CEO. WINEMAKER, RATHBONE WINE GROUP
Dividing his time between Yering Station, Mount Langi Ghiran and Xanadu Wines, Darren is the CEO and Winemaker, involved in the day to day running of the Rathbone Wine Group.
After graduating from Chemical Engineering at Melbourne University in 1995, Darren started work in the wine industry, planting the Laura Barnes vineyard in the Yarra Valley. The Rathbone family purchased Yering Station in 1996 and Darren began planning the new winery and tourism complex.
In this time, Darren travelled to Champagne Devaux and spent time working with Devaux’s head winemaker Claude Thibaut. Here he acquired knowledge of the traditional Champagne making method and determined the design of equipment for producing ‘Yarrabank’, the joint venture with Devaux at Yering Station. Yering Station’s first vintage in the new winery in 1997 was Darren’s first winemaking experience in Australia.
In 2001, Darren received his Masters of Food and Science from the internationally recognised wine school UC Davis in California. After finishing the Masters program, Darren travelled to Burgundy, working at Domain Moreau in Chassagne Montrachet, in the Cote de Beaune and assisting in the production of the 2001 vintage.
Darren returned to Australia and Yering Station in December of 2001. In 2002, he and his father Doug developed the strategy of developing a portfolio of high quality complementary wineries, which would become The Rathbone Wine Group. The first opportunity that was acted on was Mount Langi Ghiran in 2002 and then Xanadu in 2005. Darren played an active role in assessing and implementing the acquisitions, integrating each new winery into the group, and setting the direction and quality focus in the vineyard, winery and market.
In 2010, Darren was accepted into the Masters of Business Administration program at Melbourne Business School, and completed his MBA in 2011.
Darren continues to play an active role in all aspect of the business in the Rathbone Wine Group
Originally from Northland in New Zealand, Glenn first visited Australia on a surfing holiday in 1989. It was during this trip that he began his involvement in the wine industry, working in the vineyard at Cassegrain Wines in Port Macquarie, New South Wales. A vintage at Domaine La Grave in Bordeaux the following year (1990) cemented Glenn’s passion for wine and he was encouraged to take up winemaking studies at a tertiary level. Over a span of nine years at Cassegrain, Glenn worked his way from the vineyards to the cellar, before eventually earning the position of Winemaker. During this time Glenn completed a winemaking degree (Bachelor of Agricultural Science, Oenology) at the University of Adelaide (Roseworthy), and gained valuable experience overseas including vintages in South Africa (1992, 1998) at Glen Carlou Vineyards, in New Zealand (1996) at Esk Valley in Hawkes Bay, and at Mac Rostie Wines in California, USA (1997).
After a short stint in South Africa, Glenn returned to Australia to settle in the Margaret River region working in the vineyard at Ashbrook Estate before assisting in establishing Margaret River’s first contract winemaking facility at Harmans Ridge. Glenn eventually found his niche as a winemaker at Xanadu Wines, joining the team in late 1999. Several months after the Rathbone Family purchased the winery, Glenn took on the role of Senior Winemaker at Xanadu and he has been at the helm since the 2006 vintage.
Glenn has an intuitive approach to winemaking, and a deep respect for the vineyard where he believes true quality begins. He recognises that it takes more than one person to make the wines, and is proud to lead a great team who share his focus in both the vineyard and the winery.
In 2013 Glenn was a finalist in the Gourmet Traveller WINE Winemaker of the Year Awards, and was named Winemaker of the Year in the 2015 West Australian Wine guide.
Hailing from the South-West of WA, Brendan has always held Margaret River close to his heart. Coming from the country, and having a passion of surfing, for Brendan living and working in the Margaret River region was a natural decision. Yet, he soon realised that his less than impressive surfing skills of the famous barrels of Margaret River wouldn’t suffice as a career path alone, so he decided to turn his attention to barrels of wine instead.
Whilst studying at the Curtin University at Margaret River, Brendan gained invaluable experience working for local wineries Forester Estate and Deep Woods. However, it wasn’t long before Brendan wanted to spread his wings. He didn’t even wait to finish his course, completing an exchange program with Lincoln University in Canterbury on New Zealand’s south island. With a new outlook on study, coupled with a vintage making Pinot Noir and Riesling at a local winery, his passion to travel was fuelled further abroad into the world of wine.
And so his path as a travelling winemaker was forged. Vintages at Chateau Guiot in the Southern Rhone Valley, Church and State in Canada’s Okanagan Valley, Polkura in the Colchagua Valley, Chile and Kreinbacher in the Somlo wine region of Hungary have been instrumental in gaining experience into the different winemaking and viticulture techniques from both the old and new world.
In amongst this travel, Brendan worked at Xanadu in 2010 as a vintage cellar-hand. He was lured back by the lifestyle and wine to join the Xanadu winemaking team full time before the vintage of 2012. Now over three years down the track he couldn’t be happier to be a part of a great team, helping make great wines, in one of the greatest little corners of the world.