It goes without saying there’d be no project without people… and we’ve a brilliant assemblage of talent and personalities to draw upon daily to keep us moving forward.
This will always be a moving target as we set out to be an incubator, evolution even attrition is encouraged, as is lifelong friendships and ongoing collaborations. I’m in the chair and whilst I’d be the first to acknowledge that encouraging and embracing creativity on a daily basis is far from a stroll in the park, time is definitely in your corner and luckily for me I’m old enough to have racked up enough of it to pull this together.
Steve Grimley is writing this and being the humble guy I am I wont say much other than to quote my mate Twiggy during a counselling session of sparkling ale long necks ‘well it’s not as if you were ever Trevor from the ANZ bank….’
Sam Dunlevy got a late call up for the 2011 Harvest as everything started to turn pear shaped in the vineyards. At the time it was Hoops, Jess and myself in the cellar and his particular fondness for a cold beer of pretty much any type ensured he slotted straight in and 7 years later he pretty much runs the show. Starting his career (not so coincidently under Kochy) as a 17 year old at Rosemount, Sam completed his Oenology degree in ’03 before travelling extensively, making wine in NZ, Canada and numerous regions within Spain. Super good natured he has a penchant for stinky, cloudy white wines and wafer thin Rosés… at least he did this week.
Jess HardyKikoy Farm
Jess Hardy still works here. Her current reincarnation is managing our food farm Kikoy, which in fairness is an awesome project that, with Annie and Gabi, is putting major smiles on everyone around the place. Since her first Harvest in 2010 she’s been at the forefront of almost every ludicrous tale to come out of here, broken or lost more phones than everyone else combined and resigned and re emerged at least half a dozen times. In between it all she’s made some cracking wines and even a little cherub…
Will say yes to a Sherry at any time of the day and now she’s a mum reckons a Friday night on the couch with a permaculture book and a bottle of fizz is about as good as it gets… which no one who’s worked with her can get their head around. Probably should have taken the job at Shaw & Smith.
Gabi Flohr is a shit hot breadmaker, which makes her pretty cool to everyone around here. A recent addition to our team she’s taken to the wood oven with panache punching out everything from croissants to pork pies, lifting the bar skyward for not only the pub and shop but equally our Friday arvo lunches at the winery. A farm girl from Lameroo in the Mallee, she hit the big smoke to train as a Pastry Chef at Mulots before ending up as a breadmaker at Wildloaf. A bona fide ‘foodie’, her journey thus far also has her learning Cheesemaking in Tasmania, Harvesting Honey in S.A and developing Sourdough cultures in Canberra. Drank two pints of sparkling ale during her job interview so I didn’t even check her references, which is probably lucky as she talks up her time as a Shearer, which unless they’re those babydoll sheep they have at kids parties I cannot picture for the life of me…
Kate Petering sits next to me. Primarily because she told me early on that ‘Dogs are the best people’ but also because she pretty much single handedly ensures we don’t lose the vast majority of the wine made here by her being a Galácticos of Ezywine. She’s also a particularly good winemaker having worked in some seriously nice cellars throughout France, Italy and the USA before a stint in Victoria and here since ’15. Cheers us all up weekly with her spritely ‘invites’ to taste the recent bottlings, also loves her ex Military Land Rover, cheese, strolls along the beach and thinks Peanut M&M’s are the apex… not so fond of Fiano.
Matt Koch ‘brings a wealth of knowledge to McLaren Vale Winemakers’…
in his words. I was going to write that MK is the only one here older than me and then roll into something about my first memory of him being the lack of recollection I have for a night at the top pub when he well and truly stitched me up on his beloved Black Rats… An established A – Lister he’s won more Trophies than he can count during his 25 years making wine including 2 Bushing Kings and the purple gowns that come with them, a Jimmy Watson, and a finalist in the Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year. He’s just kicked off his own label MJK with a Malbec and much to KP’s delight a Fiano... smashes a bowl of lollies like a 7 year old and not too many days pass without him bringing up his idea of a ‘high alc, sweet red for the US market’, which whilst we ignore him, no one doubts would make him uber successful if he chose to pursue it.
