McWilliams Wines in Receivership


The obvious question: what took so long?

A friend in the business said it was a train wreck a looooong time coming.

I agree, and here’s why: How many insurmountable opportunities can a company squander and survive?


In the years between Maurice O’Shea and Jim Chatto, they made mostly ordinary wines from some of the best vineyards in the Hunter.


None that is evident. Random acquisitions meant they ended up with a grab-bag of vineyards and labels


No sign of it, just a vast array of diverse labels, totally different styles, no family resemblance, no umbrella to provide cohesion, just a huge mess. Random harvest. And they keep adding more labels


A disaster, but how do you market such an unholy mess of products?


Took 2 years to finalise the Evans & Tate acquisition. 10 years later they sold most of it to Fogarty – does anyone at McW remember why they bought it in the first place? Half the labels have been sold at deep discounts for the last decade, probably losing a pile of money.That’s why

That’s why I’m surprised it’s taken this long for McW to run into trouble. They never defined a clear value proposition, or articulated what they stood for, what they did better than others. Trying to be everything to everybody is no business strategy.