McWilliam’s Wines, under the ownership of the Calabria Family Wine Group since 2021, commemorates three years of remarkable progress and achievement since acquiring the iconic brand. The past three years have seen the continuation of a storied legacy, marked by strides in winemaking excellence, industry recognition, operational expansion, and renewed commitment to sustainability.

Reflecting on the acquisition of McWilliam’s Wines in 2021, Bill Calabria AM, Director of the Calabria Family Wine Group, remarked, "We aim to uphold the legacy of the McWilliam family while also propelling the brand into a chapter of success."

Three years on, the McWilliam wine portfolio commitment to quality and wine show success has remained strong, with notable accolades coming in from the 2023 Royal Melbourne Wine Show with a quadruple trophy win, including ‘Best Shiraz of Competition’ for the McWilliam's Single Vineyard 2022 Shiraz and ‘Best Fortified Wine’ for the Hanwood Estate 20 Year Old Rare Tawny.

The year prior, McWilliam's 2021 Single Vineyard Tumbarumba Chardonnay was crowned Champion Wine of Show at the Canberra & Region Wine Show. In addition to wine show success, the winery upheld a 5-Star Halliday rating and claimed a ranking in The World’s Most Admired Wine Brands in 2022.

“McWilliam’s long-standing legacy of winemaking excellence carries on, with a continued commitment to maintaining style and quality across all of our ranges,” Mel McWilliam, McWilliam’s 6th generation family winemaker, proudly states.

Mel McWilliam and her cousin Scott McWilliam both remain active in the family business. Mel, who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Wine Science in 2023, has balanced study and full-time work at McWilliam’s since 2018. Scott’s passion for the industry and the brand plays an integral role, serving as an ambassador for the domestic and international portfolio.

“One of our major priorities the past three years has been to reinvigorate the fortified ranges.” said Andrew Calabria, Sales & Marketing Manager. Investing over $300,000 on enhanced premium packaging redevelopment and a major three-year national consumer advertising campaign has aided in bringing the brand back to life.

“The new selection of specifically aged releases is a marked evolution of the winery’s past while demonstrating McWilliam’s position at the forefront of the fortified industry,” McWilliam’s Wines Brand Manager Carrah Lymer said. “These fortified wines are sensational, and it’s so exciting to see McWilliam’s back sharing the story of its amazing wines through national campaigns.”

The investment has paid off as the McWilliam’s brand remains at the forefront of the Australian landscape with sales up 11% on +$15 brands. In addition, McWilliam’s strong brand power was reinforced in the 2023 IWSR Brand Health Tracker report*, ranking #13 in the Australian market for brand awareness.

In August 2023, after a three-year hiatus, the Calabria family was proud to reopen the doors of the newly refreshed Hanwood Cellar Door located in Griffith NSW. As one of an exclusive few oversized tourist landmarks around Australia, McWilliam’s expansive barrel-shaped cellar door was first opened in 1973, celebrating over 50 years of welcoming visitors to the site. Today the cellar door has transferred into a warm and modern tasting room, offering elevated customer experiences. “This reopening feels like a new era for us and a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and visitors with some incredible new wine experiences,” said Elizabeth Calabria, Head of Marketing.

McWilliam’s Wines ongoing commitment to sustainability is demonstrated through recent certification under the Freshcare Australian Wine Industry Standard of Sustainable Practice, which looks at a wide array of sustainability measures including biodiversity, biosecurity and resource efficiency as well as packaging stewardship and social impact of operations. This significant milestone highlights the unwavering commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Experiencing remarkable biodiversity gains in the water bodies around the winery, which are now serving as a thriving habitat for species such as Magpie geese and other water birds, fish, insects and aquatic plants. In line with their Net Zero pathway, further investment in a 1-megawatt solar installation is set to be completed before the 2025 vintage, a significant step towards achieving net-zero operations by 2030. As a member of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia and a signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant Organization, McWilliam’s Wines continues to lead the way in sustainable winemaking practices and industry excellence.

Legacy and community connections has also remained a priority, as the McWilliam's brand continues to honour industry achievements, through the McWilliam’s Maurice O’Shea Award, which was founded in 1990 by the McWilliam’s family - a triennial award that commemorates and pays homage to Mount Pleasant’s legendary Maurice O’Shea. In 2022, McWilliam’s and Mount Pleasant connected to present the prestigious award at the ‘Australian Wine Industry Awards’, with the recipient being Pamela Dunsford OAM (2022) who joins the impressive list of past winners of the Maurice O’Shea Award.

“We are proud to continue this award in collaboration with Mount Pleasant. We also felt it was fitting to introduce a new award, Excellence in Action,” said Michael Calabria, General Manager. The Excellence in Action Award was presented to Australian Women in Wine Awards, recognised for continuing to tackle key issues head-on for the betterment of the industry.

In addition, McWilliam’s Wines continues to maintain decades-long relationships with community and sporting groups with the Collaroy Surf Life Saving Club being one of the longest. Initially set up by Keith McWilliam in the 1940s after he witnessed a rescue by Collaroy lifesavers, McWilliam’s Wines sponsored the club with 23 surfboats between 1946 to 1996. The 50-year relationship went on hiatus in the late 90s but was once again reestablished in 2016 by Jeff McWilliam, Keith’s grandson.

Far away from the beaches of Sydney, McWilliam’s continues to sponsor local grassroots sporting groups such as the local Hanwood Cricket Club, another long-standing relationship upheld by the new owners.

Exciting developments are on the horizon for the next three years with the McWilliam’s brand including the release of exclusive aged brandy in the works from our collection at Hanwood Estate. There will also be continued enhancements to the Hanwood Estate Cellar Door and Lakeside areas with development around the site taking place to host more visitor experiences and events. Then there is the milestone anniversary in 2027, where we will be honouring and celebrating 150 years of McWilliam’s Wine's history!

The Calabria Family Wine Group extends its gratitude to the McWilliam family and the community for their support, and remains dedicated to the ongoing success and legacy of McWilliam's Wines.