Top drop in the heart of Newcastle


What’s the difference between a headache-inducing house wine and a drop to remember?

Quality, of course.

Inner City Winemakers director Rob Wilce doesn’t mess about when it comes to producing fine wine as close as possible to its natural state.

Using grapes harvested from the Hilltops region of Young, as well as the Hunter Valley when the conditions are right, each vintage is hand-pressed and hand-plunged through fermentation and matured in French Oak to add depth and complexity.

Rob takes a minimal intervention approach to his winemaking, which means he uses fewer preservatives such as sulphur.

In making his red wines, he doesn’t use any fining agents, such as egg whites or milk products, simply running them through a coarse filter.

He believes every process you put a wine through can detract from its unique flavour and character.

“For everything you add to [wine], you take something away from it,” he says. “My philosophy is that a good wine is made in the vineyard and my old-school methods let the fruit speak for itself.”

Set in the burgeoning cultural scene of inner-city Newcastle, the Wickham cellar door is renowned for its award-winning wines, including, but not limited to, the 2018 Indenture Shiraz, which is in the running for Winestate’s Wine of the Year.

Rob, who previously worked in the Hunter Valley Wine Region, and his partner Janine became the first inner-city winemakers in Australia when they opened the business in 2011.

Today, they offer intimate wine and cheese tastings and private dinners in the boutique warehouse space, as well as monthly luncheons at Merewether Surf Life Saving Club in collaboration with chef Tony Harrison of Urban Mess; pop-ups at Hunt & Gather’s outdoor night food market, Street Feast; and Mother’s Day events at Stanley Park.

You can also join their wine club, Inner City Cru.

Drawing on Janine’s artistic flair and their support of small businesses, their labels are locally designed and add a uniquely Novocastrian touch to their reds, whites, sparkling and fortified wines.

Inner City Winemakers is located at 28 Church Street, Wickham, and is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Visit for more.

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