Edward McDonald, the pioneer winemaker who nurtured a dream of making wine since age 12

Edward Mac McDonald/Photo credit: @EdibleSF via Twitter

It only took a sip of Burgundy for Edward “Mac” McDonald to determine the direction of his career path. The wine was a gift to his grandfather from one of his old hunting friends. Mac, as he is affectionately called, made an attempt to open the bottle with a stick and a knife, and when he succeeded, the amazing taste in his mouth after a sip, changed the trajectory of his future forever. Though he was only 12, it was clear in his mind that he wanted to make wines for a living.

Since it was one thing to have a dream, and another thing to turn it into reality, Mac relocated to Oakland in 1962. There, he started familiarizing himself with the process of wine-making and interacting with industry players. One person who had a major influence on him was John Parducci of Parducci Wine Cellars. As much as he tried to get a job in one of the wineries in Samona county, his color became a barrier to getting employment.

He made an inroad in Napa when he met with Charlie Wagner, the founder of Caymus Vineyards. He dedicated the next 15 years of his life to learning and assisting the wine-making process at the vineyards. His fascination with the process enabled him to learn the ropes of making wine early, according to the wine spectator.

Mac however began putting his dream into action when he met his wife, Lil. They produced their first brand called Pinot Noir in 1996, but the taste did not meet his expectation, which nearly drove him to abandon the wine-making business. However, the Wagners decided to return the favor, and helped him to identify his first vineyard in the Chileno Valley of Marin County. At the age of 55, he produced his best-selling wine named Vintage in 1997, according to the wine spectator.

He worked hard to establish his winery and became the owner of Vision Cellars in California, and was determined to create high-quality wines that reflected his passion and commitment to the craft. Through his hard work and perseverance, Mac’s wines gained recognition and respect in the wine industry, and has since won several awards and accolades.

He has also been an inspiration to many aspiring black winemakers and continues to mentor and support them through his work. He believes that diversity in the wine industry is essential, and is committed to creating opportunities for people of color in the field.

Mac McDonald’s story is a testament to the power of perseverance and determination. He pursued his passion for winemaking despite facing obstacles and challenges along the way. His success is a testament to the fact that with hard work and dedication, anyone can achieve their dreams.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: April 14, 2023


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates