Winery of the Year
SEVILLE ESTATE, Yarra Valley, Victoria
There are times when Dylan McMahon is working in the winery at Seville Estate and can imagine his grandfather having a few things to say about his winemaking. As the grandson of the winery’s founders, the late Dr Peter McMahon and wife Margaret, Dylan can often feel Pete looking over his shoulder and questioning some decisions. However, having just won Winery of the Year, he’s pretty sure they would be thrilled with the results.
Dylan was always close toPete – a GP who had shared a practice with Dr John Middleton of Mount Mary – and spent a lot of time talking about winemaking and viticulture together. Despite being accepted into electrical engineering, work at Seville Estate and vintages in Europe helped Dylan realise wine was his future. “The attraction is there’s this beautiful combination of science and art,” Dylan says. “Plus there’s the dynamic nature of getting your hands dirty, going from cleaning drains to hosting dinners, so there’s a lot of appeal and it keeps you occupied.”
Dylan has worked hard to retain the brand’s heritage and his grandfather’s original vision for the winery. “I think I’ve put a personal stamp on the styles, but all the fundamentals come from the history of this place,” Dylan says, who took over the winemaking in 2004. “The vineyards are all the original vine material, so it’s a combination of that, the location and the core understanding of this vineyard that translates into the winemaking and the wines.”
Additional validation has come this year with two Seville Estate wines also winning the pinot noir and shiraz varietal categories at the awards. “It was Pete’s stubbornness that had him try to prove you can actually grow shiraz off the cooler parts of the Yarra Valley, which he did,” Dylan says. “His legacy was in pioneering shiraz in this area and we have followed with this tradition.”
It’s fitting then that the Dr McMahon Shiraz picked up its varietal award, with 99 points.
Seville Estate is in a new phase, with a recently opened restaurant at their cellar door, and a newly landscaped property where they offer accommodation, including in the original homestead. So what next? “We’re constantly trying to improve our vineyards and winemaking, and question ourselves,” Dylan says.
“We are driven to showcase this great site. It sounds corny, but my winemaking techniques are all about preserving the true fruit expression from our vineyard.”