Lucas Armstrong is the newest member of our winemaking team, and after twelve Harvests at MVW, the first to roll out a man bun (although in fairness who’s to have known what ‘Hoops got up to). Driving to the ‘Vale daily from his pad behind the shop in his ex Military Land Rover looking like Jesus has come to take up the fight, he’s come our way via the Hunter and a fulltime Oenology degree which he’s rolled to part time to ‘learn a lot more working with such an experienced and diverse winemaking team (Steve, Matt, Sam, Kate, Jess)’… his words not mine and I assume he hasn’t ranked us by age. Front end of the curve in the lab also is Lucas.
Luke BoddeyFurniture Maker
Luke Boddey has the best boobs we’ve ever seen… and now the best intro to his bio.
‘Guns’ is the quintessential right hand man, Zimmer broke him in for us, we just gave him good paddock and let him run… and a slight pay rise from $7.20 an hr. For a guy with god knows how many naked women on his arms he’s surprisingly handsome in a hipster sort of way, madly good with a welder and with skin as thick as a komodo he’s our resident go to man. If he had a $ for every time I’ve said ‘got a 10 minute job for you guns’ he’d be on a boat in the Bahamas by now, although knowing him he’d still turn up on the weekend to tinker away on whatever’s on the go in the workshop. Still not convinced he likes getting up in the morning, but either way you’d never know.
Miao WangFurniture Maker
Miao Wang is so smart it's scary, the fact we can only understand every second word he says only reinforces this. I just googled him as I couldn’t remember if his degree was in Visual Arts or Computer Animation, no doubt he’s embarrassingly good at both, and found he shares his name with a famous female documentary maker… again if it wasn’t for every second word going missing in our daily conversations we’d have the foundations for a ripper joke in this. Finished his associate position at the Jam Factory where he befriended Welly Ash who at the time was working on the 5OS Project lights, I got a call ‘I’ve found the perfect guy to turn all that timber of yours into furniture’, I had a beer he had a green tea and the rest is history. Great man, immense talent and so humble it's a day well spent just watching.
Anna ReevesKikoy Farm
Anna Reeves is… one of a kind. In amongst being a mum to 3 boys, living much of the year in Bali and servicing her online shopping addiction she has managed to keep our business pretty much on the straight and narrow since day one. Incredibly talented, her empathy and pride for everything and everyone around here provides the foundations for pretty much everything we do. After finishing her Landscape Architecture degree she travelled extensively before being charmed by me one night in Vintners and the rest is history. Fresh from completing a Permaculture Course at the Green School she’s now headlining our food growing aspirations at Kikoy. Loves nothing more than a green apple and a book, she’s the only member of our team that feels the influence of the first mouthful of wine and believes you can never have too many cushions…
Laura KillickGraphic Designer
Laura Killick has the hardest job here… other than doing all the creative for our businesses she’s the one responsible for channeling my ‘creative direction’, filtering the daily contradictions that inevitably come out of my mouth and most importantly smiling through it the vast majority of the time. Custodian of a ripper CV littered with design jobs in flash agencies in the UK and here, she joined us in 2016 just in time for our Christmas Show where she put in a BOG performance on Alex’s CR70 before siding up with Craig and Daryl Braithwaite, dropping the F Bomb 9 times in the minute post a rendition of ‘Horses’. Slightly subdued since, we’re confident we again have her travelling in the right direction hopefully rediscovering her early form and unleashing her A game, this said the hourly requests for ‘content’ may not be the brightest of career moves….
Cameron MalcolmFurniture Maker
Cameron Malcolm is quite possibly the most patient person in our team, even more so than LK. A particularly talented cabinet maker, he spends his days deflecting the ideas of his 2 left hands boss and his complete disregard for the time it takes to make stuff, all the while crafting some of the nicest furniture you’re likely to come across. Prone to run out of wood like a teenager looks for a sock, he spends his weekend hand making guitars and only god knows what else. We forget to tell them lunch is ready, bugger up almost all our measurements, rev them up about finishing jobs then load them up with more mid flight, park the motorbikes and ATVs in the workshop just to name a few and we’re still yet to get anything but a polite nod. Another great lad with a brilliant set of hands doing a ripper job.