Our ethics

Nicola and Warrick aim to create one of the  best restaurants in an Australian Country Pub  and wine tasting destinations in Australia. An integrated food and hospitality business from farm to plate…and back again… by growing all of the vegetable, fruit and salad leaves at Penobscot Farm, and returning waste back through compost.

“We aim to transform Watervale and in doing so the Clare Valley into one of the most desirable tourist destinations in Australia. The key is how we intend to do this. We want to bring the community along with us, providing a hub of local interaction, opportunities for suppliers, employment and career growth.”

Business Philosophy

In the development stage of our business we will focus on the highest quality outcome in the mid to long term. We are investing to create an amazing spaces and a unique environment people will want to enjoy – whether as customer, supplier or staff member.

Our menu will aim to delight a diverse range of guest whether vegan, pescatarian, vegetarian, flexitarian; are allergic to or have an intolerance to gluten, dairy products, nuts or other ingredients. 

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Eco-Sustainability

An eco-system refers to both the ecological system, and also the economy in which we operate. These notions are not in conflict. You need economic sustainability in order to fund sustainable ecological practice.

We see both as equally important, and for that reason will not take short cuts on the environment to save money, nor will we blindly put ourselves into bankruptcy as we seek to save the planet.

There are a number of principles that are guiding us along this journey:

-We have worked hard to create a fresh environment at the Hotel, with a priority on plants. They all consume carbon-dioxide and generate oxygen to balance the humans enjoying the space.

-We are disgusted by the effect waste plastic is having on our planet. We will choose produce delivered in recyclable or compost-able packaging over that in plastic. We will encourage our local suppliers to change their practices. We won’t use plastic straws, preferring paper or metal re-usable straws.

-We will always use recycled paper over processed. We have chosen ‘Who gives a crap’ toilet paper for this reason. Made with 100% recycled paper, 50% of profits donated to build toilets in under developed countries.

-We will not use cleaning and other products that end up in the waste that have a detrimental impact in the drainage pits. Rather we see the drainage pits as a place to grow fresh fruit, particularly citrus and pomegranates. We are experimenting with making soap from used cooking oil and citrus peal.

-Similarly we see Hotel waste as organic nutrients for soil rejuvenation or food for our livestock at Penobscot Farm. All of our waste will be sorted into chicken or animal food, compost, recyclable waste and other hard waste. We are looking to create dog food with dehydrated waste meat and carbohydrates.

-We go through a lot of cartons. We have used them as weed mat at Penobscot Farm, as fire-starters in our fires, and otherwise re-cycle them.

-We will creatively find uses for all waste products. Coffee grinds are an example. They can be used to absorb smells in the toilet, to deter millipedes in Penobscot Farm, and as a soil substitute in which mushrooms can be grown.

Developing people

The culture a business creates is very much a function of the people we select for our team, how they are trained and managed.

We select all of our people on the basis of their friendly, customer focused and team-first attitude just as much as for the competency they bring. We believe that bright and motivated people can always learn skills, but not attitude and personality.

We believe in managing people by being clear about our vision, objectives and expectations – and allowing each individual to develop their personal leadership and make their own decisions about how to achieve those goals.

We do have mandatory requirements with regards to customer service, respect for other team members, honesty, integrity and taking initiative.

We have a family approach to team development, and consider all of our staff are family. There are family rules, and continued membership is dependent upon keeping them!

Supplier philosophy

Our locavore sourcing policy is to use the most local food we can, of the quality standards we demand. We have clear standards for the quality and style of each of our products, whether food, beverage or environmental. Our restaurant will choose to buy from the most local supplier for that quality standard, but it will also mean that we will use the world as our food bowl as we search for the best. For example we will prioritise seafood from the Spencer and Saint Vincent Gulf’s of South Australia, and meat grown in the Mid North. We may need to go to Europe for much of our cheese.

Thankfully a growing proportion of our fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, garnishes, nuts and berries will be grown at Penobscot Farm. This will lead to an ever increasing focus on seasonal produce and an ever changing menu. 

We prefer to buy from ecologically sound suppliers in recyclable packaging; and from suppliers who share our cultural values.

Watervale Hotel is open:

11am – late 7 days.

Our kitchen offers all day dining:

11am – 9pm 7 days

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