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Rob Dolan has been making wine in the Yarra Valley for over 20 years. He has an outstanding winemaking record and has played a pivotal role in the evolution of the Yarra Valley.
Rob’s first experience in the Yarra Valley was as senior Winemaker at Yarra Ridge Winery, one of the success stories of the 90’s and the benchmark Chardonnay and Pinot Noir of its time. During this time Rob managed the entire Victorian Winemaking operation for Mildara Blass (Fosters).
Rob went on to build two more contract winemaking ventures and in doing so launched two highly successful Yarra Valley brands – Sticks and Punt Road. (“Sticks” being Rob’s nickname as a premiership ruckman with Port Adelaide Football Club… don’t hold that against him!)
In 2011 Rob purchased the former Hardy’s Yarra Burn winery and launched the Rob Dolan range of wines.
Rob is a well known Yarra Valley identity (he’s hard to miss) and arguably one of the most experienced Winemakers in the region.
Like most Arts students, Mark drank a lot of wine. It wasn’t long until he developed a curiosity about how it was made.
After a barrage of phone calls and much pleading, Rob Dolan took a punt on the fresh-faced University Graduate and recruited him to work as a cellar hand in a brand new winery in the Strathbogie Ranges.
Nearly 15 years later, Mark has travelled full circle and has returned to work with Rob once again.
The intervening years have seen him take on various winemaking roles around the Yarra Valley, Bendigo and France.
In addition to winemaking and completing his qualification from Charles Sturt University, Mark has also found time to find a lovely wife, teach his young boys how to fish and run the odd marathon.
Like Rob, Mark likes to make wines that are fruit-driven, approachable, fresh and distinctly varietal.
Adrian grew up working in vineyards and wineries during his school holidays, so much so that he wanted nothing to do with the wine industry when he left school. After completing a Sports Management Degree at the University of Canberra, Adrian realised that his heart and skills belonged in winemaking.
After a European winemaking adventure in 2006 Adrian settled down in the Yarra Valley and gained further experience working for a number of reputable producers and developed a love for making ultra premium, textural and complex wines.
In late 2011 Adrian contacted Rob to ask him if he could lease some space at Rob’s newly acquired winery to make some wine under his own label. It unexpectedly resulted in Rob offering Adrian a role as winemaker as well!
Outside of wine Adrian enjoys spending time with his family and takes interest in anything remotely sports related.
After many years of studying Classical History and Literature at University, Tim decided to hang up his cardigan and take up a career in the wine industry.
His first vintage was in the Yarra Valley and he caught the winemaking bug. He enrolled in a winemaking degree at CSU and spent a number of years travelling Australia and overseas (Oregon and France) enjoying the carefree life of hemisphere hopping.
In 2006 Tim travelled to Coonawarra to undertake a vintage winemaking appointment but ended up staying for 7 years. He gained a comprehensive knowledge of the Terra Rossa soils working at Mildara, Wynns and Katnook. Meeting his wife, TJ, here may have had something to do with the long stay.
His career has now come full circle and he has returned to the Yarra Valley, where it all began. He has firmly planted himself in the Yarra Valley and is raising a family in Healesville. He has a young daughter, Harriet, another baby on the way and a faithful dog, Billie.
Tim aims to make the style of wine that he enjoys drinking, wine with varietal primary fruit characters, texture, complexity and balance.
After 7 years working as a Myotherapist in Melbourne’s Outer East, Peta decided to give her hands a well earned break and try something completely different.
Completing her first vintage at Rob Dolan Wines in 2014, Peta learned the ways of the lab with mentor Shaun Crinion.
Following a number of cameo appearances during the rest of the year Peta returned again for Vintage 2015 and has since taken on a more permanent role.
When not in the lab Peta continues to inflict pain on her patients one day a week and spends the rest of her time walking from suburb to suburb until she finally gets her drivers license.
After completing a Sports Management Degree from LaTrobe University in 2014, Rob’s eldest son Ben decided he would rather spend his days in a more hands on role.
With a good understanding of winemaking from helping out his Dad in the past, Ben undertook his first full time vintage in 2015 and has stuck around since.
