Family Winemakers: Laurence John Roy (LJR or Jack); Douglas Lyle McWilliam; Glen Maxwell McWilliam; Keith McWilliam; JJA McWilliam; Max McWilliam.
The vision which Samuel and J.J. McWilliam had begun to realise was to be properly executed in the following years. In the 1950’s the McWilliam’s focus shifted away from specialty wines to cater to the growing Australian appreciation of premium table wines. On the back of the huge influx of European immigrants and the success of pioneering wineries such as McWilliam’s, Australia had begun to grow a taste for liquor beyond fortified wines and spirits.
“McWilliam’s remained a family operation, with the knowledge and passion for winemaking passing from each generation to the next.”
As a winery, McWilliam’s remained a family operation, with the knowledge and passion for winemaking passing from each generation to the next. Under the leadership of family members like Glen McWilliam, the winery continued to thrive throughout the second half of the 20th century . In his various winemaking and management roles Glen was responsible for the introduction and trial of varietals previously unknown to the Griffith region.
Glen also led the way in developing the technology that would make the harvesting and production of table wines in a hot climate, such as the Riverina, possible. He was also responsible for the production of the first botrytis style wine in the country, the 1958 Pedro Sauternes. The Riverina region has since become synonymous with this style of wine.
By 1987 Australia was exporting 5,500,000 gallons of wine around the world. Under the stewardship of third and fourth generation McWilliam’s family winemakers, the winery continued to grow and to reach into new markets, particularly overseas. The heightened demand for McWilliam’s wines also increased the need for diversity in sourcing fruit, and this saw expansion to other wine growing regions across South-East Australia.