Established in 1963 by Doctor Max Lake, Lake's Folly was the first new vineyard in the Hunter Valley last century. In early 2000, Lake's Folly was purchased by Peter and Lee Fogarty and family who, along with Hunter-born and bred winemaker, Rodney Kempe, have continued to maintain the integrity and direction of this significant vineyard.
Our two flagship wines, a Cabernet blend and a Chardonnay, are made in limited quantities and are grown, vintaged, and made on the Estate. The wine styles are restrained and elegant, showing finesse and complexity. They have clarity of structure and great length of flavour.
Today, more than fifty years later, the tradition lives on, as we continue to make our two flagship wines—a Red (Cabernet blend) and a White (100% Chardonnay)—using all estate-grown fruit. With a total production of around 4,500 cases, (around a quarter is Chardonnay) the most important focus is great fruit and attention to detail from the vineyard to bottle.
Doctor Max Lake (1924–2009)
The late Doctor Max Emory Lake OAM is often heralded as "the man who started the (Australian) wine boom" (The Bulletin, 1988). Australia's first specialist hand surgeon, an author of international repute, a winemaker, show judge and one of the stalwarts of the Australian Wine Industry in a time when it needed men like him most, Max founded Lake's Folly in the Hunter Valley, NSW in 1963. Known to be a thinker and a leader, never a follower, Max planted Cabernet Sauvignon. Many called him mad, including some of the five winery owners in the region at the time – all were proven wrong eventually. Today, Lake's Folly Cabernets is the Most Collected Cabernet blend in Australia (Wine Ark, 2016).
In the vineyard, quality is derived primarily from the terroir. The vines produce low cropping high quality fruit, and are well established, giving consistency even in difficult years.
The winemaking aspect is very simple. Hand picking, gentle crushing and traditional open fermentation for the reds, barrel fermentation and extended yeast lees contact for the Chardonnay.
Discerning use of French oak, small barrel maturation for both wines before bottling, and that's it. No more, no less.