Mac Forbes Wines
It’s a funny time to be making wine in Australia. For many, technological advancements no longer define our wines, which bring us back to the age old question – what makes our patch of dirt unique? And this is our journey. We are committed to seeking out sites that we deem to be strong and unusual. Often these vineyards were unloved when discovered, however through listening to and learning from the sites themselves, we have been able to bring back the health of the vineyards and share their character through the wines we are now making. We are surprised that we have found sites with such clarity and beauty. And as a result, this very small and slow project is teaching us a lot about our land and our place within it.
Located in the heart of Healesville, Victoria.
Fax: 61 3 8679 0518
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Austin joined the team in 2013 and brought with him a wealth of wine making experience. Having worked in New Zealand at Chard Farm Winery, Austin has focused his experience on cool climate regions developing his knowledge of Pinot Noir, Riesling and Syrah. While New Zealand was the catalyst for this Irishman’s wine making career, he has investigated the practices of the Old World with vintages in both Burgundy and Austria. A keen mountain biker, you will no doubt see Austin navigating the valley on two wheels.
Mac first donned overalls in the South West of France at the tender age of eighteen. That summer was the catalyst for a now 20 year long career which has seen Mac work with some of the most respected names in the business, both in Australia and overseas. Mac’s early experiences covered the gamut of winemaking, teaching and marketing. From educating European distributors on Australian wines to consulting to Austrian winemakers, Mac developed a strong understanding of the international wine market and old fashioned winemaking. Returning to Australia in 2004, Mac kicked off his own project determined to marry some of the old world philosophies adapted to his beloved Yarra Valley. Determined, focused and able to multitask at high speed, Mac continues to drive the business forward. Vineyard and winery leases demonstrate his ongoing commitment to the Yarra Valley, and the next ten years look set to provide as much if not more excitement than the last.
DYLAN GRIGG, VITICULTURIST:
Dylan has been surrounded by vines and wine all his life. Despite growing up in the Barossa Valley and having spent time on Waiheke Island in New Zealand, Dylan has readily fallen in love with cooler climate viticulture and the Yarra Valley. After abandoning a chef’s apprenticeship, Dylan spent his early years learning the trade at a small vineyard in his home town of Lyndoch in the Barossa Valley before progressing to working vintages at wineries both in Australia and overseas. Having joined the team in 2008, Dylan has played an integral role in facilitating the shift towards leasing our own vineyards and through this process has begun to appreciate the challenges and peculiarities of the Yarra Valley.
MICHAEL COLLINS, VINEYARD MANAGER:
Michael, our Vineyard Manager, is the newest addition to our team. Prior to the wine industry, Michael lived in Ireland and worked in Marketing. The lure of viticulture soon took hold however and back in 2005 and he started his degree. Nowadays Michael is at his happiest working outdoors in the vineyard. Through his focus on the technical aspects of viticulture, Michael shares our goal of producing wines which reflect the site they originate from. When he is not in the vineyard, Michael finds the time to be involved in the YVWGA Technical Sub-Committee which runs the Vineyard of the Year Competition. He also enjoys a good round of golf.
Practices & Techniques
Estate Vineyards / AVA
Being raised and having worked in the Yarra, it was only in the early 2000’s that I began to realise just how little we understood our own backyard. For a number of reasons we appeared to be too busy trying to emulate the great wines (with often terrible results) rather than focus on what makes our sites unique and our better sites world class. In 2004 when I returned to Australia to commence this project, the aim was to start with a blank canvas and find the balance between the restrained wines I love to drink and the unique environment of the Yarra Valley.
After working in old regions in Europe where the wines begin in the soil and are intrinsically linked with generations of knowledge (sounds obvious but most new world wines start in the winery), my journey began with consideration given to soil type, vine age and protection from our sun and winds.
Our challenge today remains the same – to better understand our land. This has become a lot easier having four vineyards of our own complemented by our partner vineyards. Of our own vineyards, 3 were in disarray when we found them. Serious TLC has been applied to these sites with startling results. In that time the uniqueness and richness of their personality has been encouraged, not suffocated.
I am lucky to share my passion with the rest of the team who show an unwavering commitment to this journey. We believe in our sites and also believe that as our relationship grows with each site, the wines will become increasingly vivid and engaging.
I love the journey we are on. It is small and modest but there isn’t much I would change.