Unlock a hidden gem in the Hunter Valley, Kawal Rock Distillery

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Kawal Rock | Hunter Valley
Kawal Rock | Hunter Valley

Do you want to feel the sun glinting off the windscreen, cruise north and leave the city fuss in the rearview mirror. Hunter Valley road trip, here we come! With a belly full of servo snacks (because, let’s be real, when is gas station food not a road trip essential?) with belt out tunes as the scenery transformed. Gone were the towering buildings, replaced by rolling hills dotted with vineyards.

Set against the picturesque backdrop of Broke Fordwich, Kawal Rock Distillery is the Hunter Valley’s latest addition to the region’s tasting experiences.

Opened in 2022, Kawal Rock is a unique vineyard and distillery created by business partners, Louise Foster and Maria Schuler. The duo bring a fresh perspective to their charming cellar door in Broke Fordwich and affectionately known to locals as the ‘Girls on the Hill’, the pair have created a delicious range of bespoke spirits and wines made from local ingredients using fruit from the vineyard’s 60-year-old vines.

The vineyard is located at the base of the Rock which holds significance to the local Wonnarua people. Legend has it that the twin wedge-tailed eagles that live on the Rock and can often be seen circling the vineyard are ancient protectors of the land. The Wonnaruan name for the eagle is Ka-Wal, which is the brand’s namesake.

Kawal Rock Distiller Louise Foster says, “We had always had an interest in the distilling process, with a particular passion for botanical gins. We have loved learning as we go, creating our uniquely crafted wine-based spirits from grapes lovingly grown on our own vines.”

Foster says. “After many trials experimenting with a diverse range of Australian and local botanicals, we’ve curated a range of spirits that embody the essence of our region, much akin to wine. What sets us apart is our commitment to creating spirits from scratch using our own grapes, resulting in a remarkably clean finish.” Foster concludes their spirits are perfectly suited for savouring neat or paired with your preferred artisan tonic.

The cellar door is a culmination of locally made, sourced and recycled materials. The walls of the cellar door have been lined with recycled wine barrel timber. The rustic bar and entry door was made by talented local artisans, and sitting proudly in the centre is the handmade Tasmanian copper still.

Kawal Rock’s range of spirits and wine includes:

The ‘Picnic in the Sky’ experience, which is a collaboration between Kawal Rock Distillery and Hunter Valley Helicopters is an unforgettable two-hour experience available to visitors to the region looking for something extra special.

This exclusive package features a private distillery tour and tasting experience for $650 per person. Following the tour, guests embark on a helicopter ride to land atop the rock at Kawal, where they’ll enjoy a gourmet picnic paired with a bottle of Kawal Rock Moscato, all while taking in the unparalleled views of the Hunter Valley.

The cellar door is available for event hire and is open for tastings Friday to Monday from 10am to 7 pm. Tastings are priced at $25 per person and the range is also available to purchase through the website. Alternatively, guests can also drop in for a delightful G&T or house-made cocktail and take in the sweeping vineyard views from the outdoor terrace.

Kawal Rock Distillery
260 Milbrodale Rd, Fordwich NSW 2330
Opening hours: Friday to Monday 10am – 4pm

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