Mount Pleasant Wines

Coming Home: Mount Pleasant Wines, Hunter Valley

About

Mount Pleasant’s award winning history dates back to its early beginnings, a tradition of success which continues today. From a five star rating from James Halliday to Mount Pleasant Lovedale Semillon being named “the greatest single vineyard Sem in the world”, Mount Pleasant has received much acclaim. Both Mount Pleasant Lovedale Semillon (Outstanding) and Mount Pleasant Maurice O’Shea Shiraz (Distinguished) are listed as on the prestigious Langton’s Classification of Wine, the benchmark reference for Australian fine wine.

Location Description

Located in Pokolbin, NSW.

Features

  • An award winning winery!

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
  • Caves:
  • Wedding Facilities:
  • Picnic Facilities:
  • Dog Friendly:
  • Winery Tours:
  • Wine Tasting:
  • Art or Architecture:
  • Organic / Biodynamic:
  • Awards:
  • Wine Club:
  • Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:

Winemaker

Jim Chatto
Chief Winemaker

Joining the team this year as McWilliam’s Chief Winemaker, Jim Chatto has become only the fourth Chief Winemaker to be based at Mount Pleasant since Maurice O’Shea established the Hunter Valley winery in 1921.

Jim is responsible for the winemaking and stylistic direction of all McWilliam’s wines across its Australian portfolio, and follows the retirement of Phil Ryan in 2012.

Jim says that he feels a great responsibility to the history of the winery and the figures that helped shape it.

“Mount Pleasant’s place in the story of Australian wine is significant and having had the rare privilege of tasting some great O’Shea wines, I’m aware of the gravitas the role carries and the enormous responsibility to honour the legacy of Maurice O’Shea and the individuality of each Mount Pleasant site, as well as the broader McWilliam’s brands.”

Jim joins McWilliam’s from Pepper Tree wines where he held the position of Chief Winemaker since 2007. During this time he was named 2009 Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year, as well a 2010 Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year finalist. He also been nominated for Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year in 2014.

With 20 vintages of Hunter Valley winemaking experience, Jim is also a senior wine show judge with over 14 years experience across both regional and capital city shows and has been Chairman of Judges at the Hunter Valley Wine Show since 2012.

A passionate Hunter Valley advocate, Jim says he is looking forward to working with the Mount Pleasant vineyards to express the fruit purity of each site, “My philosophy will be to proudly make Hunter wines of longevity, purity and freshness, true to their region and true to their site.”

Adrian Sparks
Senior Winemaker

Winemaking was a natural calling for Adrian Sparks. At the age of just 35, Adrian carries the experience of 17 vintages and is a highly respected Australian winemaker.

Adrian joined McWilliam’s in 2002 as a graduate of Charles Sturt University and has since risen to the position of Mount Pleasant Senior Winemaker.

Among other duties Adrian has been responsible for the very successful Tumbarumba Chardonnay projects, including the 842, Barwang and Armchair Critic wines.

Adrian has also been responsible for the Tightrope Walker wines from Victoria’s Yarra Valley and the Last Horizon wines from Tasmania.

2013 alone saw Adrian’s wines collect many significant awards including: NSW Wine Awards, NSW Wine of the Year – 2012 Armchair Critic Chardonnay; Brisbane Wine Show, Best Pinot Noir of Show – 2012 Last Horizon Pinot Noir; Melbourne Wine Show, Best Young Dry White Table Wine of Show – 2012 Tightrope Walker Chardonnay.

In 2005 Adrian’s skill and passion were also rewarded when his Lillydale Estate Chardonnay, a wine that he says is one of his proudest achievements, claimed the Best Table Wine of Show Trophy at the 2006 Vintage Cellars National Wine Show.

Adrian is also an accomplished wine show judge and in 2007 he completed the Australian Wine Research Institute’s Advanced Wine Assessment Course (AWAC).

Having travelled extensively throughout the wine regions of Europe and North America, coupled with harvests in Bordeaux, Burgundy and Limoux, Adrian has a truly international view on wine style and quality.

In addition to his role at Mount Pleasant Adrian will continue to oversee the McWilliam’s Group Tasmanian and New Zealand portfolios.

Scott McWilliam
Senior Winemaker

Sixth generation winemaker, Scott McWilliam was born into the Australian wine industry and it wasn’t long before he started working at the family wine company. In 1989, Scott was hired at the age of 14 by McWilliam’s Wines at its Riverina winery.

Since then, Scott has completed both a Bachelor of Science degree at the Australian National University in and Post Graduate degree, in Oenology, at the University of Adelaide. He has also quickly established himself as one of Australia’s brightest and most promising young winemakers.

Scott joined the McWilliam’s winemaking team, initially based in the Riverina, in New South Wales, in 2000. Today, Scott is the senior winemaker at Mount Pleasant.

Scott has continually diversified his skills by completing vintages in several regions throughout Australia and around the world. He is an international wine judge with vast experience in all styles and origins of wine. Scott has been fortunate enough to have travelled to more than 45 wine regions throughout the world.

Scott counts the time he spent working vintages overseas as invaluable to him as a winemaker today. Scott also gained enormous experience during his time working for the prestigious Australian Wine Research Institute, in Adelaide.