His charismatic and energetic personality help make him the perfect fit to assist with sales and events outside of the busy vintage period – the gift of the gab certainly runs in the Dolan family!
Aside from wine Ben’s interests include spending time with his lovely partner Kristy, playing footy, synchronised swimming, ballet and he also fancies himself as a bit of a talented singer – particularly after a few wines.
After deferring his Project Management Degree at RMIT University in Melbourne in pursuit of a “gap year” our youngest team member Max joined us to complete the 2016 vintage and has been hanging around ever since.
He claims it is because he enjoys the mateship within the team and playing with all the wine dogs, but we can’t help but wonder if a love of winemaking is just in the Dolan blood!
Outside of his responsibilities at the winery, Rob’s youngest son enjoys what most young men enjoy – playing sport and hanging out with his mates.
Andrew and Rob can be considered “neighbours” living in a very unique area of the Yarra Valley. Andrew owns a small vineyard and makes tiny amounts of wine each vintage for his personal consumption.
His former “day job” was as Manager of a high profile electrical company for over 20 years, however the opportunity to explore his passion for wine was offered by Rob back when he first developed his new winery. Andrew took up the challenge and is now a valued member of the team when not sailing his boat in Port Douglas or walking his four dogs in the Christmas Hills.
Giving her Real Estate career the flick after eight years of hard work wasn’t easy, but Kate found her true calling when she moved from Melbourne to Coonawarra for a country change, landing a dream role in Sales & Events for a well known Winery.
A move back to Melbourne was always on the cards, but a return to property wasn’t. The timing was perfect when Rob offered Kate a role at his successful Warrandyte based Winery.
As a student of viticulture, Courtney began her career in the wine industry whilst visiting Rob at the original Sticks vineyard to study the trellis systems. This led to Courtney obtaining her first position in the Sticks cellar door over 10 years ago.
While working for Sticks, Courtney continued her studies by branching out into Environmental Science, all with the full support of Rob who allowed her to incorporate her studies into the winery and cellar door.
Over the years Courtney has worked in cellar doors throughout the Yarra Valley (with the odd bit of travel thrown in) and continues to work in the environmental industry. When she heard Rob was opening a brand new cellar door under the Rob Dolan label, she jumped at the chance to work with him again.
Merlo is the latest addition to our wine dog family. A fun loving chocolate lab, he sticks closely to his master Max Dolan whilst learning the ropes.
Some days he likes to lounge around in Grandpapa Rob’s office and other times he can’t wait to get out and sprint frantically around the winery or dive into the pond at The Farm Yarra Valley to cool off.
A professional at puppy dog eyes and everyone’s favourite little guy. Cute as a button and forgiven for being just a little bit naughty.
Hermes has spent his first year growing up at the winery with his adopted sister and wrestling mate Molly.
Named after the Greek god, his obsession with thieving bungs and sticks (and whatever else Molly has) as well as his love of running around all day would make his namesake proud.
As reigning wrestling champion of the winery, Hermes is constantly honing his skills with the foster dogs that come to stay with him.
He can regularly be found in meditative sheep watching vigils when the demonic sounds of Molly have gotten too much for him.
Billie is the winery part timer, coming in three days a week. With two young children at home she loves coming in and escaping the prods, pokes and eye gouges.
She is full of pure excitement from the moment she arrives at the winery with a constantly wagging tail. She can be seen shadowing her owner Tim and orbiting around him all day.
She loves hanging out with Molly and Hermes although being 6 years old she likes to stay aloof from the wrestling bouts and, like the rest of us, stands back and watches the entertainment. Stealing Molly’s ball is a big no-no… but she just can’t help herself.
If we compared Billie to a wine she would be full bodied with a powerful aroma.
Not many people know that a commercial chicken farm named Fantasy Farms once existed at this site before it was converted to a winery. In homage to their ancestors, we continue the tradition of poultry farming albeit it in a far more humane, “free-range” setting. Our chooks not only mow the grass but also provide valuable eggs for red wine fining.
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