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Uncovering mysteries of the Margaret River wine industry

Published 8th November, 2017 in Behind the Book

As the launch of The Way it Was approaches, Peter Forrestal and Ray Jordan take a moment to reflect on how the book has uncovered new truths and kindled lasting passions for the Margaret River wine industry and its people.

Ray: Peter and I were in a fortunate position to be able to write this book. Each of us has been writing about wine for many years and have developed deep knowledge of Margaret River, its wines and the people. We thought we had a good idea of the history, but were surprised when our research started to uncover new information and facts, some of which contracted with our own understanding. We also discovered unsung heroes who made a remarkable contribution to those formative years. We hope that this book has focused a long overdue spotlight on them for their part in creating one of the world’s great wine regions.

Peter: I believe that, in many ways, the book is shaped by two comments. Sue Juniper believed that misconceptions of what happened needed to be corrected, otherwise ‘the facts will be lost to history.’ Tom Cullity believed that ‘no one who wasn’t there will ever understand what it was like in the early days.’ We have worked to make sure that that is not so.

Ray: It was pretty clear that a lot of what had been written about Margaret River over the years was flawed because very little of the history was accurately documented at the time. It meant that later writings were based on memory, which with time had become increasingly suspect.

Peter: At its heart are the stories of the pioneering vignerons and the wineries they established; dealing with those who had planted vines by 1973. In the earlier chapters, this detailed history looks at the events leading up to the planting of the first vines. While it is about wine and the wine industry, we see it predominately as a book about people and place. It reverberates with the pioneers stories about their joys and heartbreaks, their ingenuity and their perseverance in establishing a new industry in an impoverished farming area.

About the Authors

Ray Jordan is one of Australia’s most experienced wine journalists and has been writing about wine for almost 40 years. He is currently Wine Editor of The West Australian and contributes two weekly columns to the paper.  He has been awarded the Jack Mann Medal for his contribution to the Western Australian wine industry.

Peter Forrestal has written about the wine and food industry for twenty five years; has judged some of Australia’s most important wine awards; is a past recipient of the WCA Wine Communicator of the Year, and the St Vincent’s Day Diplome D’Honneur from the Corporation des Vignerons de Champagne Diplome d’Honneur.

The Way it Was is set to launch at Riversmith in Margaret River on 14 November.


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