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Maurice O'Shea

1897 – 1956

Maurice O'Shea (1897-1956) is remembered as a key figure in the formation of the modern Australian wine industry. During WW1 he studied winemaking in France, returning to Australia in 1921 to work on his family's property in NSW's Hunter Valley. The O'Sheas had recently bought the Old Hill Vineyard at Pokolbin, originally planted by the King family in the early 1900s. Maurice O'Shea renamed the vineyard Mount Pleasant, and - in an age when most Australian winemakers pursued the humble goal of producing bases for fortification as sherry or port - forged a reputation as a maker of distinctive and high-quality table wines. Although the O'Shea estate was acquired by the McWilliam family in 1941, Maurice was retained as the firm's Chief Winemaker, and would hold the position until his death. Today the Maurice O'Shea Award - Australia's most prestigious wine prize - is awarded biennially for outstanding achievement in Australian winemaking.

Updated 2018