Home-coming call to Mudgee

A former local couple with international credentials in the worlds of business and dining are returning from overseas to Mudgee as the new owners of the town’s iconic Cob & Co Court Boutique Hotel and its associated restaurant, The Wineglass.

Ian Newton and Judy Hall, who owned the region’s historic Oakfield Estate on Lue Road, are coming back to Australia from the American city of New Orleans, Louisiana. They plan to take ownership of the hotel and restaurant in mid-February 2017.

“The existing owner and chef extraordinaire of the hotel and restaurant, Scott Tracey, contacted us in New Orleans and advised us that the business was on the market,” Mr Newton said.

“We had been searching for a business opportunity in Mudgee and Scott’s timing could not have been better. During the seven years that we owned Oakfield we made many friends in the Mudgee community and could not have been happier, so this was a homecoming call we could not resist.”

Mr Newton said Scott Tracey, who has experience in the restaurant business in Sydney as well as Mudgee, agreed to lease and continue operating the restaurant after the change in ownership.

“Without Scott’s commitment to the business we probably would have had difficulty in proceeding with the purchase,” Mr Newton said. “With Scott’s excellent management experience supporting us, we will be able to make operation of the hotel our priority.”

Mr Newton and Mrs Hall bring an extensive array of credentials to their new venture.

Prior to his retirement in 2001 Mr Newton was a non-board director of Westfield and his wife Judy Hall was Westfield General Manager-Food. Mrs Hall, a dual Australian-US citizen, began her food career in New Orleans by setting up and managing the largest custom catering business in a city known for its culinary excellence. She has catered to many celebrities including Frank Sinatra, The Rolling Stones and former President George Bush Snr.

Before their move to America Mr Newton and Mrs Hall created businesses in both Mudgee and Sydney that combined dining with fine hand-made chocolates.

Hailed as one of the oldest original hotel buildings still standing in Mudgee, the Cob & Co Court dates from the late 1850s. It was an overnight stop for the Cobb & Co Royal Mail Coaches, with the present restaurant section used for coach parking and horse fodder.