Cupitts Estate in Milton has already made a name for itself for its beer, wine, dining, cheese, and its Sunday Sessions live music events in the vineyards. Now its architecturally designed Pods are the talk of town and beyond.
Wally Cupitt greets us at the Cupitts Estate cellar door, swirling the last mouthfuls of a sneaky glass of one of his favourite creations – Dusty Dog shiraz. “Excuse me,” he says, finishing it off and then giving us a quick nod. “What can I say? It’s my job.”
And what a job it is – winemaker at Cupitts Estate, where the wine club went through the roof during COVID, not only because the wines are so good, but because locals and people from far and wide are getting behind local businesses and truly supporting them.
Cupitt’s Estate was hit by the 2020 bushfires and the 2021 floods, and the ongoing pandemic meant that their hugely popular restaurant was closed for long periods. But the silver lining is that the award-winning produce that this family-run business creates – beer, wine, cheese, bread, and everything grown from the large vegetable gardens, have become veritable stars of the show.
We join Wally on a tour of the property and he introduces us to the 2,000 thriving Sauvignon Blanc vines that sprawl like a shimmering lime green carpet under the setting sun, their neat rows meeting up with paddocks where hundreds of cattle graze. It’s a quintessential south coast countryside view for the restaurant and beer garden perched on the layers of lawn and gardens above us, with Burrill Lake and the Budawang Mountains completing the backdrop.
Wally then leads the way down a gravelled pathway with olde worlde stone walls on either side, topped with tangles of earthy smelling sage bushes and towering hedges of neatly trimmed rosemary. At the end is an imposing blackened wooden door with massive hinges that wouldn’t look out of place on an English castle or Tuscan villa. It looks as though it’s always been there – rammed into the side of the hill to hide the underground cellar.
“This was mum’s idea. She comes up with things like this and just goes for it,” says Wally with a wave of his arms, as if to take in the entire property. “You can’t stop her or tell her to slow down. She’s mad, in a good way of course. She also decided to make artisan cheese after travelling all over France and visiting all of the top vinyeards and cellar doors. She came back and just did it. That’s mum for you – she’s a powerhouse.”
Wally takes us through an informative and entertaining wine tasting, pairing the wines – Blanc de Blanc, Rosie’s Rose Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and his beloved Dusty Dog Shiraz – with Cupitts Narawilly and Veuve cheeses. Both French-style velvety and mouth-wateringly delicious.
He wraps things up by offering us a taste straight out of the barrel of a wine soon to be released – a new Fiano. It’s light but will no doubt develop the nutty, textured taste it’s renowned for, and it already has a lovely floral and pineapple nose.
Gold medals for Cupitts Estate
We fit in a Cupitt’s beer in the garden before dinner, and learn that head beer maker at Cupitt’s Estate just won three medals including a Gold for their Milton Pilsner, Silver for the Hazy Pale Ale and Bronze for the 2021 Imperial Stout, at Australia’s Independent Beer Awards.
The restaurant is the epitome of laidback luxury, with locally sourced and unadulterated produce grown on the estate appearing in hearty classics such as pan-fried Murray cod with Tuscan kale and Warrigal greens; seared duck breast and confit leg with garden beetroots, burnt onion and mulberry vinaigrette; and chargrilled wagyu rost biff with asparagus and (here it comes again) a Dusty Dog shiraz jus.
The produce has always been the star of the show at Cupitt’s Estate, but now ten new luxury pod cabins have landed, adorning the right of the property where once there were just grazing paddocks.
The initial concept for the pods – which are timber and galvanised steel clad container-style cabins – came from Brett Sherson of Sherson Architecture. They were then designed by Prefabulous and the interiors are the work of Meg Campbell from Neon White Design, working alongside Rose Cupitt to bring more of her ideas to life.
Inside the 47-square-metre pods (the accessible ones are 58 square metres), are living spaces with a lounge, dining table and kitchenette including a mini bar, spacious bedrooms with king-sized beds, and stylish black bathroom with gold fixtures. Some pods have a full sized bath on the balcony overlooking the property.
The focus is on minimal, modern yet cosy design, and produce, as always, is key to an authentic Cupitt’s experience. It’s at the heart of what this family does so well.
Have a night in and order a supper hamper brimming with baked goods such as the light feta topped quiche tartlet with a green salad from the garden, and a richly flavoured fluffy orange butter cake topped with slithers of almond. So good, especially with a glass of the ol’ Dusty Dog Shiraz that Wally has us hooked on for life.
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