New owners announced for Mount Pleasant Wines
It’s been an unprecedented year for many Hunter Valley wineries but none more so than one of the region’s oldest and well-loved – Mount Pleasant Wines.
Heartbreakingly, the winery made the decision not to pick any fruit from their iconic estate and single vineyards in 2020 due to the summer bush fires and ensuring smoke taint. Then, mere days after this decision, in an unrelated event, Mount Pleasant’s owner, the McWilliam’s Wines Group, one of Australia’s First Families of Wines, went into voluntary administration.
Finally, after many months of speculation, we have the answer. And, it’s a very welcome one for the hundreds of people McWilliam’s employs across Australia and the many growers who depend on the company for their livelihood.
Yesterday, creditors voted to accept a proposal to buy McWilliam’s from Prcstnt Asset Management. Prcstnt (pronounced ‘persistent’) is a global private equity and venture capital firm focused on sustainability in the food, agriculture, energy, resources, technology and intelligence sectors.
Described by Prcstnt’s Executive Chairman, Charles Hunting as a “cornerstone investment” in Australia’s viticultural sector, Prcstnt will move McWilliam’s out of administration and inject further capital in the medium to long term, to grow the business domestically and internationally.
Acknowledging that it’s been a tough year, Adrian Sparks, Mount Pleasant’s Chief Winemaker is excited about the new ownership arrangements and what it’ll mean for Mount Pleasant.
“McWilliam’s Wines is a sixth-generation Australian wine company. That’s over 140 years. They’re pioneers in our industry and have built a solid reputation on wine quality. It’s fantastic news that the company, while changing hands, won’t be torn apart or lost.”
“Mount Pleasant has a long history in the Hunter Valley. Next year we’ll be celebrating 100 years of winemaking here.
We’re just so fortunate to have such great vineyards to work with and now with Prcstnt coming on board, we can continue O’Shea’s legacy and really invest in Mount Pleasant.
This is the birthplace of Australian winemaking and we want to keep telling that story here and overseas.”
About Mount Pleasant
Mount Pleasant Wines was established in 1921 by winemaker, Maurice O’Shea, regarded by many as a Master Blender and the pioneer of Australian table wine.
Recognising O’Shea’s talents, Griffith-based winery, McWilliam’s Wines, acquired Mount Pleasant 1941, retaining O’Shea as the Chief Winemaker until his passing in 1956.
Since that time, the winery has had only four other Chief Winemakers. Two of which, the late Brian Walsh and Phil Ryan, have been recognised for their contribution to the wine industry by peers, being named on the ‘Hunter Valley Legends’ honour roll.
To this day, Mount Pleasant continues to produce wines from their estate-owned vineyards in the Hunter Valley, some of which are among the oldest in the region. It’s precisely these vineyards which have helped cement Mount Pleasant’s reputation as an iconic Hunter Valley winery.
In 2017 Mount Pleasant was named ‘Winery of the Year’ in Halliday’s Wine Companion. 2018 and 2019 saw the winery take out consecutive top gongs at both the NSW Wine Awards and Hunter Valley Wine Show for their reds. Pretty impressive really.
Last year, Chief Winemaker, Adrian Sparks, was also named ‘Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year’.