Peter Forrestal to publish book on the history of the Margaret River

Circle member, Peter Forrestal, is set to publish The Way it Was in November – a book on the history of the early days of the Margaret River wine industry. It is to be published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the planting of the first vines in the region. Peter Forrestal and Ray Jordan are two of Western Australia’s most high profile wine writers and have been close observers of the Margaret River industry for many years.

They believe that, in many ways, the book is shaped by two comments. Sue Juniper believed that misconceptions of what happened needed to be corrected, otherwise ‘the facts will be lost to history.’ Tom Cullity believed that ‘no one who wasn’t there will ever understand what it was like in the early days.’ The authors have worked to make sure that that is not so.

At its heart are the stories of the pioneering vignerons and the wineries they established; dealing with those who had planted vines by 1973. In the earlier chapters, this detailed history looks at the events leading up to the planting of the first vines. While it is about wine and the wine industry, the authors see it predominately as a book about people and place. It reverberates with the pioneers stories about their joys and heartbreaks, their ingenuity and their perseverance in establishing a new industry in an impoverished farming area.

The paucity of factual documented information has meant that myths have been perpetuated over Margaret River’s 50-year history, but this book looks to set the record straight.


The Way it Was by Peter Forrestal & Ray Jordan, Margaret River Press, 2017.