Australia’s Yarra Valley is widely regarded to be one of the finest wine regions in all of the so-called ‘New World’. What’s the secret to its success? It could be due to the superb terroir, but it could also be the fact that it’s home to a winemaking culture that seems to be constantly pushing the boat out, experimenting with new and classic grape varietals, and always thinking outside the box.

One such winemaker is Mac Forbes, a talented vintner whose career kicked off at Mount Mary - an iconic Yarra Valley winery - but whose horizons and ambition stretched around the globe. In 2002, Mac decided that although he loved the Yarra Valley wine culture, he needed to pick up some different ideas and perspectives to bring into his craft, and so he set off to Europe to delve into the classics.

However, unlike many young winemakers, he didn’t go to France, Spain or Italy… his sideways approach took him to Portugal and Austria, two slightly underdog countries, which produce wines for those who really know what they’re talking about!

In 2005, Mac Forbes made his triumphant return to Yarra Valley, full of ideas and fizzing with inspiration. Today, he seeks out unusual, unique sites for his vineyards, where he plants a mix of Aussie classics like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and also a range of unusual, lesser-known varietals.

The idea is to match the right grape with the right patch of land, in order to achieve ultimate expression and sets of flavours and aromas that couldn’t have come from anywhere else.


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