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Peter Forrestal

The Way It Was

Peter Forrestal majored in history from the University of Western Australia: his love of the subject, and especially local history, was the driving force behind his interest in The Way it Was and is a major preoccupation for him.
He has been a freelance wine and food writer for almost 30 years contributing to newspapers, magazines and books, locally, nationally and internationally. He was the 2009 WCA Wine Communicator of the Year.

Peter was the founding editor of Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine on which he worked for five years from 1997 to 2002. He has been a contributor since. His 34 books include The Global Encyclopedia of Wine (Harper Collins) which was published in the Australia, the USA, Canada, and New Zealand; eleven editions of Quaff (Hardie Grant and New Holland), Discover Australia: Wineries (Random House); Margaret River (with Ray Jordan and Frances Andrijich) Fremantle Arts Centre Press) and A Taste of the Margaret River; (Ocean Glimpses).
Peter Forrestal has been wine columnist for the Sunday Times, West Australian, Perth Weekly and Homes and Living; food and wine editor of the Western Review; Western Australian correspondent for Gourmet Traveller; and a long-time contributor to its annual Restaurant Guide. He has been a regular commentator on wine on radio, for many years enjoying a monthly spot on ABC Statewide in New South Wales.

Peter Forrestal has been a judge of several of Australia’s most important wine awards since their inception. He has been chairman of judges of the Gourmet Traveller Wine Winemaker of the Year Awards since 1998; chairman of judges of Australia’s Wine List of the Year since 2008; a judge of the Tucker Seabrook Australia’s Wine List of the Year (1994 – 2004) and the Negociants Working with Wine Fellowship (1998 – 2014), as well as the judge of its Wine Writing Prize (1998 – 2014). He has judged international, national and regional wine and food competitions. These have included the Sheraton Brisbane/Courier-Mail Queensland Wine Awards (Chief Judge 2003); the Sydney International Top 100 (2002 – 04, 2008, 2011); and the Australian Regional Culinary Competition at Tasting Australia (2001) as well as 25 regional wine shows. He was a member of the Gourmet Traveller Wine tasting panel from 1997 to 2014 and an occasional judge since then.
Prior to working as a full-time freelance wine and food writer, he had a successful career in English teaching and educational publishing. His seventeen reference books have been published at home and abroad. He also presented workshops throughout Autralia as well as in New Zealand, Britain, Canada and the USA. His best-selling reference book, Look it Up!, now in its sixth edition, has been in print for 30 years.

Over the past twenty years, Peter Forrestal has become familiar with virtually all of the wine regions of Australia. As well as this, he has toured extensively overseas visiting vineyards and wineries in many parts of world.


  • The Margaret River region of Australia’s south-west is internationally renowned for its award-winning wines. There are now more than 200 wineries, predominantly boutique style, in the region, producing more than 20% of Australia’s premium wine market. The Way It Was tells the story of the  early days of the region’s wine industry, from the first plantings by Dr Tom Cullity in 1967 through an informative text and many illustrations.

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