Drayton's Family Wines
Location: 555 Oakey Creek Road, POKOLBIN NSW 2320
Phone: (02) 4998 7513
Opening hours: Open 7 days
Joseph Drayton, born in 1825 at Lincolnshire in England, set sail for Sydney with his wife Anna and their two small boys. Tragically Joseph lost a son, newborn daughter and his wife during the voyage.
In 1853 he and son Frederick journeyed to Pokolbin where he acquired 80 acres of land, which they cleared and built the “Bellevue” homestead.
In the late 1850’s Joseph turned from growing grain to plant his first vines in the rich loam of “Bellevue”. The heritage of the Hunter, the dynasty of the Drayton’s, had begun.
William Drayton bought land and planted his vines on 40 acres adjoining his father’s, and was later to take over “Bellevue”. Four of Williams nine sons, Harry, Walter, George and Leonard carried on the family business, being followed by fourth generation members Bill, Reg, Max, Ron and Jock Drayton.
In early 1989, Max Drayton and three of his four sons, John, Trevor and Greg, purchased the company from other family members.
Today, Max still works in the vineyards and it was in 1997 that he celebrated 50 years with the Australian winemaking industry. Max is recognised as the quiet achiever by those within the industry, always a source for information and advice, and should rightly be proud of his climb from vineyard labourer to Managing Director of an enterprise. His achievements and contribution to the wine industry were recognised in the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours' List when Max was awarded an Order of Australia Medal.
John, Max’s eldest son, was a school prefect in 1970 and then went on to become School Captain of Cessnock High in 1971. He decided on a career in teaching and attended Newcastle University between 1972 and 1975. John spent thirteen years teaching around the state. In 1989 John left teaching to join his father and brothers in the family business. John's practicality and reasoning have been utilised with him falling into the finance, administration, production and sales areas of the business.
Trevor Drayton never had any doubt that he would carry on the family tradition of winemaking; he always wanted to be a winemaker. In 1973 Trevor left home to attend Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia to start a five-year course on Oenology. Trevor topped his fifth and final year and had the distinction of being awarded the Gold Medal for Dux of the course.
On his return he took up the position of winemaker for the family business. He produced many classic wines, including names such as "William" Shiraz, "Caroline" Sparkling Burgundy, "Maxwell" Shiraz and "Susanne" Semillon. But the most notable is the 1985 "Joseph" Shiraz, which was awarded The Douglas Seabrook Memorial Trophy for the Best Red Wine in Show at the 1995 Royal Melbourne Wine Show.
Tragically on the 17th of January 2008 Trevor lost his life following an explosion and fire in the family winery. He is, and will continue to be, sadly missed by all who knew him. Trevor was 52 years old and leaves behind a legacy that will be built on by those who still remain.
Max’s third son, Greg, attended Tocal Agricultural College to study for two years. In his certificate in agriculture Greg received two high distinctions and distinction in all other subjects. Greg returned to work for the family business under the guidance of his father, and today is responsible for the management of Drayton’s vineyards.
The Drayton’s are proud to be one of only two wineries established in the Hunter Valley still maintaining the unbroken line of family and winemakers now proudly celebrate over 150 years of fine wine making tradition carried forward by five generations.
- Air Conditioned
- Cellar Door Sales
- Disabled Access
- Group Tastings (by prior appointment)
- Picnic Facilities
- Private Tastings
- Wine Club
- Winery on Site
- Winery Tours