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

7. 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!
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
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
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!
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
What else is there to say about this? This pun is so good it’s almost un-bear-able.|

13. The McWilliam’s Patrol
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!