watervale hotel family

Warrick Duthy


Warrick Duthy is part owner and Managing Director of Kilikanoon Wines in the Clare Valley.

We are creating a showcase for all Clare Valley Wines at the Watervale Hotel. We have most Clare wine producers represented on our list in a way that demonstrates the diversity of the region.

Nicola Palmer


Nicola Palmer , formerly Head Chef and Restaurant Manager of nearby Skillogalee Winery Restaurant, has now joined her new family business as General Manager of Watervale Hotel, Penobscot Farm and Farmgate Cellars. She is also Head Chef and driving all creative aspects of the development.

The shared plate menu I’ve designed is inspired by the wonderful street food of the world. During my travels this has struck me as some of the most authentic food and cooking of a country. Here we are taking great pleasure in recreating some of these amazing dishes using the spectacular range of produce we have grown at Penobscot Farm or sourced in our region. Designed to be eaten in the front bar or along the verandah.

Warrick and Nicola have purchased Watervale Hotel, as well as Penobscot Farm and Farmgate Cellars in Watervale. 


It is Penobscot Farm that brings together our international family of farmers  and which makes the connection between produce and plate.

Jared Murray is our permanent Farm Manager. A permaculture expert, Jared not only improves the soils and productivity of Penobscot Farm, he teaches and guides our staff to understand why it is that fresh organic produce tastes so great on the plate.

Frankie Blue our English Staffie is ever-present at Penobscot Farm and the Watervale Hotel.

Angus Duthy was Jared’s first apprentice permaculture farmer, replaced by Japanese Ren, aka ‘the human rotary hoe’.


Alex Noles, joined us in Spring and Summer 2018. Alex is a young Australian Chef with a penchant for foraging. He is now in Latin America touring, cooking and learning. We are looking forward to his return, but not holding our breathe!

Nicole Tohl has joined us from Mr Mick’s where she did her apprenticeship and early training. Nicole who shows enormous talent and potential is blossoming under Nicola’s guidance.  She loves her farm days.

Beat Gansner has joined the Watervale Hotel, and re-joined Nicola after they previously teamed successfully at Skillogalee. Beat will again be Nicola’s right hand man in the kitchen.

Since early 2019 we have run a “Chef’s in Residence” programme that has seen a number of international Chef’s work with us both at Penobscot Farm and prepare produce for Penobscot Farm branded range and the Watervale Hotel. They plant, cultivate, pick and prepare fresh produce; often working with Nicola to develop new dishes that hero Penobscot Farm fruit, vegetables and salad leaves.

The first in this programme were French Chef’s Julien Loeb and Justine Delcroix both trained at the Paul Bocuse School in Lyon and had extensive experience in Michelin hatted restaurants. They were followed by Frenchman Nicolas, Italian Emanuele, Jay from Singapore, and now Alejo and Paz, both Argentinean although Alejo was trained in Barcelona. 

All Chefs in residence learn organically about paddock to plate creativity, and leave a legacy in the form of new recipes or techniques. 


Sia McKay is the mainstay of our Front of House team.  She assists Nicola in all aspects of bar attendance, dining room waiting, inventory management, accounts and ordering; as well as the management of the Watervale Hotel Guesthouse.

We have been blessed with a stream of farm workers who have also helped us out front of house, often partners, such as Emanuele’s girlfriend Simona.

Crowd favourites Liam from Canada and French Charlotte were replaced by compatriots – Canadian Katie, and Chloe who worked with Charlotte in Paris. Chloe and her boyfriend Pierre were embraced by the Watervale community. 

Paz’s boyfriend Ignacio has replaced Pierre on the farm, but as a Systems Engineer is also guiding us on our website and commercial systems. As luck would have it Alejo and Paz are both graphic designers as well as Chefs and have teamed with Ignacio on the website design when not pulling weeds or processing our farm produce. 

Jared found this old pond when clearing leaves. So much grandeur, buried for decades is being brought back to life.

Angus tossed pumkin seeds around the citrus corchard to grow ‘living mulch’. Six months later we had a few pumkins to harvest, the largest coming in at 23.65 kilos.

Jared and Julien on the veranda. Below them Warrick and Charlotte, Nicola and Simona, Justine, Nicolas, Sia, Emanuele, and Liam.

A tiny Frankie Blue gets a taste for eggplants…

One of Frankie’s favourite games is to chase pumkins. He loves to devour them.

Liam, Nicola and Frankie enjoy a drink with Hotel neighbors Jeff and Harry.

Sia pouring one of our best sellers – the O’Leary Walker Watervale Riesling.

Liam ready for Valentines night service  – he scrubs up well after a day on the farm.

Alex prepares a cheese plate and charcuterie platter.

Emanuele and Simona with our prize pumpkin.

Ren, the Human Rotary Hoe

Charlotte picking Beetroot destined for Betroot and Red Lentil Curry

Julien picking Amaranth for our salads.

Justine picking basil.

Chloe admires some heirloom carrots. Jay, partially obscured is sorting the carrots into sizes that will determine how they are processed.

Chloe with our prize giant purple broccoli – who says permaculture principles can’t grow beauties like this.

Charlotte and Liam helping with construction of the Penobscot Farm herb gardens directly opposite the Watervale Hotel seen in the background.

Charlotte rugged up to help Jared move a sculpture into the middle of the herb gardens.

Watervale Hotel is open:

11am – late 7 days.

Our kitchen offers all day dining:

11am – 9pm 7 days

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