13 Examples of Retro Wine Marketing You Have To See


Today, a lot of time and effort goes into marketing wine. It is polished, professional and, on the whole, incredibly thought out.

But not so long ago, things were… A little more fun!

In the spirit of nostalgia and all things retro, here a few classic pieces of wine marketing from deep in the McWilliam’s archive! Please note that many of these examples would not be compliant with Alcohol Advertising Standards of today…



1. Achievements of Skill!


McWilliam's Wines Retro Marketing


This range of banners was produced to go on the outside walls of pubs and venues, similar to the retro beer advertisements many pubs still display today. This particular piece, making the link between wine and athletics under the questionable theme of “achievements of skill” is from sometime around the late 60’s and is displayed at McWilliam’s Head Office today.



2. The Friar


McWilliam's Wines Retro Marketing


The Friar is a bit of an institution and you may remember his familiarly rotund frame from a range of McWilliam’s advertisements. He’s since been phased out but he used to be the company ambassador- there was even a Jolly Friar’s Club every Friday, a weekly lunch held for employees in the board room!



3. The Sac Range


McWilliam's Wines Retro Marketing
McWilliam's Wines Retro Marketing


Originally produced to be used in cooking throughout the 1970’s, the sachet range of McWilliam’s wines proved so successful that they were eventually marketed as an everyday drinking wine. A variation of these is still available today…


4. 100 year CENTENARY


McWilliam's Wines Retro Marketing


One of our staff members spotted this sign hanging in an antique store in rural NSW and we can’t help but smile at the random image accompanying the celebration of the 100 Year anniversary of McWilliam’s in 1977. Sure, J.J. McWilliam rode into the Riverina on a horse, but we imagine he was a little older than this photo suggests, and was he really dressed as a cowboy at the time?


5. Cream Sherry


McWilliam's Wines Retro Marketing


Because nothing says quality in a cream sherry like a young boy and a Labrador reading a book on the steps. Pretty self-explanatory, we think….


6. The Winner in Good Taste


McWilliam's Wines Retro Marketing


An oldie but a goodie. Sharp, snappy copy that even Don Draper would be proud of.



7.  Phar Lap


McWilliam's Wines Phar Lap


This commemorative bottle of sparkling was made to coincide with the release of the Phar Lap movie in 1983. There’s talk about doing another special edition range for the release of the new Avengers movie… Only kidding. Which movie do you think deserves it’s own label? Post your comments below!



8. Let’s have a sherry party!


McWilliam's Wines Retro Marketing


From Woman’s Day sometime around the late 1960’s, this series of advertisements sought to recapture the youthfulness of fortified wines, that was beginning to fade at this time. Interestingly, if you look at a bottle of our Apera today, you’ll see that the label is almost identical…


9. Hospital Brandy


McWilliam's Wines


Hospital brandy, a term that is since outdated, referred to the quality grade of the brandy. This prim and proper collection of society’s elite really seem to enjoy it…


10. Cocktail hour


McWilliam's Wines Retro Marketing


The popularity of these little pre-mixed cocktails bottles released by McWilliam’s proved that there didn’t used to be a problem with a winemaker dabbling in spirits as well. We’ve still got the whole collection of bottles and we’re thinking that we might crack a few open at Christmas. We wonder if a pre-mixed Manhattan ages as well as a nice old tawny?


11. Inspiration, health and happiness!
McWilliam's Wines Retro Marketing


From the Daily Telegraph in 1941, this ad really sings the praises of vino, fusing the wise words of poets, philosophers and scientists on the benefits of drinking wine. As the article notes, Plato once said that “Nothing more excellent than the juice of the grapes was ever granted by God to man.” So really, when you open up a bottle of Hanwood, you’re taking the advice of Plato.


12. Bear it in Mind


McWilliam's Wines Retro


What else is there to say about this? This pun is so good it’s almost un-bear-able.



13. The McWilliam’s Patrol


McWilliam's Wines


This one isn’t so much funny as really, really impressive. Long before Westpac started their fantastic chopper service that today patrols all of our beaches,, McWilliam’s had a plane! It flew up and down the East Cost of Australia on weekends, reporting on surf conditions and keeping an eye out for sharks.



That’s all for this round folks, but we’ve only skimmed the surface of some of the retro goodies lying around our office, so stay tuned for another edition soon!




