Hidden River Estate has a rich history, the culmination of
20 years tourism and community involvement in Pemberton
by owners Phil and Sandy Goldring.
The Hidden River Estate development was started while Phil and Sandy still owned and operated the Pemberton Farm Chalets. Pioneers in the fledgling WA tourism industry these chalets, built in 1986, were the first chalets built in Pemberton and the second farm chalet development in WA after Lucieville Chalets.
Whilst planning the sale of the chalets in 1993, Phil and Sandy were planning their next venture... Hidden River Estate.
One commonly asked question at the cellar door is: where is the hidden river? The name Hidden River comes from the Lefroy Brook, which is on the north eastern boundary of the property, but hidden behind the beautiful stands of native forest surrounding the Estate.
Planting the vineyard commenced in 1994, with Chardonnay cuttings sourced locally from older plantings. This ensured that the vines were already seasoned for the Pemberton region. No wonder the Chardonnay is always so good! Shiraz and Merlot were later added to the vineyard in 1997.
In order to have a quality wine to release when the cellar door opened to the public, some red fruit was purchased in 1996 and 1997 and made into wine. In 1999 Phil released the first estate grown vintage.
The chalets were sold in 1997 and it was decided that in conjunction with cellar sales Sandy would open a café restaurant to complement the winery. This was opened on 18 September 1999.
Sandy's idea has proven to be a very good decision as the café restaurant quickly went on to win two Gold Plate awards in 2002 and 2003.
An historic 1901 Kalgoorlie tram was added to the café restaurant in late 1999. The old and the new set the stage for partying in the new millennium in 2000. Hidden River has always been, and continues today, about the joy of good food and good wine, and any excuse for a party with good company!
It was only after the cellar sales opened that Phil found out that one of his forefathers planted some of the first vines in the Barossa Valley, around the time Seppelts vineyards were planted. His name was Patrick Auld and the plantings were at Aulderton in South Australia. The pioneering spirit, and the love of a good wine, clearly ran strongly through Phil's veins. In fact, after over 10 years of winemaking, it is likely that there is more wine than blood running through his veins!
The theme of Hidden River has followed that of the Pemberton Farm Chalets in that it is family and kid friendly, whilst at the same time providing space for a romantic liaison. This springs from Phil and Sandy's long term commitment to home and community. The family have lived in the Pemberton region since 1980 and have been active participants in the community and in tourism industry. Both their children grew up in Pemberon and have gone on to have rewarding careers (sadly for us, interstate) in teaching and veterinary science.
Phil has been involved in Apex and a volunteer St Johns Ambulance driver. Both Sandy and Phil have been involved in past Pemberton Visitors’ Centre management for many years. They were an integral part of getting the first regional TV promotion for Pemberton… even before Broome got started!
Some of their long term guests from the farm chalets continue to be customers here at Hidden River. Some of the farm chalet children have now grown up and return to Pemberton regularly, to keep in touch and drink the wine! How time flies!
This is some of what makes Hidden River so special, a Pemberton icon, and more than just somewhere to eat and drink.