Mercedes is the Estate Manager at Saltire Estate, “which means that I oversee or physically do everything on this property, so each day is completely different to the next.
I originally started in events as a waitress at Cypress Lakes and The Vintage prior to heading off to Canberra for my business degree. Before returning to the Hunter, I worked at a high volume wedding venue in the ACT and even did a short stint in public service managing conferencing, on and off-site events.
My first role when I arrived back in the Hunter Valley was as Weddings and Events Manager at Wandin Valley Estate, (which up to the end of 2016 was owned by the current owners of Saltire Estate). After 4 years and many, many weddings, I took on the Estate Manager role there until the property sold and I shifted focus to Saltire Estate just 1km down the same road. I just did the terrifying math and can confirm the timeline above (and therefore my career in weddings and events) started some 15 years ago.”
ABOUT SALTIRE ESTATE
“Saltire is a family owned small business located in beautiful Lovedale. We sell wines for staying in and enjoying with family and friends – the quality is high but the price point isn’t. Our passion is finding a wine that you love to enjoy over and over again AND we like to have fun! Which is why we host the Lovedale Long Lunch and Hunter Valley Highland Games onsite each year. (Except for 2020!!)”
SALTIRE WINE FOR YOUR EVENTS
Saltire can also supply wine for your wedding and event. With experience in wedding/event coordination and extensive Hunter Valley wine knowledge, Mercedes can expertly guide you with your selections, ensuring the experience is as stress free as possible.
“I think that more and more couples care about where they source the elements for their wedding, which is fantastic. I love when I see them come through the Cellar Door looking for Hunter wines because they want to support the area and products that showcase what we do here. Our Semillon for example is world class, so a perfect addition to local weddings and the style appeals to most palettes. It’s definitely a favourite of mine!
I always love when couples express themselves through their wedding. Tradition is great and definitely has a place, but my favourites are the weddings that really tell a story about two people. One that always makes me smile, featured the most stunning custom black silk gown for the bride who always wears black to set off her amazing bright red hair. Instead of changing herself for the wedding, she changed the wedding for her and her incredible style. I mean, celebrating our uniqueness and individuality? Let’s see more of that!”
TIPS FOR COUPLES
“Choose your suppliers carefully. Take the time to meet them or Zoom with them, especially whoever is performing the ceremony (the most important part of the whole wedding!!) and the creatives such as the florist who are going to bring to life your vision. Then, when you compare quotes, factor in experience, because I have never seen a couple regret using an industry professional with years of weddings under their belt, but I have seen them regret taking a cheaper quote and have the outcome on the day not being what they wanted or expected.”
What was your first job?
My very first job was a one-off gig clearing tables at the Lovedale Long Lunch back when they used heavy porcelain catering plates and metal cutlery. I will never forget how much my arms hurt by the end of it.
If you weren’t doing this what would you do
(or like to do) instead?
I’ve always been interested in interior design or I would happily do anything with my best friend who is a fountain of inspiration and insanely talented.
Do you have any pets?
Only the cutest and most vocal Wine Dog in the valley! Maximus the tall mini schnauzer who LOVES kids and simply cannot get enough pats.
Favourite drink (or wine variety)
This is a mean question, how to choose a favourite child…?
It’s going to be either Hunter Semillon (I grew up here so I feel like it’s part of my very essence) and specifically I am talking about our 2010 Sem which is simply the bees knees OR I am known amongst my friends as being incredibly partial to Prosecco. The more pear coming through on the palette, the better.
Favourite season for weddings in the Hunter?
Spring. The vines are just bursting, growing beautiful green canopies and the roses are blooming at the end of each row. It’s stunning (and getting warm)!
I’m great friends with Jade McIntosh (local wedding flower extraordinaire) so I’ve thought a lot about this. If I were a flower, I would be a blush David Austin rose.
Hip Hop beats or Taylor Swift. Any time. Any day.
Favourite holiday destination?
I’m in love with Ibiza. Not so much the mega club scene though I do love to dance but the rich culture of the island, the stunning beaches and the distinctly Balearic chilled out beats that play everywhere you go. I also admire the European attitude to swimwear or lack thereof, that you see there. I think it’s beautiful the way all body types are on display and accepted/appreciated on the beach. It’s like walking inside a Lizzo song.
What do you love about the Hunter?
Absolutely the pace and the people it attracts. Most of my friendship circle moved to the Hunter to get away from big cities and never looked back. I think the mix of coastal and rural lifestyles appeal to those wanting out of the fast lane, which is why the area is such a popular tourism destination.
And I love that I never have to think about traffic!