With more than 30 years' experience and a 70-year family winemaking history, Neil McGuigan has become one of Australia's most awarded winemakers. In 2016, Neil won the International Winemaker of the Year for the fourth time (2009, 2011, 2012 and 2016) at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC).
The IWSC is a prestigious, London-based competition, established in 1969. Each year, winemakers from 80 countries vie for supremacy with wines undergoing strict scrutiny. The two-stage process involves tastings over a six-month period followed by a detailed technical examination in an independent laboratory. To win the International Winemaker of the Year is a great achievement. Neil's fourth win, the only winemaker to achieve this, is nothing short of extraordinary.
Neil's Past Winners List
Neil has enjoyed a stunning run of wins at the IWSC. In 2012, the year of Neil's record-breaking third International Winemaker of the Year award, of the 39 wines from McGuigan Wines that were entered into the competition all 39 were awarded medals. IWSC highlights include:
- International Semillon Trophy - McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon 2003
- International Shiraz Trophy - McGuigan Handmade Shiraz 2007
- Gold 'Best in Class' - Bin 9000 Semillon 1997
- Gold - Bin 9000 Semillon 2003 / 2005
- International Semillon Trophy - Bin 9000 Semillon 2006
An unwavering commitment to quality
Neil’s perfectionist approach is reflected in all of his wines. “We have an attitude of excellence,” he says. “We over-deliver at every price point. Our $10 wine tastes like a $12 wine. Our $12 wine tastes like a $15 wine. Our $15 wine tastes like a $20 wine… right up to our pinnacle red at $120. Our guys just try harder; they’re always lifting the bar. And you know, when you’re making a wine that sells for $120 a bottle, it really has an effect on all the other wines.” Neil’s mantra is that wine should be generous and easy to drink – a discovery through the palate rather than being confronted with flavour. His wines always show a level of elegance, beauty and restraint that is truly captivating.
"My winemaking philosophy has always been first and foremost; make the wine the hero."
Meet Neil McGuigan, winemaker Neil McGuigan Wines
Winemaking History in his own words
Growing up in a family of winemakers in the Hunter Valley led me to pursue a career in winemaking and viticulture. I graduated with a degree in Oenology in 1978, and joined my brother Brian at Wyndham Estate, moving into the role of Group Production Director. I worked with my other brother Ross to establish the McGuigan Brothers label then became part owner and winemaker at Briar Ridge. My next challenge took me to Rothbury Estate as GM/Chief Winemaker, before re-joining Brian in 2004 at McGuigan Simeon Wines (now Australian Vintage) as GM of Production and Wine Supply.
- Hunter Valley
- Barossa Valley