Do you remember any of these? Or do you have any old McWilliam’s history lying around? Let us know in the comments below!




Back to Blog
  • Max McWilliam says:

    McWilliam’s used to print an annual calendar, which from the mid fifties, featured a boy (sometimes very young) and sometimes with a dog. The very first featured a very young boy dressed in a leopard skin outfit and leaning against the ropes in a boxing ring. The caption was “The Winner”McWilliam’s Cream Sherry which referred to our market winning victory over Penfold’s Mantilla Cream*. The calendars were extremely popular and always featured McWilliam’s Cream Sherry “The winner in good taste”. I collected may of them from the early sixties which should now be found somewhere in the archives at Chullora. *It was ironic that some of the original blends of Cream Sherry were supplied by Penfold.

  • Debra brown says:

    Hi I have a bottle of your phar lap wine that was released in conjunction with the movie phar lap in August 1983. Brings back wonderful memories seeing the bottle on here.

  • Sue Hatton says:

    Hi, my dad was a sales rep for McWilliams for over 30 years. I have a treasure trove of samples and traveler merchandise which includes ceramic friar match box holders, ash trays,( still in their packages) 1977 centenary merchandise, sample bottles, Phar Lap series, you name it- I probably have about 20-30 of them. not to mention the ‘wine allowance’ travelers were allowed and the bottles my dad put away for special occcasions.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    As a condition of using this website, you agree to comply with and be subject to all of the following terms and conditions of use.

    When placing an order with McWilliam's Wines online or by telephone, you confirm that all the details that you have provided in completing the order and offer to purchase the liquor are true and correct.

    It is a condition of purchase that you verify that you are 18 years of age or over. If you do not confirm that you are 18 years or over, your order will not be processed.

    Website Content

    The materials (including all software) and services at this site are provided "as is" without warranties of any kind including warranties or merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement of intellectual property.

    McWilliam's Wines obligations with respect to its products and services are governed solely by the agreements under which they are provided and nothing on this Site should be construed to alter such agreements.

    McWilliam's Wines further does not warrant the accuracy and completeness of the materials, information or services at this Site.

    McWilliam's Wines may make changes to the materials and services at this Site, or to the products and services described in them, at any time without notice.

    The materials and services at this Site may be out of date, and McWilliam's Wines makes no commitment to update the materials and services at this Site.

    Information published at this Site may refer to products, programs or services that are not available in your country. Consult your local McWilliam's Wines business contact for information regarding the products and services that may be available to you.

    Applicable law may not allow the exclusion of implied warranties, so this exclusion may not apply to you.

    Liability Disclaimer

    The Site is provided by McWilliam's Wines in good faith but McWilliam's Wines does not make any representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, in relation to all or any part of the Site or the Content or any websites to which the Site is linked, and all warranties and representations are hereby excluded to the extent permitted by law.

    The contents of the Site do not constitute advice and should not be relied upon in making, or refraining from making, any decision.

    To the extent permitted by law, McWilliam's Wines hereby disclaims all liability, howsoever arising, in connection with any loss and/or damage, arising out of or in connection with any use of, or inability to use, all or any part of the Content, the Site and/or any website to which the Site is linked, or any action taken (or refrained from being taken) as a result of using any of these.

    Customers should also be aware of the following inherent risks and warnings:

    • Alcohol should be consumed in moderation and never in conjunction with operating a motor vehicle or machinery. Women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects. Alcohol consumption may cause health problems.
    • A case of wine is heavy, so extra care should be taken when lifting it. If you are concerned about the weight we advise that you transfer the bottles 1 or 2 at a time.
    • Red wine in particular may cause staining if spilt, so extra care should be taken.
    • Sparkling wines can be volatile due to the build-up of gasses. Extra care should be taken when opening these.

    Delivery and Returns Policy

    Delivery Charges

    • $10 per case (up to 12 bottles)
    • Free Delivery when you spend $300 or more

    Delivery Regions and Timeframes

    • Australia Post eParcel is our delivery partner and covers all metro and most regional areas. However, the Australian government does not permit alcohol to be delivered to classified dry zones. Please email us at cellardoor@mcwilliamswines.com.au if you require clarification.
    • Delivery times are between 3 to 10 business days depending on your address.

