Image 1 Image 2 Image 3 Image 4


Sheep. Then wine

Well before the McLaughlin family were renowned for producing award winning wines, the McLaughlin’s of the last 4 generations , where even more famous for producing award winning sheep.

Since the 1880’s the McLaughlin’s have been one of the pioneering families in the region farming Australian Merino sheep on their historic farm ‘Merryanbone Station’, near the old town of Canonbah in Central NSW. And even today the family continues to run approximately 10,000 sheep in the old tradition, with much of the herding still done on horse back.

Over the years John and Elaine McLaughlin together with daughter Xanthe and son Shane have worked to continue the tradition of the stud founded by John’s father James Andrew McLaughlin in 1925.  With many stud awards over the years. In 2008 at the Bourke show, John was  honoured with a lifetime achievement award for his service to the Merino industry.

Daughter Xanthe and her husband Laidley White live locally, with Xanthe working on a land regeneration environmental project.

It was son Shane McLaughlin, who in the 1990’s discovered that the soil and climate were ideal for grapes. So the pioneering spirit of the McLaughlin’s was again roused and they planted a vineyard which began a new wine region in the area.

Today Shane and his wife Tessa manage Canonbah Bridge Wines; marketing and distributing to eight countries around the world, as well as a thirsty domestic market. The flagship Drought Reserve Shiraz has been singled out as being one of the top wines exported from Australia, by being nominated for the George Mackey trophy.

The family have trademarked the name “Drought Reserve”.  The credit for the label that has gained a passionate following – goes to Elaine.  No doubt she was inspired by the drought scene that faced her every time she looked out of the window searching the sky for rain.