It sits on a ridge overlooking the lake, with the ranges in the distance. It’s very popular with visitors to nearby Milton and Ulladulla, and with the guests staying in the cottage, who enjoy being able to just stroll across the lawn come suppertime.