Hope Estate was founded by Michael Hope, who describes himself as ‘just a country boy from Young’. A pharmacist by trade, he built up a prosperous chain of pharmacies in rural NSW and Sydney before deciding to move out of Sydney.
Hope Estate was established in 1994 when Michael gave up his pharmacy career to do something he loved – to make wine. Together with his wife Karen they purchased their first vineyard at Broke in the Hunter consisting of 30 acres of vines on a 250 acre property. The quality of fruit produced from these vineyards was exceptional and the potential of the area was further realised with more vines being planted. Being ideally suited to whites this was then followed up with a second purchase being 200 acres of the famed red basalt soil at Fordwich. This has since been planted with 100 acres of Shiraz and Merlot.
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 headquarters at Broke.
Since then he’s built one of the Hunter’s most successful family owned wineries. Based in Broke for the last decade, Michael’s wines are perhaps better known overseas than in Australia.
When a coal mine decided to mine under this Broke winery, Michael knew it was time to fulfil a long term dream and move to the heart of Pokolbin. In 2006 his purchase of the Rothbury Estate property meant this flagship Hunter winery was finally back in family hands. The Hunter Valley winery rose to fame through the efforts of the late wine legends Len Evans and Murray Tyrrell. This 420 acre winery is a Hunter icon and has symbolised the best of the Hunter – world class wines, industry best production facilities, enviable tasting rooms and staff with a deep love and knowledge of wine.
Michael and his team were very excited to move into what has become their new home in September 2006.
Since then he has taken the estate to a new level, creating an amphitheatre that holds 20,000 guests, becoming the Hunter’s premier wine destination.