The People


Kevin McKay

Winemaker, Vigneron, Owner

After attending Muresk Agricultural College, Kevin chased the good life and came south with surfboard under arm.

Realising the potential of the region as a producer of premium wines, he set about developing 70 acres of vines at the family’s Abbey Vale property in 1986.

Having conquered this challenge, Kevin sought further fruit by developing 100 acres via contract growers. The wood for the grower’s vines was taken from the Abbey Vale property and planted under Kevin’s guidance.

Sensing the need to value-add, Kevin soon realised the importance of being able to make wine. He turned his attention to winemaking.

To strengthen Kevin’s winemaking he engaged the services of consultant winemaker Dorham Mann, previously from Sandalford and Houghton, in the early nineties. Dorham has been Kevin’s mentor ever since.

Kevin was winemaker and vigneron at Abbey Vale until the family sold in February 2001.

Next Kevin turned his attention to making super premium and iconic wines under the Forester Estate label, and for a select few producers in the Margaret River region.

“My aim is not to get too big, but to focus my attention to detail and build complexity into my wines from the ground up.”

He continually maintains the emphasis on production, from grape to bottle, as a consistent super premium product.

"We want our wines to consistently reflect the premium fruit grown in the Margaret River region.”

Todd Payne


“I really enjoy making wines from the Margaret River region. Forester wines have been going from strength to strength and I am very happy to be a part of the team to help this continue”

Starting out his working career completing an apprenticeship in Refrigeration and Air-conditioning, Todd soon realised that this was not the career for him, and with a passion for wine growing stronger, he took his hard earned money and left for a working holiday through Europe.

Returning from his trip with an ever increasing love of wine, Todd was led to study a Bachelor of Science in Viticulture and Oenology at Curtin University.

Armed with his new qualifications, he completed a couple of vintages in the Great Southern and Napa Valley (US) before taking on the Assistant Winemaker position at Plantagenet Wines in Mt Barker at the end of 2003, working his way up to Winemaker over the course of 3 years.

In January 2007 Todd moved with his wife to New Zealand to take on the role of Winemaker at Esk Valley Estate in Hawke’s Bay.

Being part of the Villa Maria group meant that he was able to work with ultra-premium fruit from the famous Gimblett Gravels region of Hawke’s Bay, as well as travel to Marlborough and Auckland to taste and blend all the major varieties from New Zealand’s wine growing areas (and yes, lots of Sauvignon Blanc!!).

He also managed to squeeze in two French vintages in the Northern Rhone working for Domaine du Monteillet in 2006 and Yves Cuilleron in 2008.

Todd has been chief winemaker at Forester Estate since 2010 and is delighted to now be raising his family at home in WA. He is an integral part of the Forester Estate team and his passion for winemaking is evident in the finished product.


Jenny McKay

Owner, Administration