Upper Hunter Country

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
Wednesday, 17 August 2016 00:00

Sip Up! Hollydene Estate Wines

Hollydene Estate Wines lies just 10km west of Jerrys Plains and 20km east of the pretty little hub of Denman, gateway to the rich Upper Hunter Valley.

The Hollydene and Wybong Estate vineyards are two of the oldest and most iconic vineyards in the Upper Hunter. Combined with the historic Arrowfield Estate, the three vineyards provide Hollydene Estate Wines with Shiraz, Chardonnay, Semillon, Tempranillio, Sangiovese and Gewurztraminer.

Vines Restaurant is one of the most unique finds in the Hunter Valley.

The architecturally designed building features rustic timbers from the Bowman's Crossing bridge that once crossed the Hunter River at Jerrys Plains, highly polished concrete floors and a wraparound alfresco area.

Chef Steve Houghton, masterfully combines his years of experience with cuisines from around the world, to put together dishes of robust flavours and wide appeal. Vines menu options suit every occasion from three course receptions to business dinners and casual luncheons and breakfast. 

Discover Steve's interpretations of modern rustic country style food. Starting with signature dishes of 17 hour slow cooked lamb shoulder and homegrown homemade beef sausages. Steve sources fresh, local produce for delicious seasonal dishes you can enjoy indoors or alfresco dining. The menu offers weekly specials to keep it fresh and interesting.

Vines hots special dinners and events throughout the year, including 'The Burning of the Canes' each August.

Stay updated with what's happening at Hollydene such as Father's Day lunches and Oktoberfest at

Published in Attractions

Winestate MagazineJames Estate continues to be recognised while quietly going about their business. The winery’s latest success is being announced as the most awarded winery in the Hunter Valley by the prestigious WineState Magazine.

Peter Jackson from WineState Magazine had the pleasure in sharing the news to James Estate saying that “The team should be very pleased and proud with their results.” James Estate was the most awarded winery in the Hunter Valley tasting with 10 medals; 2 Gold, 5 Silver and 3 Bronze. To top this off, 4 wine have been nominated to go into the “Taste Off” for WineStates Annual “Wine of the Year Awards”.

James Estate is run by a small dedicated team and is based at Baerami 15 minutes from Denman.  The winery is quite unique in the Hunter Valley as it is one of the few wineries that grow their own grapes, and not only make their own wine but also bottle it on site.

The Baerami property also boasts a scenic bushwalk as well as mountain bike trails that are open to the public 7 days a week as well as the cellar door where you are likely to be served by one of the winemaking team.

OPEN 7 DAYS 10:00AM TILL 4:30PM – 6547 5168

James Estate Upper Hunter Country

Published in News