The Lane Retreat: serenity in the heart of The Hunter

The Lane Retreat

With the opening of The Lane Retreat, visitors to Bimbadgen Estate can now linger longer on the tranquil property where the grapes for its award-winning wines are grown. 


For lovers of Australian food and wine, Bimbadgen is usually a name that needs no introduction. Renowned for producing old-vine Semillon, Shiraz and Chardonnay, Bimbadgen also regularly scoops up awards – such as the 2022 Signature Semillon and 2022 Growers Tempranillo Rosé which both recently won gold in the Hunter Valley Wine Show. 

Opener: Enjoying vino with a view. Image: supplied.


Aerial view of The Lane Retreat and the stunning hills of the Hunter. Image: supplied.


For 24 years, Bimbadgen Estate has been a sophisticated yet down-to-earth and welcoming place to enjoy a wine tasting with passionate sommeliers in a contemporary cellar door space, with views out over the Barrington Ranges. The sprawling deck of the estate’s revered restaurant Esca overlooks the rolling vineyards, and a charming, hedged-in cobblestone courtyard where authentic Italian-style pizza is whipped up while cocktails are mixed and live music flows. 

Over at the estate’s sister property (‘just down the road,’ as country folks love to say) is Emma’s Cottage, which has a stylish selection of gifts and homewares, delightful event and wedding spaces both indoors and out, and a house with accommodation and a pool. 

But it’s all about vino in these parts, and so the main drawcard at Emma’s is a range of Alter wines to sample with a cheese and nibbles platter. The new-age wines – with a lighter style and arty, modern branding – are made from Bimbadgen grapes and are referred to as the label’s ‘alter ego’, as they are decidedly different to the brand’s signature offerings. There’s also a Rarebirds rosé for those who love a delicate, peachy wine with a ripe berry finish and an acidic touch, and a freshwater gin that is as crisp and quaffable as the wines.


Relaxing by The Lane Retreat pool. Image: supplied.


Room with a view

All of the above can now be wound into a wonderful weekend of indulging in food and wine by staying on Bimbadgen’s new property, with 60 impeccably appointed studio retreats peppered across 15 hectares. It is also home to a pool and lounging areas. 

Called The Lane Retreat, the architecturally designed pods have views of a dam attracting all manner of birdlife – magpies, kookaburras, moor hens, ducks and swans to name a few – swathes of native bushland, the magnificent Broken Back Range, and the 50-year-old Palmers Lane vines. All have outdoor decks to take in the quintessentially Hunter Valley views, and they are grouped in clusters so that guests can enjoy time with friends and family, or choose a single intimate hideaway with complete privacy. 

Inside, the retreats have king-sized beds, a lounge for two loaded with cushions to sink into with a vino, and spacious bathrooms with double waterfall showers and Hunter bathroom amenities. Delicious breakfast provisions are supplied daily, and there’s a generous mini bar and all appliances needed in a modern kitchenette. All food is proudly Australian-made – from the banana bread and granola to the yoghurt, fruits, honey and, of course, the Bimbadgen wines. More local produce can be bought at the café with a deli-like store and bottleshop that is a few minutes’ walk up the hill from the retreats.


Dining at Esca. Image: supplied.

Leave it all to us

Enjoying a degustation at Esca Bimbadgen is a rite of passage for Hunter-loving foodies. From the circular gravelled drive and the European-style fountain surrounded by impeccably manicured hedges, to the signature Bimbadgen turret and archway leading to a lobby suspended above the winery, it’s the epitome of a winery restaurant entrance. 

The menu relies upon locally sourced fresh-as-it-comes produce that’s expertly paired with Bimbadgen wines. Renowned Chef Keira Madeley focuses on letting the flavours and freshness of her carefully sourced produce take centre stage, while also showing off her well-honed creative flair in the generously sized dishes that are simply art on a plate. 

Expect exciting entrees such as baked haloumi with blood orange and chipotle honey, or woodfired peaches with a mascarpone and gorgonzola cheese, macadamia and white balsamic. Seafood lovers will love the yellow fin tuna ceviche with young coconut, lime and pickled chilli, or try the not-so-traditional beef tartare – with gochujang, egg yolk and crispy potato slithers tossed with shallots. For those into sweet treats, it’d be a crime not to try the butterscotch mousse or the brown sugar pavlova. Or, like many do, simply ask the staff to let the chef take care of you. They’ll instantly whisk your menu away, bring you a glass of bubbles and smile, as if to say: sit back, relax and leave it all to us.

Enjoyed reading about The Lane Retreat? For more on delicious Australian wine, check out our top regions to go wine-tasting around the country. 


Travel to The Hunter

Rex flies to Sydney, and from there it is an easy 2-hour drive to the Hunter Valley. Book your flights here and check out the route map below.

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