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Independent Spirit

It’s old fashioned, but still the norm, that a father’s skills are often passed down to his sons. The winemaking industry is classically male dominated and built by pioneering family businesses. It’s highly irregular for a daughter in a wine family to make a splash, but Lisa McGuigan is a highly unusual individual. Fiercely independent, she has built a niche in the wine industry that was inspired by her father, but her success has been her own.

Early Days

Lisa is a fourth generation wine maker, but she spent her early career in hospitality. This gave her an excellent feel for the customer, but after a decade, Lisa felt the call of the grape. She started her first wine venture from her garage in Sydney and the business grew quickly. Her Hermitage Road label suffered a set-back in branding when the French put a stop on the use of the word ‘Hermitage’. But undeterred, Lisa created a new brand, Tempus Two (Latin for second time), with a unique marketing and packaging plan. But she needed funding.

Grape Seed Funding

Although Dad was the only member of the McGuigan Simeon Wine board she knew, he wasn’t exactly convinced about the merits of her new label. Lisa pressed forward anyway and made a formal submission to the board. They accepted her proposal and she went on to build the label to a 150,000 cases per annum business. She was also part of building and marketing the Tempus Two winery (which attracted Sir Elton John to play to a sell-out crowd) plus she won a global packaging award for the distinctive pewter label.

On Her Own

Now she has made a complete break and created her own 100% owned label – Lisa McGuigan Wines. The wines are made by another female leader in the wine business, Liz Jackson, who won Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year in 2010. There is a Moscato Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz all priced at $25 and definitely worth a try. Try the chardonnay even if you’re not a regular drinker of the variety – it’s fabulous. She’s also recently launched a Silver Collection of wines pictured here.



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