McWilliam’s Wines, a family-owned and world-famous wine brand, was founded in the year 1877 by Samuel McWilliam. Samuel first planted vines in Corowa, a small town in New South Wales. From this day forth, McWilliam’s grew into a giant, a historic wine company producing elegant, full flavoured and vibrant wine varietals & blends that have taken the world by storm! Today, one can find a bottle of McWilliam’s wine in almost every wine store across Australia.
Former Chairman of the famous McWilliam’s brand – Don McWilliam, took his last breath on Thursday, October 26th, at a nursing home in Salamander Bay. Don and his late wife, Louise, had taken up retirement in 1998, moving to Port Stephens to spend their final years in peace and ease.
Aged 83 years, Don McWilliam dedicated his life to serving, nurturing and evolving the Australian wine industry. He began working at his family company at the age of 18, fitting capsules and inserting corks by hand. From such humble beginnings, he progressed and rose through the ranks to become the CEO and Chairman of the iconic McWilliam’s Group.
A visionary, he pushed the company towards excellent wine production. Under his reign, McWilliam’s assembled a magnificent and diverse wine portfolio featuring grape varieties and winemaking styles from essential wine regions in Australia.
The company paid tribute to their fallen hero as “a great icon of the Australian wine industry and a driving force behind McWilliam’s”.
Some of his most notable achievements include:
• Establishing the McWilliam’s Maurice O’Shea Awards in 1990
• Receiving the Patron of the Wine Industry award from the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia in 1994, & the Graham Gregory Award in 1995 – NSW’s premier wine accolade
• Becoming a member of Hunter Legends of Wine in 2011, and the Order of Australia in 2003
Don’s funeral will be held at 2:30 pm on Monday, November 6th, at Salamander Bay Uniting Church in Salamander Bay. He is survived by & remembered through his sons – Stephen & Chris, as well as daughter Debra. The Australian wine industry profoundly mourns the loss of a true legend!