As farmers, looking after the land for future generations is important to us. Our ‘estate grown- estate made’ ethos minimizes our carbon footprint and contributes to what makes us unique.



We have 100 hectares of distinguished Margan vineyards across two locations. One is on our Ceres Hill property in Broke and the other is on the Fordwich Sill about 10 minutes from the winery in the former parish of Fordwich. All are situated in the Broke Fordwich GI, a registered sub-region of the Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine region. Our vines are planted to the traditional Hunter varieties as well as more recently planted pioneering and alternative varieties. All our vineyards are certified Sustainably Farmed under Freshcare.

The Hunter Valley is an ancient one and 230 million years ago it was a large sea. Over time it was silted up by the weathering of surrounding land, then covered in vegetation, forming swamps which ultimately degraded and added layers on top of the marine sediments. This all happened again and over millennia the top layers were compressed into rock, shale, and coal. Wind and rain eroded these layers and what we have today are soils that reflect their geological heritage.


Our two vineyards and the blocks within them each feature different soil structures and aspects creating unique mesoclimates across the sites. We plant varieties that best suit each vineyard block and the style of wine we want to make from it.

Our Ceres Hill Vineyard has entirely been established by us and we planted varieties traditional to the Hunter as well as pioneering ones. This is the property where the winery and tourism operations are based and was first planted by us in 1989 with just 2ha of Semillon. It was the start of Margan Wines and plantings have increased over the decades to a total of 16ha. There are three soil types on this property: grey clay (Semillon and Chardonnay); sandy loam (Albariño) and red clay sand (Barbera and Merlot). 

Our Fordwich Sill Vineyards cover three distinct vineyard blocks being Timbervines, Fordwich Hill and Saxonvale. They are all planted on a unique plug of red volcanic clay which is the weathered product of ancient volcanic eruptions. The soils are mineral rich and absorb moisture easily and release it slowly. These vineyards were all planted in the late 1960’s by Lindemans and Saxonvale and are the cornerstone of the unique style of Margan wines. 


Saxonvale Vineyard is the name of the former vineyard, winery and wine brand established in the late 1960’s on this unique site on the Fordwich Sill. The winery and brand have long gone but the old 29 ha vineyard remains which we lease. The vineyard provides us with grapes for our Limited Release Wines of White Label Verdelho, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz Mourvèdre.


Fordwich Hill Vineyard spans 26ha in total. It was first planted in 1970 by Lindemans to Shiraz and Chardonnay with later plantings to Semillon and we have maintained these old vines. Many of our Originals wines are grown here and our White Label Fordwich Hill Semillon and Fordwich Hill Shiraz come from easterly facing slopes on this vineyard.


Timbervines was purchased by Lisa and I in 2005. It has 30 ha of mature vines, including our 'old clones' that we have grafted over the last decade. This vineyard includes our Francis John Margan block from which we make our Aged Release Semillon, our BC4 Shiraz block, our Tempranillo Graciano Shiraz field blend and some of our best Shiraz, including our Aged Release Shiraz.


Our Ceres Hill Vineyard has entirely been established by us and we planted varieties traditional to the Hunter as well as pioneering ones. This is the property where the winery and tourism operations are based and was first planted by us in 1989 with just 2ha of Semillon. It was the start of Margan Wines and plantings have increased over the decades to a total of 16ha. There are three soil types on this property: grey clay (Semillon and Chardonnay); sandy loam (Albariño) and red clay sand (Barbera and Merlot).

Ceres Hill Semillon and Ceres Hill Chardonnay are planted on an easterly facing slope on the hill on grey clay. It is an infertile soil causing the vines to struggle which maintains low yields and concentrates flavours in the grapes. The soil ensure acidity in the grapes is high which is the hallmark of Hunter Semillon and this finer style of Chardonnay and allows the wines to age.

We were the first to plant Barbera in the Hunter in 1998. It is planted just behind the winery on a small block of volcanic clay.

We planted Albarino in 2014, being again the first in the Hunter to do so and one of the first in Australia. It is planted to sandy loam between the Kitchen Garden and the Wollombi Brook.


There are three main soil profiles and we plant the varieties that are best suited to them.

The Fordwich Sill

This is a plug of red volcanic clay that was deposited over 200 million years in the North Western corner of the Broke Fordwich region. Geographically it is defined as dolorite and is the weathered product of subterranean lava flows from ancient volcano activity. This soil gives a ‘vineyard signature’ and provide the cornerstone for the unique style of Margan Wines.  