Taking a keen interest in the Hunter Valley, Scott is involved with industry organisations and was selected to take part in the Winemaker’s Federation of Australia Future Leaders program which recognises he will be a key contributor to the future of the wine sector.

Scott lives in the Hunter Valley, with his wife, Nora and daughter Saffron.

Phil Ryan
Retired Chief Winemaker (1978 to 2012)

Phil Ryan was only the third person to be appointed to the Chief Winemaker role at Mount Pleasant – Maurice O’Shea (1921-1956), Brian Walsh (1956-1978) and Phil Ryan (1978-present).

Phil joined McWilliam’s in 1965 at the age of 19. For more than a decade he was employed in the company’s laboratory and quality control areas, based in Pyrmont in Sydney. During this time, Phil also worked the 1967 and 1971 vintages in the Hunter Valley.

In 1978, Phil was appointed Mount Pleasant Chief Winemaker where he worked under the guidance of Maurice O’Shea’s successor Brian Walsh until Brian’s retirement in 1985.

In 2006, Phil’s extensive contribution to the New South Wales wine industry was recognised when he was awarded the prestigious Graham Gregory Trophy. Phil also judged at international, Australian capital city and regional wine shows – including Sydney, Canberra, Hobart, Hunter Valley, Cowra and Pan Pacific (Hong Kong).

In addition to being employed by McWilliam’s Wines for more than 40 years, Phil also worked vintages in both New Zealand (1981 and 1982) and Bordeaux (1987).

Phil has completed a Diploma in Technology (Science) and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Chemistry), both from the NSW Institute of Technology; as well as a Bachelor of Applied Science (Oenology and Viticulture) from Charles Sturt University.

Phil officially retired from the Chief Winemaker role in 2012, however continues to be part of the winery’s story at events and promotions. He currently lives in Pokolbin, in the Hunter Valley, just 2km from Mount Pleasant Estate.

History

1880

English immigrant Charles King plants the Old Hill Vineyard on rich, volcanic soil in the Parish of Pokolbin, at the southern end of the Hunter Valley.

1897

Mount Pleasant founder and legendary winemaker Maurice O’Shea is born.

1914

Maurice O’Shea studies viticulture and oenology, before lecturing at France’s Montpellier University.

1921

Aged 24, Maurice O’Shea persuades his widowed mother Leontine to purchase the King family’s 16.3ha Hunter Valley property and two adjoining parcels of land, on which the Old Paddock Vineyard is planted. O’Shea names the property Mount Pleasant.

1932

The McWilliam family, already famous for their fortified wines, purchase a half share of Mount Pleasant Estate and encourage Maurice O’Shea to continue with his winemaking.

1941

The McWilliam family acquire the remaining share of Mount Pleasant Estate. Maurice O’Shea, who was retained as Chief Winemaker and Manager, went on to make some of Australia’s greatest wines.

1946

Maurice O'Shea plants the Lovedale and Rosehill vineyards.

1956

Maurice O’Shea dies at age 59. Brian Walsh is appointed Mount Pleasant Chief Winemaker and Manager.

1967

The first wine in the style of the now famous Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon is made.

1978

Phil Ryan is appointed Mount Pleasant Chief Winemaker.

1990

McWilliam’s inaugurates the prestigious Maurice O’Shea Award as a tribute to O’Shea’s remarkable innovation and foresight.

1997

Mount Pleasant’s Elizabeth Restaurant, 140-seat function room, cellar door and tasting rooms are officially opened.

2002

Mount Pleasant wins an unprecedented 7 trophies and 29 medals at the Hunter Valley Wine Show.

The Team

Mount Pleasant has a rare legacy, only four Chief Winemakers based at Mount Pleasant since the winery was established in 1921. Today, the Mount Pleasant team of winemakers are led by Jim Chatto and demonstrate a philosophy focused on sharing the best of the Hunter Valley told through every vineyard and every glass.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

OLD HILL

English immigrant Charles King planted the Old Hill Vineyard on rich, volcanic soil in Pokolbin in 1880. The particular volcanic structure found on the Old Hill, formed over millions of years, can only be found in a small number of patches in the Hunter Valley. Incredibly, Maurice O’Shea identified two of these sites, the Old Hill and Rosehill. These sites create distinctive, earthy reds with the structure and fruit intensity to last decades.

VINEYARD CHARACTERISTICS
Location: Pokolbin, Lower Hunter Valley, NSW
Elevation: 130-165m
Size: 3.11ha
Varieties: Shiraz
Vine Orientation: North-South
Vines Per Hectare: 1790
Row Spacing: 3.6m
Vine Spacing: 1.5m
Soil Type: Red and yellow Podzolic over medium clays
Trellising: Vertical Shoot Positioning
Irrigation: Drip irrigation
Harvest: February; entirely handpicked

OLD PADDOCK

The deep red volcanic loams have allowed the vines over more than 90 years to penetrate and bury their roots deep into the underlying bedrock, providing them with nourishment, resilience and protection.

