Our History & Heritage
With six consecutive generations of winemakers and over 140 years of experience, the wines we make are more than just quality, award-winning wines. They are wines that tell the story of our family and a century long love affair with winemaking.
SAMUEL MCWILLIAM STARTS A LEGACY
1830 – 1902
Samuel McWilliam is born in Raloo, Northern Ireland.
Samuel McWilliam arrives in Melbourne aboard the “Morning Light”.
John James (J.J.) McWilliam is born to Samuel and Martha McWilliam.
Samuel McWilliam plants his first vines on the outskirts of Corowa, NSW at the Sunnyside Vineyard and Winery
Samuel McWilliam passes away and his daughter Eliza Jane starts to manage the Sunnyside vineyard and winery operations with the support of her two younger sisters, Rose May and Mary.
Under Eliza Jane’s leadership, they were able to sustain the business for a few years before selling the property to her brother J.J. McWilliam in 1907.
JJ MCWILLIAM EXPANDS THE BUSINESS
J.J. McWilliam carts 50,000 vines to the Riverina, pioneering the wine industry in the region. He plants them in a nursery and waters the vines from water sourced elsewhere until irrigation arrives the following year.
J.J. McWilliam opens the Hanwood Estate winery.
McWilliam's commence construction on their second winery in Yenda, NSW.
The first McWilliam’s wines are exported internationally to the UK.
The McWilliam family acquire Mount Pleasant estate in the Hunter Valley. THE Legendary Maurice O’Shea, who was retained as Chief Winemaker, went on to make some of Australia’s greatest wines.
McWilliam's purchases the Bellbangera Coop winery, originally established in 1926 by Leo Buring
JJ McWilliam passes away
McWilliam’s release their first varietal table wines to accommodate Australian’s growing appreciation of premium table wines. Previously, the nation was very much driven by spirits and fortified wines.
A new Cellar Door at Hanwood Estate is opened. The building, which is shaped to the precise scale of a wine barrel, was designed by Glen McWilliam. The Cellar Door remains at the site today.
McWilliam’s Family Winemakers celebrate their centenary. This marks the 100 year anniversary of when Samuel McWilliam planted his first vines on the outskirts of Corowa, NSW.
The Robinvale Winery in the 1980s
McWilliam's Wines become the official wine sponsors of the 1982 Commonwealth Games.
The McWilliam family inaugurate the McWilliam's Maurice O’Shea award. The awards are considered Australia’s most prestigious wine award.
McWilliam's Wines expand into the Coonawarra and Yarra Valley wine regions.
McWilliam's complete construction on a new premium winery at their Hanwood Estate, focusing on small batch production of cool climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
McWilliam’s is awarded Most Successful Exhibitor at the Sydney Royal Wine Show for an unprecedented 18th consecutive year
McWilliam’s Wines celebrates 140 years since Founder Samuel McWilliam’s planted his first vines on the outskirts of Corowa, NSW.
Mel McWilliam joins the winemaking team and is welcomed as a 6th generation winemaker.
Calabria Family Wines acquires the McWilliam's Family Brands, a year after it went into administration.
McWilliam's named in Drinks International Top 50 Most Admired Wine Brands
The Australian Industry Wine Awards proudly celebrates the Maurice O’Shea Award and a new award - the McWilliam’s Excellence in Action Award.
Winners - Pamela Dunsford OAM and the Australian Women in Wine Awards
The McWilliam’s Iconic Barrel officially reopens and celebrates 50 years