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McWilliams McW – the story behind the label

When you’re enjoying a good glass of red or white how often do you really think about where it came from? You might love Barossa Shiraz or Hunter Valley Semillon, but how much do you know about the history of that label?

In 1857 Irish immigrant Samuel McWilliam arrived in Australia and twenty years later he planted his first vines near Corowa, NSW. In 1913, his plucky son John James read about the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. Soon after JJ grew cared for 35,000 Black Shiraz, Doradillo and Malbec vine cuttings at a vine nursery until the water came a few months later. The first Hanwood Estate vintage was in 1917 and by 1935 the McWilliams family were exporting wine.

McWilliams McW This Magnificent LifeFor six generations McWilliams have produced award-winning wines across NSW and the ACT. They are proud to say great wine is made by people, not by companies. Like other members of Australia’s First Families of Wine they have survived despite drought, flood, pests and the changing tastes of Australian wine drinkers.

McWillams have created landmark wines like Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon and the 2000 Mount Pleasant Maurice O’Shea Shiraz. This vintage outscored Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace to be the highest rated Shiraz in the 2005 edition of James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion.

Today, McWilliams still grows wine in the Riverina, Canberra, Hilltops (near Young), Orange and the unique alpine location of Tumbarumba on the NSW and Victoria border.

McWilliams McW This Magnificent LifeTo celebrate the distinctive micro-climates and terroir of their vineyards, McWilliams have just released a new range – McW 480 and McW 660 Reserve Series. Each wine is named after the respective altitude that the grapes ripen at, highlighting the high altitude and the elegance of cool climate wines.

McWilliams McW This Magnificent LifeAcclaimed chief wine maker Jim Chatto says, “The McW 480 and 660 Reserve ranges personify everything we love about cool climate wine. Pure and elegant, yet intense wines; with a great natural balance making them perfect for so many occasions and a wonderful introduction to the character and quality that come from these exciting regions.”

McWilliams McW This Magnificent LifeFrom one of the newest wine producing regions, Tumbarumba the McW Reserve 660 2016 Chardonnay is an absolute delight. The elevation is between 700 and 900 metres and produces exquisite Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Pale straw in colour and medium bodied it partnered perfectly with roast chicken.

McWilliams McW This Magnificent LifeThe McW Reserve 660 Canberra Syrah is all purple red and somehow reminds you of both violets and red fruits. We enjoyed it with the full roast lamb dinner and it was superb. Not the biggest fan of Cabernet Sauvignon the McW Reserve 660 Hilltops was an unexpected surprise. The rich blackberry aroma was remarkable – the finest Cab Sauv to come across the TML desk for a long time.

McWilliams McW This Magnificent LifeThe McW 480 range includes A Tumbarumba Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio and a Hilltops Shiraz. The McW lineup also includes a Tumbarumba Pinot Noir and Hilltops Shiraz.

The McW 480 and 660 Reserve wines are available at Dan Murphy’s BWS and independent retailers now. You can learn more about these wines and the McWilliams story at



















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Liz Bond

Liz Bond comes from a PR background and loves fine wine, great food and rewarding travel - all the magnificent things in life. She prides herself in an innate ability to meet famous celebrities at baggage carousels.

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