By Deborah Jackson, editor National Liquor News

To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the passing of Maurice O'Shea, McWilliam's Wines Group has restored his grave site and held a special ceremony on 5 May to celebrate the legend of one of Australia’s greatest winemakers.

O'Shea, who was Mount Pleasant's first winemaker, died of lung cancer in 1956. During his time as winemaker he created wines that James Halliday has said, aged with grace for 30, 40 and 50 years. From 1987 his name has been carried on Mount Pleasant's flagship wines.

In 1990, the bienneial McWilliam's Maurice O'Shea Award was initiated to pay homage to O'Shea. The award is presented to an individual, group, coropration or entity that has made a significant contribution to the Australian wine industry.

For many years O'Shea's resting place has remained unkempt. The O’Shea family plot is shared by Maurice’s Irish father John and his French mother Leontine, who in 1914, two years after her husband’s death, sent Maurice to France to study winemaking when his was only 17. 

He returned to Australia seven years later and persuaded his mother to buy the Hunter Valley Vineyard first planted by pioneer Charles King and which O’Shea later named Mount Pleasant. Maurice is survived by his daughter Simone. 

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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