FREEMAN Vineyards, Hilltops NSW

FREEMAN Vineyards, Hilltops NSW




The vignerons of the NSW Hilltops are mid-harvest Vintage 2024, filling bins with top-quality flavour-packed ripe grapes destined for myriad wines. It’s that time of year when precision and sustainable viticulture pays dividends.

Two cornerstone Hilltops vineyards have particular reason to feel good about this year’s harvest…


The Young Gun Vineyard of the Year Awards today announced the finalists in this year’s competition and the Hilltops region punches high. Both Barwang Wines and Freeman Vineyards have been declared Finalists in this year’s competition.


As the crows fly there is only about 15km between them. Both vineyards were established in the mid-1970’s; Barwang by Hilltops pioneer Peter Robertson and the Freeman Altura Vineyard by the Dolderson family (previously called Hercynia). To add to this synchronicity, members of the Dolderson family worked on the Barwang vineyard.


Four decades later Barwang Wines is now owned by pastoralists James and Wendy Bowman, and Freeman Vineyards by one-time wine academic, Brian Freeman. Their combined vineyard holdings account for about 50% of the Hilltops GI vineyard area.


The Barwang vineyard is predominantly planted to classic varieties – cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and chardonnay with newer blocks of pinot gris, malbec and tempranillo.


Freeman Vineyards specialises in growing Italian origin varieties – prosecco, pinot grigio, fiano through to sangiovese, nebbiolo and the very rare dual varieties – rondinella and corvina that are the foundation of several wines in the Freeman portfolio.


‘My original research highlighted the immense potential of the elevated rolling hills of the region where the red loam-topped granitic soils and typically cool climate have proved ideal for high quality viticulture,’ commented Brian Freeman, who founded his Hilltops venture and the finalist Freeman Altura Vineyard in 1999.


As sixth generation farmers in Hilltops, the Bowmans acquired the neighbouring property, the Barwang vineyard in 2021. It was previously held by the McWilliam family,


‘These hills grow top-class grain, prime lambs and the district also harvests terrific quality cherries and stone fruit, but it’s the local viticultural heritage that really excites us,’ said James Bowman, who has recently launched a new series of Barwang wines and is Vice-President of Hilltops Wine, the local vigneron’s association.


‘To have two finalists in these national awards is a terrific outcome for our small wine region that is increasingly earning strong recognition for its viticulture, mature vineyards and innovation, especially with Italian varieties.’


The 2024 Vineyard of the Year Awards category winners will be announced in Melbourne in mid-June in conjunction with a series of trade tastings in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.





More information/ images:

Jane Adams, Hilltops Wine

M 0417 733715

E jacom@bigpond.net.au