Success is the result of a combination of luck, hard work and an over-riding passion to achieve perfection. Andrew and Lisa Margan have certainly not relied on luck but instead have put as much as possible into supplying as much hard and work passion into their business and there is no argument it is a popular and successful one. The reputation of Margan Wines as a leading Hunter Valley winery was further cemented with two exciting wins at the 2021 Hunter Valley Legend Awards. Andrew Margan was awarded Winemaker of the Year and Margan winemaker Nicole Brasier was awarded the Rising Star Award. Margan was also a finalist for the hotly contested Cellar Door of the Year, which they have won on two previous occasions.
The Winemaker of the Year was selected by an expert panel of judges who judge excellence in winemaking as well as outstanding regional contributions. Andrew has also been previously awarded Viticulturist of the year, in 2015 and it is the first time in the history of these awards that the same person has won both the Winemaker and Viticulturalist award. Andrew’s win was a testament to his experience in winemaking and a commitment to sustainable farming practices as the foundation to making outstanding single vineyard wines. Margan winemaker, Nicole Brasier joined Margan in 2017 and has made outstanding contributions to the business as well as the region.
As a business, Margan was established in 1996 in the picturesque village of Broke, Hunter Valley which is Australia’s oldest wine region. All Margan wines are Estate Grown and certified Sustainably Farmed. Margan has been rated a five-star winery (James Halliday Wine Companion) since 2009, twice winner of the Hunter Valley Cellar Door of the Year, Viticulturist of the Year winner and NSW Tourism Hall of Fame winner in recognition of the cellar door, winery and restaurant. Margan Restaurant offers acclaimed agri-dining and is regionally awarded for its focus on estate grown produce. The Kitchen Garden was planted in 2007 and this has expanded to now be more than a hectare. Over the years the Margan team have added an orchard, olive groves, estate reared lambs, bees, and free-range chickens. The menus are created around what is harvested from the property to maintain a truly local and seasonal focus. Margan Restaurant has been consistently awarded One Hat in the Good Food Guide and is recommended regional dining in the Gourmet Traveller Best Australian Restaurants guide. The restaurant is also a four-time winner at the Australian Tourism Awards for excellence In Food Tourism. So, food and wine is what they love to do. The business is regarded as a leader in environmental stewardship and is fully accredited with Sustainable Winegrowing Australia and Freshcare. They were one of the first in the Hunter to achieve this.
Andrew is a skilled and highly respected wine-maker with experience in international wineries. His parents had a Hunter Valley vineyard in Pokolbin, so as a young man he often went there on weekends.
Their DeBeyers vineyard was next door to the Tyrrell’s winery and home. “I was lucky to have legendary wine grower Murray Tyrrell mentor me through my early career and encourage me to study Agricultural Science, which I did at Hawkesbury Agricultural College. I stayed and completed a second degree, this time in Environmental Science, which was fairly pioneering at the time. One night at the college bar I met a fellow student there, now my wife Lisa. That was destiny as we have gone on to be a great team.” Andrew said.
Lisa grew up in Sydney but lived and worked in the Hunter Valley since the late 1980’s. She and Andrew created a business, Margan Wines and Restaurant. Established in 1997 Margan now boasts a five-star winery, 100 ha of sustainably farmed vineyards, a hatted restaurant and awarded cellar door. Lisa attended Hawkesbury Agricultural College studying a teaching degree (Bachelor of Applied Science) where she met Andrew and she moved to join Andrew in the Hunter. Lisa had always wanted to be a chef despite it being a tough, male dominated industry with terrible working hours. So she re-trained with respected Hunter Chef Robert Molines. Then the travel bug hit and the couple set up home in Bordeaux, France where Andrew made wine and Lisa worked as a chef. After returning to Australia Lisa went back to Uni and completed a Master’s Degree in Science and Nutrition, focusing on organic food production. She took a position as a nutritionist (hospital based) until going on maternity leave with their third child. In 1996 Andrew left his job at Tyrrell’s Wines and they launched the small wine brand, ‘Margan’. “I always planned to return to ‘my career’ but found I had in fact started another one. My dream was to create a restaurant with an agri-dining focus so that guests could better connect with the provenance of their food and wine.” Lisa said
The now famous restaurant and cellar door was opened in 2007. Margan Restaurant offers a seasonally inspired menu based around estate grown produce from the one-hectare Kitchen Garden and Orchard as well as free range eggs, honey, olives and lambs from the Margan flock of sheep. The once ‘small’ Margan Wines is now a 25,000 case brand which is sold in Australia and to many export destinations.
“Of course, we can’t achieve all this alone. We have an amazing and talented team who share our vision and passion for excellent wine, food and looking after our guests. Our three children, all young adults now are also involving themselves more in the business, which is great and we look forward to seeing what the next generation brings.” Lisa said. ‘Who knows what is down the track but nothing would make me happier to add the word ‘family’ to the business name.” Andrew said.