Australia’s wine industry was largely built on fortified wines and we have a long and proud history of making fabulous fortified wines.

While an increase in protected designation of origin from the bureaucrats in Europe means that Australian producers can no longer use terms like Sherry, Tokay or Port, there is nothing those Europeans can do about the amazing quality of the fortified wines Australia produces.

Whether it is Apera, Topaque or Tawny Australian fortified wines benefit from Australia’s warm and dry conditions, which are ideal for making this kind of wine. The grape of all the varieties used are able to ripen delightfully and therefore produce great richness of flavour.

It could be argued that Australian fortified wines are better off not carrying the name of their European counterparts, because they are so different, Tawny, for instance, tends to have more nutty flavours while also being sweeter and richer than Port.

One company that has been at the forefront of fortified wines for well over 100 years is McWilliam’s Wines, and it is a position the company retains to this day. The McWilliam’s Royal Reserve is Australia’s number one fortified brand and features five delicious styles: Tawny, Muscat, Sweet Apera, Medium Dry Apera and Dry Apera.

The McWilliam’s range of fortified wines are made using a very neutral spirit, which is added to grapes that have been fermenting for several days. This neutral spirit kills the yeast and leaves behind residual sugar and wine that is both sweeter and stronger than table wines.

The McWilliam’s Royal Reserve is well-known for its iconic two-litre flagons, but now the range has moved into 1.5-litre formats. The change is due to packaging limitations of the two-litre bottle, but the bonus is that it is now more economical and you can now get more wine per case.

Where the two-litre flagon cases had four bottles, so eight-litres in total with a 3KG bottle weight, the new magnum format means six bottles per case, so nine-litres in total and a 2.3KG bottle weight.

In addition McWilliam’s now has a trade offer of buy three cases from the Royal Reserve range and, get a case of Royal Reserve Sweet Sherry free so now is the perfect time to stock up for Christmas.

McWilliam’s Wines remains a proudly Australian-owned company after Calabria Family Wines Group purchased it in early 2021. Calabria said at the time it was committed to maintaining the brand and the fortified range is a key part of the McWilliam’s DNA.

Bill Calabria said at the time of the purchase: “I speak for everyone in the Calabria family that we aim to respect their many contributions to the growth of Australian wine and champion the unique attributes that have made the McWilliam’s name celebrated around the world.

“Combined, McWilliam’s and Calabria have over two centuries of winemaking experience and excellence – and it’s our goal to give the utmost respect to that. While these businesses will continue to operate as two entities, both families will work together – stronger as one.”

Australian fortifieds are world class, and the McWilliam’s Royal Reserve Range is the number one fortified range in Australia. So contact your state sales manager now to place your orders, take advantage of the new packaging, more wine and buy three, get one free offer, and support this iconic Australian brand.

Head to the McWilliam’s Wines website for more information.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.