Enjoy art, with wine in hand

Wine trails: A lovely drop, wonderful art, what could be better?

Domestic travel
READY FOR LIFT-OFF: Angel (2007), Phillip Doggett-Williams

READY FOR LIFT-OFF: Angel (2007), Phillip Doggett-Williams

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Many premium wineries are encouraging guests to explore beyond the cellar door.

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COULD there be a more fruitful pairing than wine and art? With "paint and sip" studios popping up all over the country, apparently Australian wine aficionados and art enthusiasts can't get enough of this captivating combination.

From Victoria's Mornington Peninsula to WA's Margaret River, many of the premium wineries that make up the Ultimate Winery Experiences Collective take guests beyond the cellar door for in-depth journeys of the artistic kind.

Here are four of the best.

Contemplating Art at Montalto, Mornington Peninsula, VIC

Montalto, together with the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, has launched a series of lunchtime events called Contemplating Art. Share a moment out of the ordinary as you take a journey with extraordinary artists and their works, in a relaxed environment overlooking the Montalto Sculpture Trail.

CATCH IT: The Hand (2015), Mike Green.

CATCH IT: The Hand (2015), Mike Green.

Each event showcases an accomplished artist in conversation, exploring the artist's background, inspiration, techniques and work over a long lunch in The Restaurant at Montalto.

For the first event in the series, Montalto welcomes artist Patricia Piccinini with Danny Lacy, gallery director of MPRG, on May 12. Guests will be taken on a guided walk of the Montalto Sculpture Trail before lunch.

Piccinini is a Melbourne artist best known for her imaginative, yet strangely familiar and life-like hybrid creatures, rendered in silicone and hair. From the start of her career, her work has combined the cute and the grotesque, challenging people to find beauty in a world not ruled by notions of perfection.

D'Arenberg, McLaren Vale, SA

Sip on impeccable McLaren Vale vino and explore a surrealist exhibition featuring 25 authentic Salvador Dali bronze sculptures and graphic artworks, at the d'Arenberg Cube.

Also on display are paintings by Australia's own surrealist, Charles Billich, whose artworks hang in the Vatican, the White House and the United Nations. His works provide the perfect juxtaposition for the magnificent Dali sculptures.

OUTSIDE THE SQUARE: The d'Arenberg Cube in South Australia.

OUTSIDE THE SQUARE: The d'Arenberg Cube in South Australia.

A contemporary art gallery called the Alternate Realities Museum can be found on the ground floor of the d'Arenberg Cube, where you can embark on a self-guided tour through tactile displays, such as a wine aroma room, a virtual fermenter and a 360-degree video room.

Guests dining in d'Arry's Verandah Restaurant receive free admission to the Dali Exhibition, while pre-booked wine masterclass guests gain access for $10.

Moorilla at MONA, TAS

Moorilla winery shares its site with the innovative Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), home to Australia's largest private art collection.

Kick off your Moorilla Experience by sailing from Hobart to MONA aoard its high-speed ferry. Take your time on a self-guided exploration of the subterranean galleries and then head to your one-course lunch of seasonal local produce, matched with a glass of wine from Moorilla's Muse or Praxis Series.

Fed and watered, you'll then delve into Moorilla's backstory with your expert host and get acquainted with the finer points of old and new winemaking techniques. You'll be treated to a tasting of 10 different Moorilla/Domaine A wines - elegant, fragrant and often experimental.

Art Series at Leeuwin, Margaret River, WA

Family-owned Leeuwin Estate in beautiful Margaret River celebrates fine wine, food and its long association with the arts.

Take a guided stroll through the Leeuwin Art Gallery to view the unique collection of more than 100 contemporary Australian art works that have featured on the winery's "Art Series" labels. Also learn about the famous Leeuwin Concert Series, featuring al fresco performances from the world's leading musicians and entertainers.

Many notable names from the art fraternity can be found in the gallery. Sir Sidney Nolan, when approached at the beginning of the series, advised he was not a graphic artist and did not paint for wine labels. He was also a red wine buff and was sent two unlabelled bottles of the 1982 Cabernet Sauvignon - one of Leeuwin's best vintages. He responded that for this wine he would happily provide a painting. This resulted in his Dolphin Rock appearing on the label.

A Leeuwin Immersion Experience provides insight into the history of the Margaret River region, the winemaking philosophy and commitment to the arts of this family-owned Estate.

Click here for more information.

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