Relax on the picturesque property and soak up views of beautiful escarpments as far as the eye can see. We had a chat with Libby Cupitt about the family business, what it’s like to live in the Shoalhaven and what she likes to do in her spare time away from the winery.
How did Cupitt’s Winery start?
It all began with a very romantic idea of having our own small vineyard and winery. To make it a viable business we decided to incorporate a Cellar Door and Restaurant to the mix as well. Construction on the vineyards started in 2005, the restoration of the creamery building, construction of the wine cave and restaurant were completed in 2007. And we opened the June Long Weekend, during the Shoalhaven Winter Wine Festival in 2007. Since then we have added a brewery, cheese making facility and extended the restaurant to accommodate more guests!
How did you come to live in the Shoalhaven and why do you love it here?
What’s not to love? We have great beaches, beautiful countryside, friendly, interesting people and a community with a massive heart.
My in-laws Rosie and Griff had a holiday house at Narrawallee since the early 1980’s whilst they lived in the Southern Highlands but they moved permanently to the Shoalhaven in 2001 to retire, but they started the winery instead! My husband Tom and I set up roots here after a 5 year stint in London and joined the business in 2011.
Tell us about Cupitts and what makes it so special.
We are family business producing our own wine, beer, cheese, vegetables and beef. Our restaurant showcases incredible local produce and is led by the talented Russell Chinn who really knows how to make the ingredients shine. Our menu focuses on farm to table dining using produce from our own kitchen garden.
The location is also really breathtaking. We have a terrific outlook of vineyards, grazing cattle, Burrill Lake, Pigeon House Mountain and the Budawang Ranges. But most importantly, we are lucky to have wonderful staff who are dedicated to providing our guests with a great experience. We believe we have created a truly authentic regional food and wine experience in a casual and relaxed atmosphere.
What do visitors love about Cupitt’s?
The variety we offer. A trip to Cupitt’s isn’t just a simple restaurant visit. Visitors can sample the wine in the cellar door, grab a beer tasting paddle and cheese board on the deck, wander through the kitchen garden and take tours behind the scenes of the vineyards, winery, brewery and fromagerie.
What’s your favourite memory of a visitor to the Shoalhaven?
We’ve had countless wonderful interactions with visitors to Cupitt’s. Many of our customers don’t feel like visitors when they are here. The Shoalhaven is like a second home to them and they visit us frequently. They bring their friends and relatives, they enthusiastically watch us grow and we get to know them a little more every visit.
Any other information that a visitor would like to know about Cupitts?
Autumn at Cupitt’s means vintage – the process of harvesting grapes and creating wine. A particularly exciting time for us as the vintage staff will be working tirelessly over the next 3 months to create our best wines yet. These wines bring out the finest possible expression of the fruit from the year’s harvest.
Our business is also highly committed to food sustainability and aspire to be a regional example of what can be achieved. Our kitchen garden seeks to activate idle paddocks into areas of food production and reduce reliance on Sydney suppliers. We are closing the loop on food waste as well with our brewer’s grain, food scraps and grape mark all going back into garden and chicken coop.
Give us a three word review of the Shoalhaven…
Unspoilt, Underestimated, Paradise
What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?
Drinking good wine and eating delicious food with family and friends!
The Vintage period that Libby mentioned is a great time to take a guided tour of the premises. You’ll be escorted through the estate and get to visit the vineyards, winery, brewery and kitchen garden. You might even get a little sneak peek at the fromagerie too! Book your Tour and Taste Experience at Cupitts, which run at 11am on Wednesdays – Sundays.