    Receiving your order

    • When we pick your order we will send you an email with your eParcel tracking number http://auspost.com.au/track. Once you have the tracking number you can logon to the eParcel website to get an estimate of delivery day.
    • If you are not at home when eParcel delivers, then an Article Awaiting card will be left in your postbox and you can collect your order from a local post office at a later time.
    • If you pay by credit card you can request to have your order left unattended. However even if you make this request Australia Post reserves the right to leave an Article Awaiting card. They will do this where eParcel staff judge that the order is not safe or could be accessed by persons under the age of 18 years.
    • McWilliams supports the responsible service of alcohol. It is against the law to sell or supply alcohol to, or to obtain alcohol on behalf of, a person under the age of 18 years. So please note that you or the person receiving your order must have ID proving they are over 18years of age.

    Returns and Refunds Policy

    If you wish to change or cancel your order, please contact our Customer Service Team as soon as possible on 1800 835 933 or cellardoor@mcwilliamswines.com.au. Proof of purchase must be provided to obtain a refund, limits may apply, and all exchange products must be in their original condition and packaging.

    If your order is faulty, damaged, is not what you ordered or breaches a consumer guarantee we will refund your money or exchange the product upon presentation of your proof of purchase. If your purchase incurred a delivery fee, then we will cover the cost of delivery for the return.

    If you change your mind, exchanges are at McWilliam's Wines discretion. For exchange of a delivered product, unfortunately additional delivery charges will be deducted from your refund. Please note that all change of mind returns must be in their original condition and packaging.

    Privacy Policy

    This Privacy Policy describes the way in which, McWilliam's Wines Ltd (McWilliam's Wines) will handle personal information that you provide to us through this website or through any other form of communication with us, our agents and contractors.

    McWilliam's Wines is bound by the National Privacy Principles (NPPs) comprised in Schedule 3 to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). Our Privacy Policy may change from time to time and any variation will be reflected in this Policy.

    Before using our website or providing any personal information to us, please ensure you have read this entire Privacy Policy and checked it for any changes.

    This Privacy Policy applies to any personal information of yours which we collect or that is otherwise provided to us. Personal information is information or an opinion, whether true or not and whether recorded in a material form or not, about you where your identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion.

    The type of personal information we collect may include (but is not limited to):

    • Your name
    • Date of birth – please note it is against Liquor Laws to sell or supply alcohol to, or obtain alcohol on behalf of, a person under the age of 18 years. In order to process any orders placed through our website, we may ask you to provide additional details or require you to verify your age
    • Address
    • Telephone number
    • Email address and
    • Information about your wine preferences.

    Additionally, as you use this website, certain information is also collected through various technologies, such as cookies, internet tags or web beacons and navigational data collection. This information is collected anonymously and is used to provide improved services to website users, customise the website based on your preferences, compile and analyse statistics and trends and otherwise administer and improve the website for your use.

    We collect your personal information in order to provide the goods and services that you have requested from us to you. For example, when using this website, we collect your personal information in order to process and administer your order and related purposes.

    If you do not provide some or all of the personal information we request, we may not be able provide you with our goods and services.

    We may also use your personal information to send you marketing materials from time to time about our other products and services (including by email, direct mail, telemarketing, SMS and MMS).

    In order to do these things, we may disclose your personal information to third parties, including:

    • our related companies or
    • outsourced service providers, such as data processors, warehouse providers, mailing houses, and delivery service providers

    By providing your personal information to us, you consent to us using and disclosing your personal information in order to send you marketing materials about our other products and services. However, you may opt-out of receiving such marketing materials any time through your online account or by emailing us at cellardoor@mcwilliamswines.com.au.

    Personal information that you provide to us with respect to your membership and wine orders may be processed through service providers based outside Australia (presently Canada). By becoming a member or making an order, you consent to us transferring your personal information to our service providers worldwide for that purpose, using reasonable security measures.

    We will generally provide you with access to any of your personal information we hold (subject to the exceptions that apply under the NPPs).

    Before we provide you with access to your personal information we will require some proof of identity. For most requests, your information will be provided free of charge.

    If you would like:

    • to request access to your personal information
    • to make a complaint about the way we have handled your personal information
    • further information about the way that we manage personal information that we hold or
    • would like to update (for example, if you have changed your address)

    Please contact the Privacy Officer on (02) 9722 1200 or email privacy@mcwilliamswines.com.au