ABOUT BURCH FAMILY
Burch Family Wines produce Howard Park, MadFish, and Marchand and Burch wines in addition to importing the French Champagne House – Franck Bonville.
MADFISH, THE SECOND LABEL…
On the far southern coast of Western Australia is a magical bay where two tides meet – MadFish Bay. The MadFish wine range was first released into the marketplace in 1992. The superb climate and ancient landscape of South West WA was (and still is) so condusive to the cultivation of healthy wine grapes with attractive and vibrant fruit flavours. Today the Burch Family continue to produce their iconic MadFish wines made with the same emphasis on enjoyment and drinkability.
The fresh and satisfying wines have always been about the simple pleasures of life: family, friends, food and wine. Contemporary in style, they are noted for their pure, fresh and clean characteristics in which the flavour of the fruit is the primary character.Over the years MadFish has gracefully evolved from just one single varietal, the MadFish Premium White to now offering a diverse range of fifteen varietals that have attracted a large and loyal following across Australia and the world. Noted as “providing unbeatable value” from James Halliday and “overdelivering on price” by Ray Jordan.
- 1992 MadFish first launched with the first release of MadFish Premium White
- 1993 Release of the first MadFish Premium Red
- 1996 MadFish Wines went international and a new label was created.
- 1997 – 2004 6 new varietals were released, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Cabernet Sauvignon Rose, Riesling and Carnelian.
- 2004 MadFish enters its first wine competition receiving three trophies and a Gold Medal including Best Wine of the Show at the 2004 Qantas Mount Barker Wine Show.
- 2005 Release of the first-ever MadFish Sparkling
- 2012 MadFish celebrates 20 years
- 2016 Launch of the new look MadFish label, reflecting the pure, fresh and clean style of wine.
MadFish Wines has always been community minded proudly sponsoring a number of community events over the years including:
- Margaret River Pro (2014, 2015, 2016)
- Surfaid in Margaret River
- Sunset Cinemas (2013 – 2017)
- Tropfest – held annually at the Margaret River Winery since 2006
- Melbourne Fringe Festival 2015
- Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2014
- Mellen Events (2015, 2016 and 2017)
- Emergence Creative in Margaret River
- MadFish Malibu Event Denmark | 1997-2017
Gourmet Traveller Wine 2018 Winemaker of Year
Janice McDonald grew up in West Wyalong, sheep country in rural New South Wales.
A keen interest in science drew her to university studies in Sydney, and it was during this period that her fascination with wine unfurled. Under the influence of her sister & brother-in-law, she began exploring the flourishing independent wine bottle shop scene of the city.
Every bottle of wine is a story. There’s an enormous amount behind it. The place where it comes from, who makes it. Aside from this is how you make it. I found it quite intriguing. Janice McDonald
What started as an interest soon gave direction to her scientific pursuits, and Janice began wine studies at the Riverina College in Wagga. Her first vintages cemented this passion and exposed her to the different regions and wine styles of Australia, including Margaret River.
Margaret River Cabernet was one of those wines in style & flavour that really appealed to me, and there was nothing else like it in the country…I basically got in my car and drove across the Nullarbor. Janice McDonald
After a stint as assistant winemaker at Vasse Felix in 1985, her acquaintance & contemporary, Phil Sexton, convinced her to take up a brewing position at Matilda Bay Brewing Co.
…the Americas cup came along & Matilda Brewing Company had the Sail & Anchor & the Norfolk (pubs) and we were just brewing all this beer for it, it was crazy…There’d be all sorts of people & nationalities. You’d do anything you could to hang out in Fremantle and watch it all. Janice McDonald
Five intense years later, after the sale of Matilda Bay, Phil Sexton founded Devil’s Lair winery and Janice jumped at the chance to immerse herself again in wine and make roots back in Margaret River. She worked as the Senior Winemaker there from 1992 – 2000.
In 2001, with her partner Stuart Pym, Janice founded Stella Bella, with its prestigious Serie Luminosa range.
The idea that you can grow the grapes, determine what you want to grow, make the wines you want, design the label, sell it all in market – one of the attractions of this industry is vertical integration. Creative aspects: hands on, science background. All of those things were very appealing to me. Janice McDonald
During this period she was named Red Winemaker of the year for 2010-2011 by Campbell Mattinson & Gary Walsh in The Big Red Wine Book.
In 2011 Janice made what she calls the “easy” decision to join Howard Park as Chief Winemaker.
The door opens & most people who walk into this place go ‘wow, it’s bigger than I thought it was”. Anyone I show around the place from a winemaking point of view go ‘wow’. It’s big and it’s complicated & there’s lots of wines, lots of layers. Janice McDonald
The thing which & has always been quite fun and it’s something not a lot of winemakers in this region get to experience is to be involved in making wine from the Great Southern and Margaret River, and it’s something I’d never really done before. Janice McDonald
When it all unfolded in front of me, that as a very exciting challenge. The Great Southern is still a frontier in a way because it is so less populated than Margaret River from a wine industry point of view. It doesn’t have the industry that we have, all the support systems. You have to go down there and forage for yourself. I have great respect for those who have have forged a winemaking path in that region. Janice McDonald
Going to the Great Southern is like when I first came to WA. It was very pioneering, in a way. People were independent, self-sufficient. It’s the same as Western Australia. It had to forge its own way because it’s a million miles from everywhere else. It makes people different. There’s a great self-sufficiency here that still exists. Janice McDonald
Aside from consistently outstanding accolades and scores for her wines, Janice always finds the intake of certain special parcels of fruit during vintage to be of great excitement & satisfaction.
In 2017 she took out ‘Best Australian Sparkling’ & ‘Best in Class – Australian NV Brut Blend’ at Tom Stevenson’s highly respected Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships in London, for the Howard Park NV Jeté Brut Blanc.
She credits Howard Park for allowing her to focus her love of wine.
The resources are here, and the support and the passion for wine. There’s the appreciation and recognition that this is what you are doing. Janice McDonald
The superb climate and rugged landscape of Western Australian wine regions’ Margaret River and the Great Southern are conducive to the vibrant fruit flavours that make up our MadFish wine range.
LEGEND AND LABEL
The ancient landscape & raw, wild coastline of South West WA has been the inspiration for MadFish wines. We chase the best possible locations for our vineyards in WA’s premier grape growing regions – Margaret River & the Great Southern. Both areas are known for their prehistoric soils, battered ocean cliffs, foaming surf & calm turquoise beaches.
The original label was also inspired by the region when Maxine Fumagalli, a talented local Noongar artist and poet, held an art exhibition featuring her artwork of the long neck water turtle. This was the beginning of the new MadFish Bay label. The traditional aboriginal water turtle design is a symbol of perseverance and tolerance – characteristics similar to the poor fish in MadFish Bay who are constantly under attack by predators.
The MadFish labels have playfully evolved over time with the latest iteration launched in 2016. Although the packaging has changed ever so slightly, the wine inside the bottle still retains its consistency, style and quality it is well known for.
We have had fun with this label producing the full varietal range of wines and also linking the Western Australian coastal lifestyle to the brand, producing surfboards, bikinis, beach towels and participating in local surf and community events.