It is a free-draining soil and rich in minerals such as iron and phosphorous, so we prune to control vine vigour as we want the vines to struggle a bit and produce more concentrated flavours in the grapes. The soil absorbs moisture quickly and releases it slowly – an important bonus for inland regions such as Broke Fordwich. Most of the vines planted on the Fordwich Sill are mature and were planted by Lindemans and Saxonvale in the late 1960’s and early 70’s and Margan have been fortunate to acquire these distinguished vineyards -Timbervines, Saxonvale and Fordwich Hill- over the years. Apart from that there are a few pockets of this rare soil in the area including behind the winery on our Ceres Hill vineyard where we have planted Barbera and Merlot.

Sandy River Loam

This soil is found on land on the banks of riverbeds such as here from behind the Restaurant Garden all the way to the Wollombi Brook on the boundary of our property. It has a deep layer of sedimentary material derived from Hawkesbury sandstone laid down as a mixture of silt and sand. It is light, free draining and we have planted Albariño here which is thriving.

Grey Clay

This Semillon block is an easterly facing slope made up of a sedimentary grey clay laid down from ancient ocean beds 230 million years ago. It is an infertile soil which causes the vines to struggle, keeping yields low and flavours in the grapes concentrated. The soil ensures acidity in the fruit is high which is the backbone and hallmark of Hunter Valley Semillon and allows it to age.

On the South facing slope of the Ceres Hill Vineyard we have planted chardonnay. It has less sun exposure and the fruit has more delicate flavours and higher acidity which is ideal for wine that can mature.



The Hunter Valley is a warm grape growing region with a maritime influence. The winters are cold with frosts and the summers are hot. Mostly the nights cool down in summer creating an important diurnal temperature difference which cools the grapes, evens out ripening and helps to maintain acidity in the grapes which is important for quality wine production.

Our vineyards are mostly planted to the Hunter Valley classics- the varieties introduced to the region in the 1830’s- as well as some newer pioneering varieties. We have around 20 hectares each of Shiraz and Semillon and 18ha of Chardonnay with smaller plantings of Verdelho, Albariño, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvèdre, Tempranillo & Graciano and Merlot.

Almost all our vineyards are planted with vines on their own roots except for Timbervines where we have grafted ‘old clone’ Semillon and Shiraz to original 60-year-old rootstocks. The old clones are traditional to the Hunter and have adapted over the decades to the local terroir. They have a long and distinguished history of outperforming other clones in this region, regarding final wine quality and we are lucky to have them.

All our vineyards have irrigation to supplement average rainfall where required to ensure healthy growth but never to enhance yields. In fact, our average yield per acre is around one to two tonnes per acre which is among the lowest compared to global averages. This gives us concentrated fruit characters in our grapes and the wines they make, a signature of the Margan style. Rainfall traditionally arrives in mid-February when the last of the red grapes are being harvested. However, in a climate of global warming we also have been picking earlier and have tended to miss these inconvenient rains.

We prefer to use Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP) for canopy management and can manipulate the growth of the arms and leaves to allow for air circulation (to prevent fungal diseases), sun exposure (for ripening) as well and sun protection and shading (for harsh sun which can cause sunburn).



As farmers we feel a strong connection to our land and want to keep it in great condition for future generations. We follow a detailed Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to reduce our carbon footprint wherever possible via a range of practices and initiatives across all business operations. We are proud to have full Sustainable Farming accreditation with Sustainable Winegrowing Australia (AWRI) and Freshcare which benchmarks to the ISO14000 series (International Standards) for best practice in environmental stewardship.

In the vineyard, we minimise sprays especially of pesticides and herbicides and limit to copper and sulphur as recommended by organic and bio dynamic farming practices. We focus on maximising vine and soil health by reducing disease, weeds and pests in the vineyard. Mulching and cover crops reduce weeds, keeps the soil moist as well as adding organic matter to enrich it. We are close to carbon neutral (when carbon credits equal carbon emissions) which means that we have made huge reductions in the carbon emissions created through our farming and business operations. We don’t believe in simply buying carbon credits in order to become carbon neutral but continue with our own EMP to work towards this goal. It is all an ongoing journey, but we get better at it each year. Read more about our Sustainabilty Practices here >>