A 21-YEAR love affair with wine making might end for Louise Cole.
Mrs Cole, owner and operator of Cambewarra Estate Winery’s listed the 20-acre property for auction on December 8 with Marylou Parker of Integrity Real Estate.
“It has been a really hard decision to sell the business,” she said.
“As a family we have all put so much into this site and it has been really tough just getting to this position of deciding to sell.”
The multi award-winning winery was the Shoalhaven’s first to win a national wine trophy 15 years ago, when the yearly 1996 cabernet took out the gold medal at Australia’s largest regional wine show at Cowra and also picked up a first place medal at the Sydney Royal the same year.
“I’ll never forget Len Evans saying, ‘Where the hell is Cambewarra ... I want to know?’” she laughed.
From there, success continued almost yearly.
“We have virtually won medals with every wine we have made,” she said.
More recently Mrs Cole and her partner Gary Peat completed a 120-seat function room and new commercial kitchen.
“We are about 90 per cent finished now with all our plans for the property and we just decided the time was right for us to take a step back and maybe retire.” she said.
The first vines at Cambewarra Estate went into the ground in 1991.
There are now four varieties grown on 10 acres of vines – chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, chamboucin and verdelho, which produce nine different varieties of wine.
Their passion for wine-making is shared by her oldest son Simon, who became a winemaker after studying at Charles Sturt University.
He followed his father Geoff into the medical profession and is working at St Vincent’s in Sydney.
“He’s the reason we crush on site and purchased a mechanical harvester,” Mrs Cole said.
The 20-acre property includes 10-acres under vine, features two large dams, cellar door, cool room, press, crusher and heat-exchanger, as well as a new commercial kitchen and function room, with views across the vineyard and Cambewarra Mountain.
The vineyard will be auctioned on site at 2pm.