All images by Jonathan VDK
Just a stroll from the popular beachside town of Port Elliot sits Factory 9, a creative hub that houses an eclectic group of people.
Off the beaten track a number of sheds sit, one of which will soon host two Adelaide Hills powerhouse wineries.
Charlotte Dalton Wines and Cooke Brothers Wines have relocated from their Adelaide Hills home to Port Elliot.
Respective winemakers, Charlotte Hardy and Ben Cooke are connected in more ways than one, new business partners as well as the kind of partners that have kids together.
And it is Ada (2.5 years) and Sammy (9 months), who have added extra flavour to their move to Port Elliot.
Initially purchasing a shack in Goolwa three years ago, Charlotte and Ben shortly fell in love with the area.
Charlotte also notes that their Basket Range home, covering 20 acres, was becoming difficult to manage, despite the wonderful community surrounding them.
Both locations boasted picturesque tranquility and a sense of peace, however that did not stop what Charlotte describes at 50 to 60 hour working weeks at Basket Range.
“We would go down for weekend trips to the shack and we wouldn’t want to go home.”
In that same vein, the move to Port Elliot is described as relatively seamless.
“We were having coffee at De Groot next door and decided to ask the landlord if there were any availabilities,” she says.
“We’re counting our blessings because everything fell into place.”
Alongside keeping the name, Charlotte and Ben have repurposed 90% of the original furbishments.
“Ben has done the whole build himself, with help from this brothers. We recycled 90% of what was there,” she says.
The walls and the underside of what used to be a dance floor are pointed out as major fixes by Ben, alongside some help from local traders, builders and plumbers.
“Ben is pretty handy and he’s learnt a lot on the way. He’s enjoyed it.”
The introduction to the area has been made better throughout the build. From obtaining the lease in July, the duo have found that within the community, there’s always someone willing to help.
Much of what existed is still there in a different form, except for the disco ball which hung from the high-set ceiling. Charlotte assures us that should they ever open a dance floor, it’ll make a return.
Despite juggling the two (unsleeping) kids whilst answering questions, Charlotte is relaxed and it’s evident that attitude translates into what they hope for the venue.
“We didn’t even consider a cellar door we just wanted a place where people could come and have a good time,” she laughs.
Those two words ‘good time’ encapsulate the idea that has become, increasingly, vital for visitors. It follows the elusive idea of escapism at home, somewhere to come to after a 50 to 60 hour working week.
“We don’t want to talk at you about wine,” she assures me.
“It’s somewhere to come, drink wine and relax, and if you want to chat wine we can.”
Both Charlotte and Ben will be working collaboratively to achieve that good time and when I ask if being partners and working together gave Charlotte any trepidation, she laughs in response.
“This is the first time our brands are joining. We’re made in separate places with separate vineyards,” she says.
“It’s good, we can be completely honest with each other, if I’m ever worried about something, I know Ben will be honest.”
“There is that black and white honesty.”
A no nonsense answer, no fluff. Charlotte and Ben’s vision is pretty transparent, meaning that the excitement is apparent in her voice.
“We’re excited, its nice to have a home for our brands and it’s just nice to have it all in one place.”
The next plans are to bring the entire production down south but in the meantime, the cellar door will be launching on November 9.
“Feels like coming home,” is the sentiment that Charlotte leaves me on.
You’ll find The Joinery at Factory 9 down Waterport Road and at 89-91 Hill Street, Port Elliot.
More info at https://www.thejoineryatfactory9.com/.