History and evolution of Hunter Valley wine

2.30 pm Friday 23rd October – The Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s best-known and oldest wine regions, and has played a pivotal role in the history of Australian wine as one of the first wine regions planted in the early 19th century.

Join us at Saddler’s Creek Winery for an intimate masterclass with two Hunter Valley Living Legends as they present a selection of wines, explore the history of the Hunter Valley region and the evolution and revolution of wine varieties and styles. We will also be streaming this very special masterclass LIVE on Facebook as part of our Friday Drinks LIVE at the winery.

Ticket includes;

  • Masterclass presented by Hunter Valley Living Legends Brian McGuigan and Phil Ryan
  • Flight of premium wines 
  • Gourmet grazing box 




2pm Arrival meet and greet, guests to check-in with formalities.

2.15pm Sit down in the winery

2.30pm Commence masterclass tasting and LIVE stream on Facebook with Hunter Valley living legends – Brian McGuigan A.M. and Phil Ryan and taste a selection of wines. 

3.30pm- 7pm Guests can then continue to enjoy themselves out on our lawn area and relax whilst listening to LIVE music from local artist Patrick McMahon.

 This relaxed afternoon of wine tasting is sure to be filled with memories and anecdotes from these two longtime friends who have served the Australian wine industry for over 55 years respectively. 

Your wine tasting experience includes a selection of wines the Hunter Valley is renowned for, plus a couple of bonus iconic wines from both Brian and Phil’s cellar. 

Your ticket also includes a paired gourmet grazing plate.

To top off a perfect Friday afternoon, relax on the lawn
with LIVE MUSIC by local artist Patrick McMahon. 

Brian McGuigan A.M.

Brian McGuigan A.M., former Managing Director and Director of Australian Vintage Limited, has been at the forefront of the Australian Wine Industry for more than 55 years. Mr McGuigan is one of the wine industry’s most versatile and well-known figures, utilising his skills as a winemaker, viticulturist, marketer, and communications specialist to take his wines all over Australia and around the world.

As Managing Director of the Wyndham Estate Group he built one of the most successful wine companies in Australia. The brands covered by the Wyndham Estate, included Richmond Grove, Montrose, Poets Corner, Craigmoor, Saxonvale, Hunter Estate and the Amberton Labels.

Following the sale of Wyndham in 1991 Brian established a new company; Brian McGuigan Wines.

Brian’s faith in Australia to produce premium quality wines is evidenced by the fact that the McGuigan Company now controls and manages some 18,500 acres of vines throughout Australia putting it amongst the top grape growers in Australia and the world.

In 1998 Brian was voted NSW Winemaker of the year, as well as being awarded the Order of Australia Medal at the Queen’s Birthday Honours. There are far too many accolades to list them all, but to name a few;

 ·     He was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in the 1988 Queens Birthday Honours

·      Voted the NSW Winemaker of the Year in 1988.

·      Recipient of the 2001 Graham Gregory Trophy for outstanding contribution to the NSW Wine Industry.

·      Executive of the Hunter Valley Vineyard Association for 40 years, having served four periods as the Chairman.

·      Awarded the status of “Living Legend” of the wine industry by Hunter Valley Wine Industry Association, 2009.

·      Director of Hunter Valley Wine Tourism Association from August 2014 to present.


Phil Ryan

Phil Ryan began his winemaking career at the age of 19, joining McWilliam’s Wines, Mt Pleasant. Phil is the winemaker behind some of that wineries, and indeed, Australia’s most famous and awarded labels; Lovedale and Elizabeth Semillion, Maurice O’Shea Shiraz, Old Paddock and Rosehill Shiraz to name but a few.

In recognition of his winemaking prowess, Phil’s accolades are broad and impressive.

2006 – Awarded the prestigious Graham Gregory Trophy for his outstanding contribution to the NSW Wine Industry.

2009 – Inducted to the Hunter Valley Living Legends

Phil is now Chairman of the Legends Sub Committee of the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association, whose role is to identify and select future Legend contenders.

After 48 years with McWilliams, 35 of those as Chief Winemaker, Phil retired from Mt Pleasant, but not from winemaking. In 2012, following a twenty-year association with Saddler’s Creek Wines, as a neighbour, friend and advisor to our winemakers, Phil officially joined our team as Consultant Winemaker.

With his extensive knowledge of our winemaking style and it’s subtleties, in 2014, we paid homage to Phil’s achievements and launched the Ryan’s Reserve Collection.

Ryan’s Reserve wines have already received many accolades and are highly regarded in the wine industry.

We hope you enjoy your afternoon of legendary winemakers, rare wine, food, and music