The financial collapse and sale of McWilliam’s Wines, ending 143 years of family ownership, is explored in a new podcast documentary.
The Drinks Adventures podcast features interviews with the McWilliam family, and reaction from Australia’s First Families of Wine members – Stephen Henschke and Bruce Tyrrell – to McWilliam’s sale to Prcstnt Asset Management.
“Our international market really fell away, and when we were geared up to the eyeballs with debt, cash flow became a struggle,” says sixth generation family member Scott McWilliam.
“McWilliam’s has always made very high quality, value for money driven product.
“In fact, that could have been our undoing; that we were putting very good quality wine into a cheap price point.
“Our margin was eroded to the point where it was, ‘once you’re down, you can’t get back up’.
“Whilst we’re really improving with our packaging and our market presence… we still have a younger generation who don’t want to drink what their parents drink, or their grandparents, for that matter.
“We always will have the stigma in many people’s minds of being, ‘McWilliam’s: The Cream Sherry Maker’.”
Featuring additional insights from wine writers Jeni Port and Max Allen, the episode is available to listen to here.