Ewen Fergusson McBain was educated at Roseworthy Agricultural College where he spent six and a half years, winning the Roseworthy gold medal (Dux of his year). Upon graduation he undertook work with various government agricultural experimental stations and became assistant government viticulturalist and superintendent of experimental blocks in the South East and after two years was appointed assistant to Professor Perkins of Roseworthy College.
Professor Perkins had been advising John Riddoch on the establishment of the Yallum Fruit Colony and recommended McBain to Riddoch who selected him as his first winemaker for the Riddoch cellars.
In 1898 he took up the position as manager of Yallum Park Fruit Colony where the sixty acres of vines received his skillful attention and he commenced making wine in the partially completed cellars of John Riddoch winery (now known as Wynns Coonawarra Estate). During his time as manager he oversaw the completion of the cellars and the installation of a pot still to make brandy, as well as the training of young Bill Redman, who took over winemaking in 1908. Ewen Fergusson McBain was said to have been meticulous and insisted on absolute cleanliness in the winery.
He remained at the fruit colony and winery manager until circa 1907. He owned several blocks and a large holding of land at Comaum and he remained in the region until 1922 until ill health led him to move to Adelaide.
Ewen Fergusson McBain brought to Coonawarra the best science and up to date knowledge of the day for the establishment of this new region.