McGuigan Family

Winemakers over several generations since 1890s
Inducted 28 November 2007

The McGuigan family has been associated with the wine industry for four generations, beginning with Owen Patrick McGuigan, more than a century ago.

Initially a dairy farmer, Owen developed an interest in the wine industry, and began working for the McNamara family at their vineyard at Rothbury, where he was sometimes joined by his young son, Perc, who was born in 1913.

Owen died in 1925, leaving his wife Catherine to raise six children and run the farm.

In 1941, the Perc followed in his father's footsteps and resumed the family's interest in the winemaking, taking on a managerial role at Penfold's Dalwood property near Branxton.

In 1942, Brian McGuigan was born and Fay Lennard was born in 1943. Brian and Fay first met in 1958 on the school train, and married in 1964. Their first child, Lisa McGuigan was born in 1967.

Perc's career spanned almost three decades until 1968, during which time he played a key role in the evolution of the Australian wine industry, and was innovative in the production of a more diverse range of wine products and varieties.

In February 1968 Penfolds offered at auction complete 136 acres of Dalwood property. It was purchased by Perc and his wife Silvia for $26,700. They named it Wyndham Estate and proceeded to replant the area originally planted by the Convicts under George Wyndham commencing in 1831.

Brian and Fay's second daughter, Vanessa, was born in 1969.

In 1970 Wyndham Estate was sold to a syndicate headed and managed by Brian McGuigan, Perc's eldest son and it went on to create one of the most successful Australian wine companies.

In time, the company reached sales in excess of 1.25 million cases, and Wyndham Estate became one of Australia's leading exporters of wine.

In 1985, Fay won Exporter of the Year Award and Brian McGuigan was awarded the Australian Medal (AM) in 1988.

In 1990, Vanessa McGuigan died, and Brian and Fay lost Wyndham Estate. Subsequently Brian established McGuigan Wines in 1992 with Fay and Neil McGuigan (Brian's youngest brother).

Fay McGuigan has also played a major role in the development of the company, particularly in expanding the export aspects, and has been recognised for her achievements with honours such as NSW Telstra Businesswoman of the Year (Aus industry section). In 1999, Fay was given an Australian Export Heroes Award by the Australian Institute of Export. Fay has also served on the Prime Minister's Supermarkets to Asia Council.

Lisa McGuigan, daughter of Brian and Fay, had her first career in hospitality management, before moving back to the Hunter Valley in 1996 to establish Hunter Cellars, which offered a new approach to the cellar door experience. At this time, Lisa joined the Board of Directors of McGuigan Wines during an important period of growth.

In 1997, Lisa opened a new winery, Hermitage Road, which in 1998 was renamed Tempus Two.

In 2001, McGuigan Wines merged with Simeon Wines, thereby creating Australia's fourth largest wine company. In 2001, Fay McGuigan was also awarded the Centenary Medal.

Fay worked with McGuigan Simeon Wines (MSWL) as Export Marketing Consultant, supporting the export of 20 million litres of MSWL wine. Icon Brands was formed as the distribution arm of MSWL.

In 2002, Tempus Two joined Icon Brands, and Lisa McGuigan was appointed Marketing Director for MSWL.

Perc McGuigan was awarded the Australian Medal (AM) in 2003 for his contribution to the Australian wine industry.

In 2006, Brian stepped down as CEO of McGuigan Wines for health reasons.

Neil McGuigan has continued his long standing involvement in the wine industry, both in those companies which bear the family name and in various capacities for other companies.

In a significant role away from winemaking, Brian has served as Chairman of Newcastle's Mater Misericordiae Hospital.

Visit the McGuigan Wines website

Plaque location

Visitor Information Centre, Wine Country Drive, Pokolbin