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 is born in Raloo, Northern Ireland.


Samuel McWilliam arrives in Melbourne aboard the “Morning Light”.


John James (J.J.) McWilliam is born.


Samuel McWilliam plants his first vines on the outskirts of Corowa, NSW.


Samuel McWilliam passes away and his daughters purchase Sunnyside Vineyard.


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.


The first McWilliam’s wines are exported internationally.


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 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.


Jim Brayne is appointed McWilliam’s Chief Winemaker.


The demand for McWilliam’s wines in Australia and across the globe continues to grow, with 500,000 cases of McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate wines sold.


Wine & Spirits survey names McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate as the number one Australian wine brand in restaurants across the United States of America.


McWilliam’s is awarded Most Successful Exhibitor at the Sydney Royal Wine Show for an unprecedented 18th consecutive year.


Jeff McWilliam, fifth generation, is appointed Chief Executive Officer.


McWilliam’s 1877 Hilltops Shiraz awarded Best Australian Shiraz at the International Wine Challenge.


McWilliam’s Wines celebrates 140 years since Founder Samuel McWilliam’s planted his first vines on the outskirts of Corowa, NSW.


Calabria Family Wines purchases McWilliam's Family Wines. Andrew Calabria and Scott McWilliam (pictured) work together to strengthen the two family brands.