Hundreds of mourners have paid tribute to Australian wine pioneer Perc McGuigan, who has died aged 100.
Hunter Valley locals, including winemakers, attended a church in Branxton to mark Percival Alfred McGuigan’s (pictured) winemaking career, which spanned 34 vintages from 1941 to 1975.
Two of his sons, Brian and Neil, built on his legacy to create McGuigan Wines, now called Australian Vintage Ltd and one of the country’s biggest wine producers.
‘He was a pioneer winemaker for 50 years,’ said Neil McGuigan of his dad, who turned 100 on 16 November last year. ‘He loved the land and he loved viticulture.’
Another Hunter Valley family dynasty, the Draytons, tweeted their condolences for the ‘passing of a Hunter Valley legend’. The Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association called him a great ambassador for Australian wine worldwide.
Born into a Hunter Valley farming family in 1913, Perc worked alongside his father Owen in a vineyard at Rothbury before becoming chief winemaker at Penfold’s Dalwood vineyard and winery near Branxton in 1941.
Nearly three decades later, he bought Dalwood and, in 1968, set up Wyndham Estate, which went on to become one of Australia’s most successful wine companies under son Brian.
Perc retired from winemaking in 1975. The Wyndham name is now owned by Pernod Ricard, but Brian went on to found McGuigan Wines in 1992 with brother Neil.
Written by Richard Woodard