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  • Writer's pictureRichard Pester

Wine meets Art in the Hunter

I recently visited the Hunter Valley and I have to say that Mistletoe Winery is one of the friendliest wineries you could find in the region. Mistletoe is currently managed by 3 generations of the Sloan family who started the winery in 1989. If you visit – which I highly recommend – you will probably meet at least one Sloan – and more if you’re lucky! Here is a photo from their website under the heading “Mistletoe Girls – Three Generations – Just want to have fun!”

But guys are welcome too as I discovered! I was generously helped to several glasses of wine and I found to my surprise – because I’m normally a Sav Blanc man – that I liked the Semillon. So how would I describe it? Well not being blessed with the amazing vocabulary that wine connoisseurs generally use I would just say gentle, fruity and fresh! It’s got a bit of earthiness about it too – you know – that sort of not-tampered-with flavour. Really good!

The other wine I left with was a dessert wine – a Hilltops Noble Viognier – which is? Well to quote the website “The fruit was … quite raisined when harvested so it's colour is like dark tea. Don't let this put you off – you are in for a treat!” And you are – I sampled plenty of dessert wines while in the Hunter and this was my favourite.

But the winery itself is worth a visit not just for its wines and the family atmosphere. Outside is a unique array of unusual pieces of art. Sculptures like this one which could be many things depending on how you look at it, your mood at the time and how much wine you’ve tasted. A set of fangs perhaps, a cross-section of a cave, but that tear-drop on top suggests a head – in which could it be a body with an amazingly thin waist?

And how about a pair of shoes that put Lady Gaga’s mere ten-inch heels firmly in their place? This photo possibly needs a human in it for proportion. The straps at the back are easily chest height!

One sculpture which is probably best viewed without a human beside it to gauge its proportions is this rather glum and overweight figure below, most definitely male, whose expression suggests he’s had enough of people gawping at him. As you walk round him you realise it’s actually two men leaning back-to-back. And yes, all the body parts are faithfully reproduced…

So if you can’t make it to the Hunter this year, don’t worry because Mistletoe wines is coming to you! They will be one of the many wineries displaying their delicious wines at the St Ives Food and Wine Festival on September 9th. In the meantime, you can visit their website here

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