Moss Wood History - 1979

When Keith started at Moss Wood for the 1979 vintage, it was an exciting time in the Margaret River region. Although the wine industry was tiny and very much in its infancy, armed with the scientific backing of Dr. John Gladstones, the new vignerons were filled with optimism about the future. The sky was the limit as far as wine style and quality were concerned and the new producers had a blank canvas upon which to work. Of course, there were many wines from around the world that were seen as benchmarks but the youth of the local industry meant the boundaries were not limited by any historical bias.This fertile environment fostered numerous discussions with the then owners, Bill and Sandra Pannell, about what style they should pursue for their fledgling wines. It was not uncommon for these to progress outside Moss Wood and there were many robust debates with the other new growers.
The wine styles we now know as typical Margaret River were forged in part by the splendidly argued cases (with thanks to Sir Humphrey Appleby) presented by our neighbours Tom Cullity, David Gregg, and Kevin and Di Cullen among many others. Each producer sought to make a wine of significant quality that could make its way on the world stage and at the same time would be an expression of their vineyards and the region.

Keith Mugford appointed winemaker

In 1979 Keith arrived fresh from graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Viticulture & Oenology from Roseworthy College, having done vintages at Tullochs and Orlando.

"I was born in Adelaide in 1958. Arguably one of the worst vintages ever, all around the world, so what does one buy to celebrate it? In the end Vintage port is about the only reliable thing! In 1960 my father moved to McLaren Vale to join the medical practice and so I grew up and went to school there.

My association with the wine industry is something along these lines. At McLaren Vale Primary School, the majority of the children had parents who worked in the industry, at all levels. It was something quite normal for people in the region to look forward to a career in wine or vines. I didn’t have a great interest until after I finished school and the attraction was that people, who were family friends and worked with vines or wine, seemed to lead very interesting lives. They were quite cosmopolitan and many of them traveled widely and it all seemed pretty exciting to me!"

Keith Mugford in 1981
Keith Mugford in 1981