With more than three decades of winemaking and an AFL career – to his credit, Rob Dolan’s tale of wine is one of admiration. Together with Visit Victoria in Victoria, we speak to Rob Dolan, a gentle giant, on the significance of making sure that winemaking is available.
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Even in the top tier among Yarra Valley winemakers, Rob Dolan cuts an impressive silhouette – not just because he’s 6.5 inches tall. He is affluent and enthusiastic. Took a psychology course and played football in Port Adelaide before falling into winemaking in the early 1990s and soon becoming the executive director of winemaking at Yarra Ridge Winery.
Now, fast forward to the present day, and Dolan’s name is in the bottle. After leading the brand’s Sticks, which is a reference to his nickname from the footy era that his wife Jude continues to call the man – as well as Punt Road, Dolan founded Rob Dolan Wines in 2011. Having secured 100 acres of wetland located in Warrandyte South, formerly the site of Hardy’s Yarra Burn winery, Dolan established his name not only locally but also internationally and internationally.
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“You build up your reputation over a long time,” Says Dolan. “You don’t show up. It’s not something that happens within five minutes.” He says that of the more than 30 vineyards that he has drawn from to create Rob Dolan Wines, some of the relationships dating from 1991.
Other partnerships have proved equally productive. Gin distillery Four Pillars got its first operation from Dolan’s property. The space is just a half-hour away from Melbourne’s CBD and, therefore, halfway further from the center than other Yarra Valley wineries – he’s right in the ideal position to be the first stop for Melbourne visitors to the region.
As with other Yarra Valley producers, Dolan has a reputation for the pinot noir that is offered in four styles. There’s the easy and soft True Colours range, then the single-vineyard (or sometimes two-vineyard) center of the Black Label range, offering more “grippy” wines with notable tannin structure. This White Label range showcases the best vineyards and the smaller-batch Signature Series is what Dolan describes as “the best of the best.”
Dolan’s chardonnay has also been a success across all four different styles. However, the winemaker believes the best is cabernet in the present. He says it’s been a top-of-the-line in three of the past five vintages. This is confirmed by his win for best Cabernet/Cabernet Blends at the 2020 Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition. “That shows we can make it at the top level,” he adds. With a soft body and delicious blackcurrant notes, the wine is at a higher level of 13 percent, more than 16 percent, making it akin to Bordeaux.
Dolan is also a big believer in community and openness. His wine club in-house, Huddle Club (another footy reference), has two teams of twenty individuals visit the winery every year to make a bottle of wine by themselves, then receive the wine on time for Christmas. The winery also releases the Quarter Time newspaper, a quarterly publication. Quarter Time to keep up the community’s involvement. They also host tasting sessions, virtual tastings, and charitable events.
In the first phase of the restrictions and lockdowns imposed by Covid during the year 2020, Dolan’s winery shifted in the opposite direction. It employed more individuals with an educational orientation. The hiring of Meg Brodtmann – the first female Master of Wine in Australia as the director of education in the winery’s brand new multi-purpose “cube,” Dolan introduced classes as well as other forms of outreach that were designed to make wine accessible.
“That’s the key to our business,” the CEO states. “I want wine to be immediately accessible right through to the top end of the market.” Instead of giving wine-related masterclasses, He prefers to concentrate on “down-to-earth classes” that help to simplify the process of making and consuming wine. In the same vein, Rob Dolan Wines and Brodtmann marketing manager Mel Gilchrist started an extremely popular podcast to maintain the excitement.
With the brand’s expansion to Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, and Russia, Dolan is expanding its reach away from the Yarra Valley. The winery’s cellar doors are operating at a higher speed than ever before, providing guided tastings at tables as well as cheese-and-wine tastings that are a part of the cheeses made on-site at Stone and Crow. It’s all about sharing Dolan’s years of expertise with anyone who asks to come from a place that is full of joy and enthusiasm, not aloof knowledge.
“We’re trying to get everyone to understand wine and have fun with it,” the winemaker states. “That’s been extremely important. It’s a great feeling to grow with your employees as they’re feeling like a part of the company.”
Round archways, wallpaper-like extrapolations of artwork, and custom-designed designs in the ground. In collaboration with HSBC, We speak with NGV director Dr. Miranda Wallace about the physical tricks and artistic sleights of hand involved in creating an exhibition that feels like being transported to another dimension.
View of the installation of Pierre Bonnard: Designed by India Mahdavi, which will be on display from June 9 to October 8, 2023, in NGV International in Melbourne.
With dazzling lighting and color even in the midst of the grey Melbourne winter, The exhibition at the NGV’s Bonnard exhibit is a step forward in taking the French painter’s love of striking, vibrant colors to a new level. It’s not a coincidence, considering the way that designer India Mahdavi from Paris utilizes round archways and wallpaper-like extrapolations from painting to provide an engaging experience of viewing. Rooms were made to reflect certain artworks or periods of work by Bonnard, and even custom-designed designs that are on the floor mimic the images that you see at the top of the alls.
“It has this very intensely coloured interior,” says Dr. Miranda Wallace, the NGV’s chief curator of international exhibition projects. “It’s highly decorative in its display. Many have stated that everything’s heightened by the colors and emotions – and that they feel very happy as a result. Paintings are very evocative They take you to a place where you’re contemplating the natural aspects of light and hue.”
Bonnard The exhibition, which runs through September 8 and is part of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, was initially planned for 2020. The show is presented in conjunction with the Paris-based Musee D’Orsay, which held plans to loan several Bonnard artworks in the event of it being delayed for several years because of the outbreak of cholera. Together with Ted Gott, the NGV’s chief curator for art from around the world, along with Isabelle Cahn, then the chief curator of paintings in the Musee D’Orsay, Wallace ensured that the whole span of Bonnard’s life through the 1890s until the 1940s – was included. The collection provides an overview of his work, which concentrated on the interior and his beautiful garden at home, which was first seen in Normandy and later in south France.