Hunter Valley Vigneron, Winemaker
Andrew’s family first planted grapevines in the Hunter Valley in the 1960’s on the DeBeyers property bordering Tyrrells in Pokolbin. As well as two science degrees, Andrew had a ‘hands on’ apprenticeship with the late, great Murray Tyrrell who was one of the best winegrowers of his time. He taught the importance of the relationship between vineyard and the finished wine, which is exactly what Andrew has based his current wine growing philosophy on.
To further his experience, Andrew also spent six years as a ‘flying winemaker’ traveling between European and Australian vintages several times per year. He was mainly based in the Bordeaux wine region of France (including a year as winemaker at Chateau Rahoul in the Graves) but also made wine in the newly reformed C.I.S. State of Moldova. During the 20 vintages he spent at Tyrrells he was involved at many levels, including the winemaker in charge of all the non-wooded white wines (and all of the semillons) from 1989 till 1994.
In 1997, having achieved the status of Marketing Manager at Tyrrells, Andrew decided to fulfill a long held dream and launch his own wine brand named, MARGAN. He and wife Lisa chose to settle in the beautiful Broke Fordwich sub-region of the Hunter Valley. They now have 320 acres of low yielding 40 year old vines (originally established by Lindemans and Saxonvale), as well as a state-of the art winery. In 2007, the 10th anniversary of MARGAN, Andrew and Lisa opened their stylish new cellar door and restaurant at the Broke Home Block vineyard.
Andrew places immense importance on making wines in a style that suits the vineyards where the grapes are grown and making his own wines in his own winery, and putting his name on the bottle of unblended wine as a point of difference. He believes the market will recognise the integrity of this model and support it over the concept brands or the faceless ones.
MARGAN is now a 35,000 case brand, which is sold in all Australian states and in 16 countries around the globe.
Andrew was the founding President of the Broke Fordwich Winegrowers Association and filled that position for 9 years. He was a Board Member of Hunter Valley Wine Country Tourism from 1998-to 1999 and was awarded the prize for Individual Contribution to Local Tourism at the 1999 Hunter Tourism Awards. From 2005 till 2008 Andrew sat as Vice-Chairman of Wine Hunter Marketing before taking the founding role of Vice-President and Marketing Committee head of the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association. He also sits on the Small Winemakers Committee of the Winemakers Federation of Australia.