I have been growing grapes and making wine from our Margan vineyards here in Broke Fordwich since Lisa & I started Margan Wines in 1996. You can’t control the weather & each year presents unique challenges, but I look forward to what each vintage brings & celebrate the differences.

We are regarded as a leading Hunter Valley winery & I am happy when I think of every bottle of the 25,000 cases we make annually being opened & enjoyed somewhere around the world. It drives me to grow the best grapes & make the best wines I can from each vintage.

I grew up in Sydney but my parents planted a vineyard in Pokolbin, Hunter Valley in 1965. Our DeBeyers vineyard was next door to the Tyrrell’s winery so I spent a lot of time kicking about there as a young lad. I was lucky to have legendary wine grower Murray Tyrrell mentor me through my early career & encourage me to study Agricultural Science, which I did at Hawkesbury Agricultural College. I think I enjoyed college life too much, so I stayed & completed a second degree, this time in Environmental Science, which was fairly pioneering at the time. One night at the college bar I met fellow student there, now my wife Lisa. That was destiny as we have gone on to be a great team, on & off the field. After graduation, I moved to the Hunter Valley & worked at Tyrrells gaining experience in all areas of wine growing & making. A few years after, Lisa & I moved to France where I made wine & she worked as a chef. This time in (mainly) French wineries exposed me to different approaches to winemaking & helped me develop a greater respect for viticulture, the important link between the two & admiration for wines that showed a distinct sense of place. 

After twenty vintages at Tyrrells, coupled with six in Europe, I had developed my own winemaking philosophy & Lisa & I started thinking about our own wine brand. In 1991 we planted our first small vineyard on our Ceres Hill property in the picturesque village of Broke & in 1996 we launched our wine brand, Margan. Over the decades our wine business has grown & evolved and now includes a winery, cellar door, restaurant & one hundred hectares of distinguished vineyards. 

Over the decades I have developed my own unique style of winemaking, crafting wines of structure, balance, elegance & texture. Wines that speak of their variety & the soil in which they are grown & have a sense of place. What I bring in this ultra-competitive wine world is the important connection between growing your own grapes & making your own wine. The two can’t be separated & this is often what makes the difference, especially in the challenging climate of the Hunter. 

Our vineyards are all located in the Broke Fordwich sub region & the styles of wine are a little different to other areas in the Hunter. It’s why Margan wines are unique, & I think, special.

Across 100 hectares of distinguished vineyards we have the traditional Hunter iconic varieties of Semillon, Shiraz & Chardonnay as well as some alternative varieties that I have introduced to the region including Barbera & Albarino. Additionally, I have pioneered ‘Field Blend’ styles including our Shiraz Mourvedre & Tempranillo Graciano Shiraz.

My second degree in Environmental Science allowed me to meet my future wife but it has also come in handy of recent years working on our environmental management plan which we rolled out in 2010 & certified with Freshcare soon after, being the first Hunter Valley winery to do so. From the start we have always believed that as farmers & current custodians of this land we have a responsibility to look after it so that future generations will also be able to also enjoy it. In 2019 we became accredited with Sustainable Winegrowing Australia, covering all business operations. We take a regenerative agriculture approach to our viticultural practices using a combination of biodiversity, minimum tillage & carbon sequestration to ensure a healthy & sustainable environment for our grapevines to grow in.

Environmental sustainability is an ongoing process but one we are very committed to. People who know me will say that I can be opinionated, & that’s true. I am passionate about a range of things & as such spend a lot of time advocating for our wine industry. As head of the Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association I played a leading role in the vineyard areas fight against coal seam gas mining & inappropriate land use management. Protecting the heritage vineyards we have here in the Hunter is my current project. The Hunter Valley is after all, the birthplace of the Australian wine industry & I am happy to call it home.

Lisa & I are proud of the accolades & awards the business has received over the decades. This also includes me being awarded the Hunter Valley Viticulturist of the Year as well as the 2021 Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year.

Two of our now adult children have returned home after completing Uni degree’s & have joined the business, bringing fresh energy & new ideas. This has given me renewed enthusiasm to drive our vineyards & wines to new levels of quality & integrity.