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Byrne Farm

Pristine, High-country Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from New South Wales

In the mid-nineties, Jeff Byrne was more than content with his life on Canada’s east coast before a chance encounter changed everything. One fine, blue-sky day while on a gap year in Australia, Byrne jumped in a maxi taxi for the short drive from Broadchurch to Surfers Paradise. Sharing the ride that day was a young local gal called Bridgette. The two hit it off, and well, Byrne decided to stick around for a while.

When Bridgette’s work took her to the Hunter Valley, Byrne followed, stumbling into the wine industry. At first, he hit a brick wall before knocking on the door of the newly founded Tower Estate in Pokolbin, which was hiring cellar door staff at the time. “I had no idea who Len Evans was at the time”, laughs Byrne, “Little did I know I would end up working under the Wayne Gretzky of the Australian wine scene” (referring to the Canadian ice hockey legend also known as The Great One).

Seduced by some fantastic bottles from Australia and France and enamoured by the camaraderie in the local winemaking fraternity, Byrne began to earn his stripes. He completed his degree and began stepping his way up the winemaking ladder. In 2007 (a year after Evans’s passing), Jeff made his first, Damascene pilgrimage to Burgundy, landing in the heart of Vosne-Romanée at François Pinault’s Domaine de Eugénie. He would return for the 2014 vintage, by which time he would be heading up the winemaking for the Agnew family’s trio of properties, Audrey Wilkinson, Poole’s Rock and Cockfighters Ghost.

“I was blown away by the potential,” Byrne says of the Orange wine growing region, citing the altitude and the many aspects and microclimates created by the rippling landscape flowing down from Mount Canobolas.

Managing the Agnew portfolio exposed Byrne to a wealth of growers across the breadth of Australia’s wine regions. But there was one source he became particularly excited about: the pristine high-country Chardonnay and Pinot Noir he was getting from Justin and Pip Jarrett’s organic vineyard in Orange. So, in 2019, when the time had come to branch out on his own, he took a trip across the Blue Mountains to look deeper.

A second chance encounter, this time with a farmer in Nashdale, led to the purchase of Glenidle, an old apple and cherry orchard established in the early 1900s on the northern slope of the extinct volcano. At 900 metres above sea level and with rich chocolate/red ferrosol soils, Byrne considers Nashdale home to Orange’s blue-ribbon terroir. His first block was planted in 2020: approximately 2.5 hectares of Pinot Noir with a diverse mixture of clones (777, 115, Abel, 667 and 114) selected for complexity. A further three hectares—Chardonnay with a little more Pinot—are to follow, while the old apple shed will be converted to a winery later this year. When the Glenidle site joins the range, it will sit alongside a small collection of negoce wines sourced from the region’s top growers, which comprise Byrne Farm’s current range.

The Range

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Primary Region

Orange, New South Wales


Winemaker: Jeff Byrne



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