Robe Dairy wins two gold at 2015 Dairy Industry Association awards

Date : 2015-05-18 09:45:53

New South Australian business Robe Dairy has just been awarded two gold medals and a

major trophy in the 2015 national dairy awards.


Robe couple David and Julie Hinchliffe received the good news on Thursday night when Ms

Hinchliffe joined around 400 other industry representatives at the Dairy Industry Association

of Australia (DIAA) Awards of Excellence Gala Dinner in Melbourne.


New to dairy farming and cheesemaking, the couple’s first cheese – Robe Dairy Labneh –

not only received a gold medal and the highest score in its class, but took out the Savannah

Bio Systems Perpetual Shield for the Highest Scoring Non-cheddar Cheese.


The Labneh received the second highest score for a cheese in the competition; no mean

feat given that the DIAA Australian Dairy Product Competition (now in its 120th year)

attracted a record number of entries.


Robe Dairy’s products were judged alongside other products from around the country in

Weribee this March.


Robe Dairy Jersey milk also received a gold medal and the highest score in its class.

Pasteurised on the Hinchliffe farm in small batches, the fullcream unhomogenised milk has

been popular with Limestone Coast locals.


“This is the first competition we have entered. We’ve only been up and running for less than

a year,” said Ms Hinchliffe.


“We started selling milk in August last year, yoghurt in October, and Labneh just a few

months ago. We’re only tiny, David and I do all of the work ourselves.”


“We knew our products were good and people have been loving them, but we wanted to

see how they compared to other dairy products across the country.”


“We’ve gone in against the biggest industry players, including the multinationals, as well as

other artisan producers… It’s wonderful to think that the judges agree we have created

something pretty special.”


David and Julie Hinchliffe are delighted with the feedback and said it echoes what they have

been hearing from customers at tastings and local farmers’ markets.


“It’s nice to receive so many lovely emails and phone calls from people across the

Limestone Coast, Adelaide and Victoria,” said Ms Hinchliffe. “They are a great morale boost,

they tell us we must be doing something right.”


The Hinchliffes milk their own small herd of Jersey cows, then aim to create the best

products they possibly can with the beautiful Jersey milk.

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They make their yoghurt the traditional Greek way and don’t add milk powder, cream,

thickeners or setting agents. “We don’t ‘doctor’ the result,” said Ms Hinchliffe. The yoghurt is

then strained even longer to create the Labneh.


The Robe Dairy couple is proud of the simplicity and the quality of their products, but said

their products are far from an overnight success; they milked house cows at home for a

number of years and practiced making cheese and yoghurt using different cultures and



David Hinchliffe also received cheesemaking training and work experience in New Zealand

thanks to a grant from Food and Beverage Development Fund SA in 2011.


The Robe Dairy Labneh is a traditional artisan cheese made from yoghurt. “It’s soft, creamy

and delicately flavoured,” said Julie Hinchliffe. “The garlic we use is an award-winning

organic purple variety, the extra virgin olive oil is made locally from local olives. We pick the

rosemary fresh from our garden on the day we make the cheese.”


“We’ve been making and eating this cheese at home for years.”


Ms Hinchliffe said Robe Dairy has received lots of support and interest from businesses and

locals across the Limestone Coast.


“We live in a quaint little crayfishing town, with beautiful old stone buildings and a

spectacular coastline. It’s very small but gets huge numbers of tourists over summer, so we

receive a lot of interest from Adelaide and Melbourne visitors. At the moment our products

sell across the Limestone Coast, just over the Victorian border and in two Adelaide outlets,

including the Adelaide Central Markets.”


Ms Hinchliffe said the business is mostly about lifestyle; the work itself represents a major

career shift for her and David whose backgrounds are in environmental science.


“We’re both on big learning curves, we are loving it though. We get to spend time in the

fresh air, work with food and animals, and create products that get people excited about

local food and small farms.”


“We are truly a family business, our children Abby and John help out with the animals and

David’s parents John and Sue Hinchliffe have given huge amounts of time and energy to the

build. We are so grateful to John and Sue, and everyone who has supported us.”

Despite the excitement of the awards, the Hinchliffes said they remain committed to keeping

Robe Dairy small and boutique, with a focus on provenance, flavour and quality.

Next, they plan to release the first in a series of hand-crafted French-style cheeses. “We are

working on a soft surface-ripened cheese, in the style and size of a French brie,” Ms

Hinchliffe said. “It’s just the beginning for us and we are excited to be developing a range of



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Contact details:

Robe Dairy

phone 08 8768 2626