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Upper Hunter Country
Friday, 09 December 2016 09:28

Rock Up! Two Rivers Sandstone Sculptures

The 'Custodians of the Landscape' sandstone sculpture collection was carved onsite at the Two Rivers vineyard in the winter of 2015 by renowned English artist Ben Dearnley. Ben has earned an international reputation for creating stunning sculptures in stone, bronze, slate and stained glass. He has complete many large-scale public and private works and they can be found across the globe.

The 'Custodians of the Landscape' project saw Ben work with sandstone for the first time and these carvings directly reference the ancient art form of stone masonry whilst reflecting the dramatic landscape at Two Rivers. 

So how did an Englishman who lives on the west coast of Wales end up spending 12 weeks on a vineyard in the Upper Hunter? It all started back in 2007 when Ben was in Australia to catch up with his mother Bridget who retired to Denman many years ago. During this visit they spent the afternoon at the Two Rivers Cellar Door.

After enjoying a glass of wine and a cheese platter, Ben took a stroll through the vineyard to the top of the hill where he discovered a collection of sandstone boulders that had been unearthed during the construction of the vineyard many years ago. Ben's creative mind went into overdrive and he formulated a plan where he could return to Australia to embark on a major sculpture project while at the same time spend some quality time with Bridget.

He contacted Brett & Linda Keeping from Two Rivers and they agreed it was a perfect synergy to create something spectacular for their cellar door and the project was born.

All the sandstone was sourced from Two Rivers property with more than 28 tonnes being used to create this unique and compelling project. Whilst crafting these pieces, Ben immersed himself in the working of the vineyard and the local community, sharing his skills and knowledge with visitors, school groups and other fellow artists.

Ben says that the flowing dynamic nature of the sculptures reflects the ever-changing moods and seasons of the vineyard where growing the vines is a labour of love in tune with nature itself. The collection of nine pieces of individual handcrafted sandstone all tie into the collections theme of 'looking after the landscape'.

Brett and Linda Keeping established the Two Rivers vineyard in 1988. Twenty-seven years on, Two Rivers has become one of the premier vineyards of the Hunter Valley and is known for producing distinctive regional wines that over deliver on quality and value.

Brett and Linda are strong believers in the philosophy that great wines are made in the vineyard and are truly passionate about their vines and their place in the Hunter Valley. Sustainable viticultural practices are at the heart of Two Rivers and the years of hard work are certainly paying off in the wine show circuit.

Two Rivers have amassed many trophies and numerous gold medals in recent years with their signature Stones Throw Semillon leading the way. 

"Having an artist of Ben's calibre here at Two Rivers has been an absolute privilege," Brett Keeping said. "Ben immediately understood our connection to the land here and this is beautifully reflected in his work."

 

Published in Attractions
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 11:54

Drink up! Wineries of the Upper Hunter

The rich farmland and rolling hills of the Upper Hunter provide the ideal breeding ground for world-class premium viticulture, with the region producing wines of international acclaim.

World renowned chardonnays, classic Hunter semillons and fresh vibrant verdelhos are among the white varieties the Upper Hunter has become famous for, while long-time favourites shiraz and cabernet sauvignon dominate the red plantings in the area.

The history of the Upper Hunter as a wine region goes back to the 1850s when William Ogilvie planted vines at Merton property near Denman.

These were pioneering times and the vines he planted at Merton were among the first to be planted in the Hunter Valley.

By 1860, a young German settler named Carl Brecht planted vines at the junction of Wybong Creek and the Goulburn River.

Brecht went on to make wines that won gold medals at international wine shows during the 1870s, and this early success was an indicator of the area's potential as a wine region.

Nearly 100 years on, the area saw a surge of development in the late 1960s which began with Penfolds moving their entire Hunter operation from Dalwood in the Lower Hunter up to Wybong near Denman.

This period also saw the now internationally famous names of Richmond Grove and Rosemount start their operations in the Upper Hunter, setting the scene for many others to follow.

The area today plays an important role in the broader Hunter Valley and makes a significant contribution to the quality reputation the region has earned over many years.

In recent times, there has been renewed activity among the cellar-door outlets of the Upper Hunter and the area now boast a range of highly acclaimed vineyards, wines and cellar doors to suit every taste.

An event not to be missed each year is the Upper Hunter Wine and Food Affair, which is held on the first Saturday of May.

Ogilvie Street, the main street in Denman, is transformed for the day with over 40 stalls featuring gourmet food from some of the best restaurants in the Hunter, delicious gourmet produce and, of course, award-winning wines from all the wineries of the Upper Hunter.

We extend to you a warm welcome when you visit the beautiful Upper Hunter.

Brett Keeping (Two Rivers Wines)

President, Upper Hunter Winemakers Association.

Published in Attractions

Two Rivers WinesTwo Rivers Wines, situated on the outskirts of Denman in the Upper Hunter Valley of NSW, has been awarded the Ed Jouault Memorial Trophy for Best One year old Semillon for their 2013 Stones Throw Semillon.

The announcement was made at the wine show Luncheon held at the Crown Plaza in Pokolbin on Friday. “This is a great result for Two Rivers and a fitting reward for the passion and attention to detail of our vineyard and winemaking teams,” commented General Manager Brett Keeping. “The Hunter Valley has such a proud tradition of producing world class Semillon and it is a real honor for Two Rivers and the Upper Hunter to be amongst the trophy winners.”

“It’s heartening to see such a solid progression over the past decade with this wine style”, added Cellar Door Manager Linda Keeping. “This wine has been a consistent gold medal winner for many years and this award backs onto the Trophy win here last year for our 2013 Hidden Hive Verdelho.”

The Hunter Valley Wine Show is a regional Wine Show open to wines that are made from grapes grown and made in the Hunter Valley. Industry peers see this Show as one of the best Regional Wine Shows in Australia and the Semillon classes always attract record entries. This trophy is highly coveted by Hunter winemakers and shows that Two Rivers is keeping company in the awards ranks with the best in the business.                  

The judging panel for this class were: Chairman of Judges, Mr Jim Chatto, Panel Chair PJ Charteris, International Judge Ms Fongyee Walker (Wine educator and contributor to the Wine Documentary Red Obsession), Andrew Thomas, Rauri Donkin, Adam Holmberg and Adrian Sparks along with Chairman of Judges Mr Jim Chatto.

  • 2013 Stones Throw Semillon Awards
  • Trophy & Top Gold Hunter Valley Wine Show
  • Gold 2013 NSW Small Winemakers Show
  • Silver 2013 Royal Melbourne Wine Show
  • Silver 2013 Hunter Valley Wine Show
  • Silver 2014 Boutique Wine Show
  • Silver 2013 Winewise Wine Show
  • Top 40 Best Buys, 2013 & 2014 Winestate Magazine Wine of the Year Nominee:
  • 2013 Stones Throw Semillon

For more information, interviews or images please contact:

Kylie Magner - evolve advertising 043 259 6065 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Linda Keeping - Two Rivers Wines (02) 6547 2556 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Background: The Hunter Valley wine region is steeped in history. It is Australia's oldest continuous grape growing area and one of Australia’s first wine shows was held in the Valley in 1848.
The Hunter Valley Wine Show has been held continuously since 1974 and is regarded as the premier regional wine show in Australia. The show attracts some of the best national and international judges to ensure the highest standard of judging and integrity.

The Two Rivers Winery has been in operation since 1988 and is among the premier vineyards of the Hunter Valley. The vineyard is situated in the upper reaches of the Hunter Valley on the banks of the region's two dominant waterways, the Hunter and Goulburn rivers.

Published in News