An Update from Mac

Mac Forbes
April 2024

It occurred to me only a few weeks ago that we have just completed our 20th harvest for Mac Forbes Wines. 

Many of you have been sharing our journey for a large part of the 20 years which I hope has generated as many highs for you as for us. And while I often observe that the wine industry is relatively slow moving, a lot has changed in 20 years, some of it being incredibly positive. More on that later. 

For all the canes pruned, the vines pulled (phylloxera), the vines planted (hope and optimism) and the wines made, the future continues to excite. 

For us at least, the first 20 years has been about laying the foundations. Building an understanding of the Yarra Valley, rebuilding our vineyards and planting new sites and setting up a robust farming business has taken every day of the 20 years. But it is remarkable to reflect on the stubbornness that has underpinned our ambition to tackle this objective. It has taken a lot longer, cost a lot more than expected but we are now starting to see the fruits of our labours. The whole team needs to take some recognition, as our wines will attest in the coming years. 

Reflecting on our 2005 vintage, some things clearly haven’t changed too much. Our first release focused on our core range – Single Vineyard Pinot and Chardonnays, Hugh, Rieslings and some experiments. Our first EB was 2005 EB01 Pinot (6 hours footstomping and immediately pressed to ferment off skins in barrel).

In 2011 we took to farming starting with 5 vineyards in the same year. With a consistently brilliant team in the vineyard and winery over the years, we have moved the dial on both practice and understanding. With Hannah and Owen today, going back to Austin and Cliff and before that Dylan Grigg and Tony Fikkers, we have built something that for us means a huge amount. 

As we consider the here and now, it’s impossible to discuss any aspects of our wines or business without the acknowledgement of the whole team and I can’t convey the personal commitment from each individual. Hannah, Owen, Gaffey, Dave, Jacob, Meagan, Joyce, Dom, Darcy and Ross have all made so much possible that would have been out of reach for so many others. 

Quickly touching on harvest 2024, we have had our first glimpse of the new vineyards starting with Don Valley Chenin Blanc. UNBELIEVABLE is an appropriate word for this parcel of fruit such is the depth, focus and expression. This site was sought out due to being perched on the south side of the dividing range below dense forest that climbs up to 1300masl. Due to many factors, this site is part of the future for us, particularly when considering hot dry summers. A range of planting densities and vineyard infrastructure has been trialled at both our Don Valley and Yarra Junction sites. These trials along with different plant material and varieties will continue to help us adapt and grow.


Enough of sounding like an old fart reflecting on good times. This email is to introduce our  new Single Vineyard wines. Five wines from 2021 and a very rare bottling of our Ferguson black label Block 3 Pinot Noir from 2019.

If you’re reading this, you appreciate we sit a little outside of the Yarra norm and that we have been steadily evolving our style. As we moved away from the input-heavy practices often common today, we have been inspired by the detail and precision of the resultant fruit. These wines clearly document our blocks and vineyards that we love. And while the Village wines have been evolving into a slightly more fruit forward style, the Single Vineyard wines remain all about each block’s unique qualities with a focus on (soil) structure and perfume. These wines probably won’t hit their straps for a decade. 

In terms of being a part of the release, we are hosting dinners in Sydney and Melbourne and hosting a winery open day on May 18, which you can purchase tickets to on our website here.

Finally, we also welcome you to join our wine club/s. Numbers in these clubs are capped to reflect our various small plots that we will bottle individually as our new sites start coming on line. We are keen to keep building the experience through the clubs ranging from the sole opportunity to access wines like the 2024 Chenin Blanc through to an annual dinner with wines from rare cellars from around the world. More to follow on this front. You can find our more about our clubs here.

So for now, thanks for taking time to be part of this crazy journey. We hope to see you in the coming months and as always, feel free to drop me a line if you have any feedback or questions. 


Mac and the whole team. X