Frederick Darling moved to Cheshunt in 1919 following his return from serving at Gallipoli and the Western Front in the First World War. He grew apples on a property bought by his parents. He soon bought another property on the river to grow tobacco.
His son, Guy, developed a respect and passion for the land and what could be produced as well as a love of wine. In 1970 Guy purchased what would become Koombahla and planted the first commercial vineyard in the Upper King Valley. At this time the grapes were all sold to Brown Brothers who made many award winning wines from Koombahla fruit.
In 1990, Guy and his youngest son, John, started to produce small quantities of wine under the Darling Estate label. John took over after Guy passed away in 2008, establishing the next generation of winemaking at Darling Estate.
John is now joined by daughters Sophie and Grace who continue the story in both the vineyard and winery.
Our vineyard, Koombahla, sits in the hills above Whitfield in the upper King Valley at elevations between 250m and 350m above sea level. Nestled under the Victorian Alps we get snow on the surrounding hills each year. During the summer, the breezes come down from the mountains keeping the nights cool and encouraging the vines to produce fruit with intense flavours and colour.
The vineyard is named after a magnificent brittle gum that sits at the top of the property overlooking the vineyard. This tree is listed as a tree of significance with the National Trust.