VINEYARD CHARACTERISTICS
Location: Pokolbin, Lower Hunter Valley, NSW
Elevation: 137-146m
Size: 0.74ha
Varieties: Shiraz
Vine Orientation: Mainly East-West
Vines Per Hectare: 1790
Row Spacing: 3.6m
Vine Spacing: 1.5m
Soil Type: Red and yellow Podzolic over medium clay and limestone
Trellising: Vertical Shoot Positioning
Irrigation: Drip irrigation
Harvest: February; entirely handpicked

ESTATE

The Estate Vineyard consists of a group of blocks that include the MV6 clone plantings on the Mothervine Old Vine Pinot Noir block, which was first planted in 1921 and is one of the oldest plantings of Pinot Noir in Australia. The vineyard also includes Mountain A Old Vine Shiraz and a mixture of varieties that vary in age, stretching from recent years to the vineyard’s early origins.

VINEYARD CHARACTERISTICS
Location: Pokolbin, Lower Hunter Valley, NSW
Elevation: 110-165m
Size: 29.5ha
Varieties:

Shiraz (18.1ha)
Chardonnay (1.7ha)
Pinot (1.8ha)
Verdelho (1.3ha)
Merlot (5.1ha)
Tyrian (1.5ha)

Vine Orientation: Varying depending on contour of land, mainly North-South
Vines Per Hectare: 1961
Row Spacing: 3.3m
Vine Spacing: 1.5m
Soil Type: Red Podzolic over medium clay and limestone
Trellising: Sprawl canopy with fixed foliage wires
Irrigation: Drip irrigation
Harvest: January-February

ROSE HILL

In 1967, a further 22ha were purchased beside the original vineyard and this also was planted to Shiraz. Unlike the original planting, which was planted with 15’ row spacing, the rows were more closely spaced due to the improvement in trellis design and cultivating implements, resulting in greater bearing potential.

VINEYARD CHARACTERISTICS
Location: Pokolbin, Lower Hunter Valley, NSW
Elevation: 60-100m
Size: 27ha
Varieties: Shiraz
Vine Orientation: Mainly East-West; some areas of the vineyard are planted North -South to the contours of the land to allow good sunlight
Vines Per Hectare: 2000
Row Spacing: 3.35m
Vine Spacing: 1.5m
Soil Type: Rich volcanic loam
Trellising: Vertical Shoot Positioning and Cordon Ballerina; ensuring maximum sunlight penetration
Irrigation: Drip irrigation
Harvest: February; Old Vines and small parcels handpicked; remaining machine harvested at night

LOVEDALE

Certainly the Mount Pleasant Lovedale Vineyard stands as a paradox. It is only when you consider the simple aesthetics of the Lovedale Vineyard and the realities of the Hunter Valley climate, that you can truly appreciated what a visionary Maurice O’Shea was; to see beyond the adversity, plant a vineyard and create a wine some consider as Australia’s greatest white wine.

The vineyard is named after the original landholders, the Love family.

VINEYARD CHARACTERISTICS

Location: Pokolbin, Lower Hunter Valley, NSW
Elevation: 60m
Size: 31.1ha
Varieties:

Semillon (22.1ha)
Chardonnay (7.4ha)
Verdelho (1.6ha)

Vine Orientation: Mainly East-West
Vines Per Hectare: 2000
Row Spacing: 3.35m (some at 4.6m)
Vine Spacing: 1.5m
Soil Type: Sandy aggregate loam topsoil, with friable red and yellow clay lower root zones
Trellising: Vertical Shoot Positioning and Cordon Ballerina; to ensure maximum sunlight penetration, reduce the risk of disease
Irrigation: Drip irrigation
Harvest: January/February

Awards

Mount Pleasant’s award winning history dates back to its early beginnings, a tradition of success which continues today.

The winery is one of the most awarded in Australia, with an incredible five Championships, 128 trophies and 2100 medals since the late 1970s.

Five Star Winery – “The individual vineyard wines, together with the Maurice O’Shea memorial wines, add to the lustre of this proud name.”

- James Halliday Australian Wine Companion 2013
Mount Pleasant Lovedale Semillon rated Outstanding.

- Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine V
Mount Pleasant Maurice O’Shea Shiraz rated Distinguished.

- Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine V
2000 Mount Pleasant Maurice O’Shea Shiraz outscores Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace to be the highest rated Shiraz of 2005.

- Matthew Jukes Top 100 Australian Wines
Mount Pleasant Cellar Door named Cellar Door of the Year.

- Hunter Valley Legends Award 2008
2007 Mount Pleasant Maurice O’Shea Shiraz named Shiraz of the Year.

- The Big Red Wine Book 2010/11, Campbell Mattinson and Gary Walsh
2009 Mount Pleasant Maurice O’Shea Shiraz rated 94+ points.

- Lisa Perotti-Brown MW, The Wine Advocate (erobertparker.com)
2009 Mount Pleasant Old Paddock and Old Hill Shiraz rated 93+ points.

- Lisa Perotti-Brown MW, The Wine Advocate (erobertparker.com)

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Hours

Mon - Sun: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Address

401 Marrowbone Road
Pokolbin, New South Wales 2320
Australia

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