Richard Jones, merchant and pastoralist, was born in Shropshire, England in 1786. He was educated in London and chose a merchant career.
Having migrated to Sydney, Australia, Jones was granted 2000 acres on the Condamine River and bought a further 4000 acres known as the Fleurs Estate near Penrith, on which he kept dairy herd, pigs, poultry, and established a small vineyard.
In 1829 Jones applied for an additional grant of 10,000 acres and received 10,000 acres at Singleton, in the Parish of Belford, in the Hunter Valley from where he managed his property and established one of his finest vineyards in the Patrick Plains Shore at Sweetwater Creek off Old North Road. In 1844 from Jones’s first plantings, his vineyard produced a total of 2000 gallons of wine.
Richard Jones was one of the most considerable landowners in the country. It was evident that Jones’s heart was in his rural interests and he had an underlying passion for the Hunter. From humble beginnings the Sweetwater vineyards survived and continued to resist the weathering of time.
The property has continued to prosper and whilst ownership has changed over the proceeding 150 years, the vineyard has showed great fortitude and survived drought and the changing of fortunes of successive owners.
In 1997, the Sweetwater property was purchased by Hardie Wines, part of the Hardie Group who developed the property into an estate of 10 prestigious vineyard acreage lots. The current owners have restored, developed and enhanced the property and built what is again one of the most impressive rural properties in New South Wales.
Sweetwater Wines stands today as a symbol of magnificence, nurtured and cared for and in so doing, producing some of the Hunters’ finest quality wines. Notably, Sweetwater produces some of the best Shiraz and Cabernet in the Hunter Valley.
Structures within the property comprise of a completed but unopened Cellar Door, a Gatehouse currently occupied by the property manager, various farm outbuildings and ancillary sheds. Development approvals are current for a wedding/conference centre along with other accommodation and facilities.