Hope Estate was established in 1994 when Michael Hope gave up his pharmacy career to do something he loved – to make wine. The winery, adjoining the new Fordwich vineyard, was purchased in 1996 and occupies the site of the former Saxonvale Winery which lay dormant for a number of years. Renamed the Hill of Hope, after years of standing as en empty shell, the winery once again became operational after having been refitted for his first vintage of Hope Estate in 1997. Taking a giant leap forward Michael acquired the Kyneton based Virgin Hills wine business in Victoria and the 45 acre Donnybrook vineyard in Western Australia in 2000. All wine from these interstate vineyards being bottled, warehoused and distributed from his Hunter Valley headquarters at Broke. Since then he’s built one of the Hunter’s most successful family owned wineries. The grapes for the Hope Estate Chardonnay are picked from 10 different blocks on the Hope Estate, with each batch being vinified separately and differently. A delicate mealy and creamy texture has been achieved through some whole bunch pressing and wild yeast fermentation. All juice was barrel fermented - 100% French oak barriques support the fruit flavours and lend subtle sweet nutty oak integration. Lees ageing has accentuated the buttery malo characters. Michael Hope’s Notes - "Our Chardonnay has been aged on lees, which has accentuated the buttery characters of the Chardonnay. Clean citrus provides a crisp finish to this barrel fermented wine."