The Mount Pleasant story began in 1880 when Charles King, an English immigrant, planted the 16.3ha Old Hill vineyard in Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley. In 1921, 24-year-old Maurice O’Shea convinced his mother to purchase the Old Hill vineyard, renaming it Mount Pleasant. Several years after completing a viticulture degree and lecturing in France, the McWilliam family, who were already well known for their fortified wines, purchased a half share in Mount Pleasant (acquiring the rest of the business nine years later). In 1967, the first Elizabeth Semillon was made, a grape that would later become synonymous with Hunter Valley. To honour McWilliam’s significant contribution to the Australian wine industry and the sophisticated use of oak and new blending techniques, they received the Maurice O’Shea award in 1990. In 2018, Adrian Sparks became chief winemaker, after working in the Yarra Valley and Tasmania. Most of the vineyards are several decades old, with the oldest ones (planted in 1880 and 1921) still yielding fruit.
Mount Pleasant offers a range of wines at all price points, such as the ‘Elizabeth Semillon’, which can often be bought after aging for several years, or from the most recent vintage. Other white wines include the ‘FA-17 Fiano’ and the ‘Eight Acres Semillon’, the latter of which is ‘Mount Pleasant’s most floral and expressive semillon.’ The reds include an experimental ‘CF-17 Shiraz Montils’, a white grape rarely seen outside France; and the premium ‘Maurice O’Shea Shiraz’, an intense wine with aromas of black and red fruit and a powerful palate, suitable to be cellared for up to 50 years!