One of the standout country homes of the Mudgee district will go under the hammer next month, in an offering expected to draw competition from several directions.
On offer is the Hidden Valley property owned and developed over the past 24 years by Peter and Georgia Mansur, who moved to Australia from their native California in 1984.
Following Peter's untimely death from cancer earlier this year, Georgia Mansur - an internationally acclaimed artist - is now Sydney-bound, and Hidden Valley will be sold.
The property is listed for sale with Hugh Bateman from The Property Shop in Mudgee, going to auction on May 10, with bidding expected to top $2.5 million.
Situated 12 kilometres north of Mudgee in the historic Eurunderee locality, Hidden Valley is a property of 71 hectares (176ac) offering scope for a range of agricultural enterprise options.
Before moving to Hidden Valley in 1995, Peter Mansur had been involved with other family members in cotton growing on Florida North at Moree.
Initially Hidden Valley was developed by the Mansurs as a vineyard, but the vines were pulled following the disastrous wine glut that racked the industry in 2010, and now it's cleared for grazing use.
As such, the property - with its trophy home - is now ideally suited to a 'tree-changer' seeking a country abode close to a popular major centre, or to a couple downsizing from a full-time farming venture.
Rising from creek flats to gentle slopes of red loam soils, Hidden Valley is nearly all arable and lends itself to cultivation or direct drilling.
In its present state the property has been used for backgrounding and fattening between 30 and 50 head of cattle, depending on season.
The property has access to irrigation from the Cudgegong and comes with about 150 megalitres of high security, general security and stock and domestic water entitlements.
As developed for the former vineyard, the property is set up with underground PVC mains fed by a large dam to which water is pumped from the river.
This source could be harnessed to feed a pivot irrigation system watering lucerne or forage crops.
Undoubtedly the main drawcard of Hidden Valley today is its exquisite homestead, erected in 2003 by local builder Ian Birchall to an artistically inspired design.
Set in an elevated yet sheltered position with views over the Cudgegong Valley, the two-level rendered brick home of five bedrooms and four bathrooms is awash with stylish touches.
The conservatory-style dining room with vaulted ceiling and marble flooring is complemented by a large family room overlooking a paved terrace, and a modern kitchen.
Set in landscaped gardens, automatically watered, the homestead is flanked by a detached 2016 extension incorporating double garage, studio and guest accommodation.
Working structures include a large steel machinery shed with office and mezzanine level and a steel storage and hay shed.
Zoned for small lot primary production, the property has potential for future subdivision, subject to council approval.
By PETER AUSTIN.