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.