Although the Lightfoot family have been growing grapes in Gippsland since the mid ‘90s, no wine was produced under the family name until around 2008. “The aim, when our parents first planted vines on our farm, was just to grow and sell fruit,” says Rob Lightfoot.

He and his brother Tom grew up helping their parents in the vineyard. Tom always knew that he wanted to make wine, and went on to study viticulture and winemaking and work vintages around the world. After a particularly inspiring vintage at Chehalem Winery in Portland, Oregon, Tom decided it was time to take over the family vineyard and make his own wine. This was in 2008; he still works as winemaker alongside Alastair Butt (ex-Seville Estate) today.

As for Rob, he wasn’t so sure about a career in wine, initially, but when he found himself in the marketing department at Brown Brothers, he figured he might as well head home and do the same sort of work for the family label. He joined Tom on their Gippsland Lakes property to head up sales and marketing in 2010.

“It’s fairly classic story for people living in the country,” says Rob. “You finish school and you leave as fast as you can and you think you’ll never come back, but then you kind of realize that it’s actually an amazing place to live.

“The Gippsland Lakes district is like 400 square kilometers of inland lakes that stretch along the coast, Bass Strait. We spent our whole childhood fanging around in tinnies and camping on the lakes, and you just kind of take that for granted.”

Today, Lightfoot & Sons make Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and a Pinot rosé. Tom and Alastair experiment with whole bunch and wild yeast ferments, and also the odd collaboration – they’ve made a Pinot beer and also a Chardonnay beer with Chris and Gab from Sailor’s Grave Brewing.

There is a cellar door onsite, so visitors can come for a wine tasting and a cheese and charcuterie plate made up of local Gippsland produce. It’s worth lingering – the views of the limestone bluff, vines and red soil are dramatically beautiful.

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Lightfoot & Sons
717 Calulu Road, Bairnsdale VIC 3875
(03) 5156 9205

Cellar Door Hours
Fri to Sun, 11am-5pm

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