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International Women's Day Women in Wine Lisa Margan of Margan Wines

Women in Wine Lisa Margan



While Lisa Margan’s entry into the wine world might seem like a simple tale of marrying a winemaker, the reality is far richer. 

It’s true, she did marry winemaker Andrew Margan and relocate from Sydney to the Hunter Valley, but this was merely a catalyst for what was to come. A former high school teacher, chef and nutritionist, Lisa has been a pivotal force in the creation and evolution of Margan, an award-winning winery, cellar door and restaurant located in the picturesque Broke Fordwich sub-region of NSW’s Hunter Valley.

Amidst many challenges they’ve faced over the decades – from floods, fires and hail wipe-outs to Covid and economic ups and downs – growing the business and steering it to success stands out as a significant career highlight for Lisa. 

Looking ahead, Lisa is optimistic and excited about the future. The outstanding quality of Australian wine and the burgeoning talent of the next generation of winemakers fuel her excitement.

Lisa’s passion for the industry and her business is abundantly clear. Here, she answers our questions about being a woman in wine.


How did you get started in the industry, and what inspired you to work in the wine industry?

Quite simply, I married a winemaker (Andrew Margan) and moved from Sydney to the Hunter Valley. My background includes a high school teacher, a trained chef and then a master degree in nutrition landed me a great job in the public health system as a nutritionist. My husband left a job at Tyrrells Wine, I went on maternity leave with our third child and we started our own business – Margan Wines. That was in 1996, almost three decades ago, and I never returned to my previous positions. 

Since then we have built our wine business from scratch, adding vineyards, a winery and in 2007 all our wine tourism operations which include the cellar door and restaurant. We lived in the Bordeaux wine region for a couple of years in the early 1990’s and that shaped our vision for what we would one day create and build at Margan Wines. 

Today, we own and manage 100 hectares of vineyards all based in the Broke Fordwich sub-region of the Hunter Valley and produce around 30,000 cases of wine distributed domestically and to around ten export markets. We farm with a regenerative focus and are certified Sustainably Farmed through the SWA (Sustainable Winegrowers Association). We have a great team who share our vision and values and help us get the job done.     


What are you most excited about in the Australian wine industry right now?

Well, we have just finished Vintage 2024 with all grapes harvested and lots of great wine in the winery. The whites are excellent and the reds at least very good, so that makes us all happy here. 

The Australian wine industry, in terms of quality wine produced, is lifting the bar higher each year. What I love most is that regions are really nailing ‘what they do best’, and that message needs to be taken globally to reinforce regional styles and diversity. Australian wine is not a one-trick pony. 

The other great thing happening is that ‘Generation Next’ are levelling up, innovating, challenging the norms and making interesting and excellent contemporary wines across all regions. That bodes well for the next generation of winemakers and wine drinkers. We have a couple of our children (adults now) who have finished wine and viticultural degrees and are adding depth and fresh perspective to the conversations and direction we have around viticulture and winemaking. Our eldest Ollie, has joined our business full-time and daughter Alessa is currently in the Yarra Valley at Oakridge getting some cool climate experience. They bring new ideas, good energy and a bit more petrol in the tank than we have after almost thirty years at the helm, which is great! 


What are some of your favourite highlights throughout your career in wine? 

Apart from a couple of years living and working in France in the early days, we have travelled to most ‘significant’ wine regions both in Australia and overseas. I love being a ‘wine tourist’ in other regions as it inspires me to bring new ideas back to our own region and business. 

Career highlights really include growing our business from zero to the current size and still standing despite all the challenges that have been thrown at us over the decades, including weather events like floods, fires and hail wipe-outs to Covid and all the economic ups and downs. 

I also studied my WSET Diploma five years ago and was very proud to get that wine qualification as the study required is extensive and the exams are pretty tough. It’s a great way to get a global perspective on all wine styles and an appreciation of the viticultural efforts required to grow grapes. The winemaking industry appears glamorous from the outside but we often say ‘OMG who would be a farmer?’ It is often not the easiest path, but I love this industry and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Published on
8 Mar 2024


Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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