Former ARL boss John Quayle launches Hunter Valley Chardonnay from Denman estate

FROM crushing the opposition to crushing grapes.

Rugby league legend John Quayle is launching a Hunter Valley Chardonnay in November, exclusively available at Cellarmasters.

The Cloud Cloaked Winds of Change Hunter Valley Chardonnay 2017 has been made using grapes from Quayle’s Winbirra Estate in Denman.

The former footballer and ARL chief executive and his wife Diane started developing the property in 1996 and planted the first grapes a year later.

They made the move from Sydney to live permanently in the Upper Hunter in 2003.

“We planted the Chardonnay vines first, hoping that one day we would produce fine wine.” Mr Quayle said.

“The Cloud Cloaked Chardonnay celebrates 20 years of grape growing.”

However, being a successful vigneron in the Hunter is no easy feat. 

Not only do you need great soil and a meticulously managed vineyard, but quite a bit of luck – January rain has ruined many vintages.

“Just like football, grape growing has many challenges, however you just have to keep going,” Mr Quayle said.

“We’ve been hit by frost, hail and rain over the years.

“And, it wasn’t until this year we were able to pick every berry on the vineyard. 

“Our Block A Chardonnay has been used to make this wine and we are confident it is a wine that can be enjoyed on any occasion.”

When it comes to what kind of wine to drink when watching a game, Mr Quayle says it depends on how the team you’re supporting is playing.

“If your team is winning, you’ll want to enjoy the game with a glass of Chardonnay,” he said.

“But, if your side is losing, a Hunter Valley Shiraz is better suited.”

The Chardonnay grape is one of the most planted varieties in the Hunter Valley, and is generally characterised by rich flavours with peaches and cream notes when grown in the area.

“The Cloud Cloaked HV John Quayle Chardonnay 2017 beautifully expresses the fruit character and vibrancy for which this region is renowned,” Cellarmasters cellar director Christine Ricketts said.

“With citrus and lime fruit, well balanced acidity and great length, this wine is set to score a try with wine lovers across the country.”

It has already impressed Cellarmasters’ tasting panel, and after a rigorous process of tasting hundreds of competitors, it has been selected as one of six finalists in Cellarmasters 2017 White Wine of the Year. 

To shop the Cloud Cloaked Winds of Change Hunter Valley Chardonnay 2017, head to