Chief Winemaker of McGuigan Wines
At Rosette Media, we take pride in conducting in-depth interviews with our celebrities and personalities all across the globe.
Today, we have in our studio, Neil McGuigan, who is the CEO of Australian Vintage and Chief Winemaker of McGuigan Wines.
Neil, Welcome to Singapore, may we start our interview segment by asking you:-
What inspired you to join the family wine business?
Growing up in a family of winemakers in the Hunter Valley naturally led me to pursue a career in winemaking and viticulture. The thing excited me about the wine business was its diverse nature; everything from agriculture through to the science of winemaking, through to sales, marketing and speaking to the consumers about wine.
McGuigan produces a diverse range of wine labels, from the $20 everyday wines to the iconic $150 ultra premium The Philosophy. What was the driving force for you to produce The Philosophy?
When I first re-joined the business, I put a challenge out to the McGuigan winemaking team: to create a true, icon wine for our brand. I remember the reaction well – it took people a while to get their head around what I wanted to do. But my philosophy on making wine is simple. Every day you need to have the ambition to craft a super-premium wine; it channels the energy and focus to be on quality at every step of the process. It filters through everything you do, and every wine that you make no matter whether it is at the more accessible level, or a super-premium limited release.
What were the most important lessons you learnt while growing your business?
The harder you work, the luckier you get and failures takes no preparation. My brother established our business and gave me an outstanding base with McGuigan Black Label, and what I’ve tried to do is enhance Black Label and take those consumers on the wine journey – from our ‘five o’clock wines’ like this, all the way through to The Philosophy.
You won the International Winemaker of the Year award in 2009, 2011 and 2013. What is the secret behind your success?
In 2016 we were lucky enough to win this award again and became the only winery in the Competition’s history to win the title four times, which is extremely humbling. The success has come about due to a total focus on wine quality and creating a culture within your business that attracts likeminded people who believe that a successful wine business starts at over-delivering on quality at every price point.
Where do you see the McGuigan brand name in 5-10 years time?
Where I’d like to see it is having the same success in China, Canada and the US as we have in Australia, UK and Ireland. I would really like to be able to go to North America and have them to pronounce my name correctly.