Next stop on the Central Coast Makers Trail: Firescreek Botanical Winery
Whether you have a few hours or an entire weekend to explore, the Central Coast Makers Trail is the perfect adventure. This self-indulgent food and drink discovery trail will thrill you with new sensations and behind-the-scenes experiences. Meet skilled artisans and award-winning providores. Enjoy gourmet tastings, voyages of discovery and hands-on epicurean delight. The Central Coast’s hidden gems are a secret no more.
Nadia O’Connell has been running Firescreek Botanical Winery and making wine for the last eight years. Central Coast born and bred, she travelled and worked around the world and around Australia for more than 15 years (sampling a lot of wine!) before returning to take up ownership of “this little slice of paradise” on the Central Coast.
Prior to owning the winery, Nadia had a career in tourism, marketing and event management while studying the same field, eventually completing a PhD and securing work as a university lecturer in Singapore and Bali.
“When returning to live in Australia we decided to settle back on the beautiful Central Coast for a ‘wine-change / sea change'”, explains Nadia. “We wanted to let our children have an idyllic childhood on a small-scale organic farm close that was – and most importantly – close to the beach.”
Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific caught up with Nadia for a quick chat on the inspiration behind Firescreek Botanical Winery, and to hear about some of her favourite local spots on the Central Coast.
Tell us about Firescreek wines, and give us a suggestion for someone experiencing them for the first time
Firescreek Botanical Winery is one of the most unique and beautiful wineries in Australia. We practice regenerative, organic farming to make award-winning wines from a wide array of botanicals. We make small batches of unique vintages of wine made from seasonal fruit and flowers, pushing the boundaries on flavour profiles and making wines that are often not made anywhere else in the world.
The most common comment I hear from customers is “WOW”. They typically have not tried wines made from anything but grapes before and are surprised by the delicious flavour combinations and the taste of the wine.
For someone experiencing it for the first time, I suggest they don’t expect it to taste like a white or red wine they know; expect every wine they taste to be totally unique from each other; and be ready for a foodie experience.
What’s the most experimental limited release you’ve ever produced and what was the feedback?
All the wines are experimental, with small batch sizes and limited releases. I usually make a new wine every month and at any one time have around 24 wines in the process of being made. The most interesting and experimental wine I have made is the blueberry and lavender wine, which ended up winning a silver medal. I had so many customers coming back into the winery requesting it that I now make it every year.
The first time I made it was a challenge as I could not find anyone in the world who had made it before on a commercial basis, so it was made totally on taste testing. That sounds like a hard job, right? I think you can tell, I love what I do so much that it doesn’t even feel like work.
Do you have a personal favourite wine?
As for my favourite, it depends on my mood, the occasion and what I am having with it. For a pre-dinner drink definitely, the passionfruit and nectarine wine, topped with some Prosecco is a great way to start a dinner party. With a cheese board, I love the citrus and chilli wine and that it goes with so many types of cheese; and with a dreamy dessert definitely the violet wine with chocolate and berry type desserts.
What is it about the Central Coast that makes it a great base for independent makers and creators?
A friendly, really diverse range of customers who may be local, from Sydney, interstate or even from the other side of the world, who are really interested in trying something new and unique. You can dare to be experimental as a maker and get genuine feedback from customers. Personally, as a maker, I find my customers are absolutely my biggest motivator and cheer squad to keep me pushing boundaries on flavour profiles in winemaking.
Close proximity to Sydney with a growing population. The Central Coast is in the infancy of becoming known as a foodie destination and a great time for independent makers and creators to gain exposure with low competition and create something with their own unique flair.
Of the other stops on the Central Coast Makers Trail, which is your favourite and why?
OMG, that is too hard! I love them all. It would depend on what mood I am in, what I am craving and who is joining me. There is such diversity to choose from and they are all delicious.
How would you spend a perfect day on the Coast?
Oh, that is a hard one too! When the weather is lovely, I love nothing more as a born and bred Coastie than to head to the beach for a walk or a body surf or take the kayak out on the water somewhere, followed by lunch at a café nearby. Later in the afternoon going to the Terrigal Beach House on the ground floor of Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacifc to watch a band. Or at sunset, to have a cocktail at Lord Ashley Bar overlooking Terrigal Beach.
Tell us something about the Central Coast that first-time visitors might not realise
There are really unique and delicious experiences to try to get their inner foodie going. Cheese, chocolate, seafood, oysters, beer, wine, and spirits that are fresh, award-winning and downright delicious.
There are also so many beaches and so many bushwalking tracks to choose from if they want to get out into nature.
Beach: South Avoca
Cafe: Salt Pig Deli
Restaurant: Suq Restaurant at Wamberal
Attraction: Treetops Adventure
Shop: Little Creek Cheese or the Chocolate and Nougat Factory Gosford
Walk: Putty Beach Walk
Activity for a rainy day: Edogawa Gardens and Gosford Regional Gallery
To learn more about Firescreek Botanical Winery visit centralcoastmakerstrail.com.au/makers/firescreek-botanical-winery
Address: 192 Wattle Tree Rd, Holgate
Phone: +61 2 4365 0768
To book your stay with Crowne Plaza Terrigal Pacific and get your adventures on the Central Coast Makers Trail started, call our reservations team on (02) 4384 9113 or check availability online.