The McWilliam family pioneered the region, establishing their Hanwood vineyard in 1912. But it was waves of European migrants after the first and second world wars that gave the Riverina – and its wine industry – a cultural identity not replicated anywhere else in Australia. Their descendants, all third or fourth generation family businesses, are the wineries driving the new face of Riverina premium winemaking and account for a significant proportion of Australia’s export success winning accolades and recognition around the world.
However, it is a special wine made in small scale production that has made the region world-famous: Botrytis Semillon.
Botrytis Semillon – made in the style of great Sauternes - was first commercialised by Darren De Bortoli in 1982 with the Australian icon wine Noble One. Today the region boasts over a dozen different Botrytis Semillon wines, each luscious and unique to their winery.
Local wineries are driving the region forward, focusing on premium wine-making and developing other unique varieties such as Durif and Mediterranean varieties whilst remaining firmly focused on maintaining the Riverina’s reputation as one of the world’s best dessert wine regions.