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
William (Willy) Lunn
With well over three decades of cool climate winemaking experience, Willy Lunn overseeing Yering Station’s winemaking.
Growing up in country South Australia, Willy always had a great affinity with the land, leading him to develop a passion for regionality and making wines that are always the truest expression of place.
Willy left high school and went straight into the field of winemaking, working at Petaluma, under the watchful eye of Brian Croser. Beginning as a cellar hand, he rapidly progressed to a senior winemaking position. It is at Petaluma where he forged his “no compromise for quality” philosophy that continues to guide him today. Willy then went on to spend two years as a winemaker at Shaw and Smith winery in the Adelaide hills where he produced award winning Chardonnay, Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc.
A love of travel later brought Willy to Argyle winery in the Willamette Valley (Oregon, US.) in 1988 where he joined friend and mentor, Rollin Soles. Together they started making cool climate sparkling wines that were later destined for the White house. It was at Argyle that Willy discovered his passion for producing cool climate and premium wines.
The addition of Willy to the Yering team has been an inspiring one and marks a new and exciting chapter for the winery. His commitment to encouraging a strong spirit throughout the workplace allows his passionate young team at Yering Station to thrive. Willy has a list of accolades to his name and is committed to experimental and progressive winemaking, setting the bar high for winemakers alike.
James’ interest in wine stemmed from his grandfather’s heavy involvement in the Pyrenees wine region in Western Victoria. After James graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Winemaking degree, his focus was cast onto learning how to make Pinot Noir, leading him to work harvests in Mornington Peninsula, Geelong, Oregon, Burgundy and Germany. After travelling for a few years, the lure of a full-time winemaking position steered him to the Coonawarra region where he predominately made Cabernet Sauvignon. After a year and a half, James realised his passion just wasn’t in Cabernet so he decided to travel overseas again, living and working at a wine bar in Copenhagen for a year. Returning to Australia, James’ plan was to work the 2017 harvest at Yering Station and then re-assess his options, but he fell in love with the Yarra Valley and decided to stay.
James quickly assumed the role of Assistant Winemaker at Yering, given his attention to detail, commitment and razor-sharp palate. Working closely with the Winemaking team from the get-go, James has gained an abundance of experience and exposure over the last two years. Recently promoted to Winemaker, James now oversees Yering Station wine quality and daily winery operations, alongside Chief Winemaker, Willy Lunn.
Assistant Winemaker & Cellar Manager
One of the longest-serving employees at Yering Station, Garry joined our team in 2006. Affectionately referred to as the ‘backbone of our cellar’, Garry’s commitment and dedication has always been unwavering. Originally employed in the bottling line, Garry progressed by taking on the role of managing our cellar. In this time, Garry has been instrumental in contributing to the increase of quality and maintaining a collaborative and energetic team spirit. Now promoted to Assistant Winemaker & Cellar Manager, we look forward to seeing Garry thrive.