Cheeky approach makes wine less intimidating

Only one will offer you a ``pinot noir as silky as rolling naked in a silk worm farm'', and a ``sauvignon blanc as startling as dipping your private bits into icy water''.

Sarah and Mark Hirst have set Lalla's Leaning Church Vineyard with a cheeky approach to viticulture.

Mrs Hirst, a former journalist and marketing professional, said the couple bought the 24-year-old vineyard almost four years ago with one key directive: to have fun.

``We wanted to do something different with our marketing style, because a lot of people can feel intimidated if they have a lack of knowledge about wine, and at Leaning Church we didn't want to do that,'' she said.

``So we've given our wines quirky labels, we interact with people when they taste our wines, and we give them the opportunity to learn about cool-climate wine production, but in a fun way.''

Mrs Hirst said the cellar door offered tastings of their wines, including their popular vintage sparkling and multi-award-winning sauvignon blanc, as well as single-malt Tasmanian whiskey and a cheese plate.

She said Leaning Church would also be at Festivale, where staff would offer tastings of six wines.

``This will be our third year and it's always a fantastic event; we come dressed as nuns and priests and people often confess things we don't want to hear,'' she said.

Sarah and Mark Hirst, of Leaning Church Vineyard, with Gracie and Lachie. Their approach to winemaking is simply to have fun.  Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS

Sarah and Mark Hirst, of Leaning Church Vineyard, with Gracie and Lachie. Their approach to winemaking is simply to have fun. Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS