Thu 02 Oct 2014

Mac Forbes: The Cooler Side Of Australian Wine


Having just returned from Australia I seem to find myself daydreaming on the train from London to Stevenage, and the same image keeps appearing – triggered I am sure by the foggy Hertfordshire countryside I speed through!

Foggy vines in Yarra

I love this photo as, although only taken at the very beginning of spring, it really dispels the ‘sun-in-a-glass’ image of Australia.

It was taken in the cooler-climate region of the Yarra Valley, where I spent a lot of time with Mac Forbes.

Mac Forbes in his barrel room at Yarra

Mac Forbes in his barrel room at Yarra

Not only does Mac mastermind our Blind Spot range (you can see him talking about this range in the below video), but he also makes his own fine wines in Healsville, Yarra, and this is one of his vineyards.

Upon visiting, Mac, Tim (Sykes, head of buying) and I had to perfrom a little ritual – dipping our shoes into a bleach solution to ensure that we didn’t walk any nasties into the currently phylloxera-free vineyard.

Mac climbing his barrels.

Mac climbing his barrels.

This attention to detail and care for the vines was replicated as we visited a number of Mac’s immaculately tended vineyards (where we also spotted our first wild kangaroos – welcome to Oz!).

Back in Mac’s winery, evidence of his detailed approach continued. We tried many chardonnay and pinot noir barrel samples, with meticulous explanations of the exact vine-row locations that were in each barrel. It was wonderful to have these differences laid out so clearly, and precisely showed why Macs range is so vineyard specific.

Trying the 2013-bottled new-vintage wines at the end of the visit was a treat; and one which you can also enjoy soon, as I have just ordered my favourites! They will be available from The Society in the New Year – including this time 2 examples of Mac’s stellar chardonnays to go with his already popular pinots.

Sarah Knowles
Society Buyer for Australia


  1. John Lavis says:

    Are you sure that wasn’t Mel Gibson?

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