Brokenwood was founded in the famous Hunter Valley wine town of Pokolbin in 1970 by three Sydney solicitors (including James Halliday) who paid a then-record $970 an acre for a 10 acre plot of potential vineyard land; the name is a reference to the backbreaking labour that was required to clear the land of trees,stumps, and roots.
The first vintage was 1973; the fruit was picked by family and friends and famously ferried to the winery in the back seat of the legendary Len Evans' Bentley. The total production was 75 cases of Hermitage Cabernet Sauvignon. Despite the fact that the three partners claimed to 'know nothing about winemaking', the 1975 vintage won a Gold Medal at the Hunter Valley Wine Show, and the legend had begun. In 1978 the flagship Graveyard vineyard was purchased (despite the fact that it never actually was a graveyard, the winery loves to drolly point out that the wines 'have a lot of body'); in 1982 Brokenwood welcomed Iain Riggs as Winemaker/Managing Director, and produced white wine for the first time.
Brokenwood quickly became one of the iconic wineries of Australia. The Graveyard Shiraz is the highest-ranked red wine from the Hunter Valley, with an Exceptional rating in Langton's definitive Classification of Australian wine; Brokenwood Semillon has become one of the world's most famous semillons. Today production has grown to 100,000 cases, with 64 hectares of vineyards and fruit sourced from across Australia - 'all the right regions for all the right reasons' is the motto for blends from the Hunter, Cowra, Orange, Beechworth (King Valley), and McLaren Vale. Brokenwood continues to win acclaim for both its peerless single vineyard wines and the multi-regional blends, maintaining its reputation for balance, elegance, consistency and top value.