The Hunter Valley icon reopens its remarkable cellar door
To hit a century in business is a remarkable achievement. Only the truly great brands are able to stand the test of time, navigating the difficult path of remaining relevant whilst proudly presenting their heritage.
Mount Pleasant in the Hunter Valley is a shining example of what resilience and reinvention results in celebrating 100 years in business in 2021. Whilst the celebrations were quiet, the team have been busily carrying out a dramatic renovation with their expanded and refurbished cellar door reopening on June 16.
Founded in 1921 by Maurice O’Shea – Australia’s “father of modern winemaking”, Mount Pleasant wines has always been regarded as one of the most important wineries in Australia, and in 2021 Maurice O’Shea’s legacy was reaffirmed with new owners, Medich Family Office, taking control from McWilliams.
The move not only secured their businesses future within the wine world, but ensured the vision for Mount Pleasant could be brought to life, as Chief Winemaker Adrian Sparks explained,
“When Anthony took over, we had a good chat about where we wanted to take Mount Pleasant and what Mount Pleasant meant to the industry. Most importantly we wanted the renovation to capture Maurice’s personality.”
“He was a man who liked to entertain and he was generous of spirit. We wanted to bring that to the cellar door - It’s warm and welcoming.”
Award-winning architects and interior designers Luchetti Krelle were entrusted with bringing this vision to life, and on entering the tasting room you get the sense they met the brief.
The expanded tasting room offers a sense of warmth, a welcoming feel which not only encapsulates Maurice’s generous spirit but complements his reputation for producing wines of longevity, elegance and balance.
The elevated wine tasting experience showcases Mount Pleasant’s four historic vineyard sites and the styles of wine produced from each. From $25 visitors are able to choose from one of five themed tastings, each offering a selection of wines that share the history, evolution and diversity of Mount Pleasant’s unique vineyard sites.
Whilst wine will always be the main event, the tasting room beautifully merges Maurice’s love of bringing people together to enjoy great wine and food, as Adrian explained,
“We wanted the cellar door to be somewhere you can relax in, have a glass of wine, enjoy some food with friends and learn about the history of Mount Pleasant, about the vineyards which date back to 1880."
"That's our story, that's our history, so it was important to us that visitors are aware of all those things and have a great time learning about it.”
Joining the Mount Pleasant team is Head Chef, Kyle Whitbourne, (formerly of Restaurant Mason) who, in collaboration with renowned Chef Justin North from Concept Hospitality, has designed a share plate menu that complements the wines.
“The team carried out an extensive tasting so as to get the food and wine balance right.”
“We’ve taken a similar approach as to what happens during wine judging, between tastings you eat things such as cheese, olives, apple and crackers, to help refresh your palette, but in a much more elevated way.”
And elevated it is. The menu is a stunning display of carefully curated flavours and thoughtfully sourced produce. Launching with local favourite Fawk Foods and their sourdough baguette which is paired with Woodlands extra virgin olive oil, the Riverine buffalo blue, crumpet toast, follows before extending into more complex dishes such as the Chargrilled red peppers, baked ricotta, pangritata and Marinated yellowfin tuna, kohlrabi, sesame and dashi.
The tasting room invites you to wander and browse the contemporary photography collection and newly acquired works by renowned Australian artist Garry Shead, nephew of O’Shea and a regular visitor to Mount Pleasant as a child. Maurice’s passion for art and culture is clearly on display with Garry’s ethereal series “Love on Mount Pleasant”, displayed in the private O’Shea tasting room, and are recollections from his childhood visits.
Adjoining the tasting room is the wine store, or as the team affectionately refers to it, ‘Disneyland for wine lovers’. This spectacular space is all about showcasing the wine, housing some of the oldest and most significant vintages from the estate. It’s here you can purchase rare museum bottles showcasing the history of Mount Pleasant.
Designer Rachel Luchetti explained the concept behind this space,
“The overscale blackbutt and zinc counter is a staging area for the winemaker to tell stories and share insights into his craft. We wanted the experience of the wine store to be pure, stripped back and focused.”
In addition to the wine store and tasting room, you will also find the O’Shea private tasting room and in the adjacent barn the members’ lounge, a favourite space of Adrian’s,
“As each stage of the renovation was unveiled I was amazed by the transformation, they are all equally incredible but I do really like the calm and softness of the members lounge.”
As a part of the relaunch, Mount Pleasant will be unveiling its highly anticipated reds release on Monday 13th June, including the acclaimed 2019 Maurice O’Shea Shiraz, and line up of 2021 reds from its historical vineyard sites of Old Hill, Old Paddock, and Rosehill.
The wines can be purchased online and delivered to your door, however why not take the opportunity to make a visit and experience what is undoubtedly one of Australia’s most incredible wine brands and cellar doors.