Seville Estate founder has passed away

Yarra Valley winemaker Peter McMahon, founder of Seville Estate, has died at the age of 88.

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McMahon was one of the people who revived the Yarra Valley wine industry in the early 1970s, together with John Middleton of Mount Mary (tastings), Bailey Carrodus of Yarra Yering (tastings), Guillde Pury of Yeringberg (tastings) and Reg Egan of Wantirna Estate (tastings).

McMahon shared a medical practice in Lilydale with Middleton when both were bitten by the wine bug. Peter and his wife Margaret established Seville Estate (tastings) in 1972, controversially on the rich red soils of Seville, not the poorer grey-loams in the valley proper, traditionally the Yarra Valley’s favoured soils.

Peter was an affable, smiling-faced, snowy-haired man who was more relaxed about wine than some of his peers. When quizzed as to why he chose the more humid Seville area for his vineyard, Peter said he liked the view. While cabernet, chardonnay and pinot noir obsessed others, Seville Estate’s outstanding wine was shiraz – although today Dylan’s chardonnays are the stand-out wines. I also fondly recall Peter’s astonishingly luscious botrytis rieslings – beerenausleses and the odd TBA – fermented in beer kegs and other small receptacles.

The family no longer owns the property but the wheel has turned full-circle, as Peter and Margaret’s grandson Dylan is the winemaker today. Dylan says Peter was a great ambassador for the wine industry with his involvement in many committees including the early Yarra Valley Wine Show and the Viticultural Society of Victoria, of which he served as president.

“Peter had an immense influence on my life. He encouraged me to consider the wine industry as a career and spent time teaching/lecturing me about how things should be done. He was also a dear friend, and I can’t express how much he will be missed.” Margaret pre-deceased Peter in 2011.

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