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About Us

A little bit about us

Gareth & Rainbo Belton - Owners, Growers and Winemakers

Prior to winegrowing, we were both marine scientists, specialising in phycology (the study of marine plants). In our PhD studies (at different universities), we studied the biodiversity of different seaweed groups and how they are related. It was super fun and the discovery and naming of new species a big highlight, as well as the top notch collaborators we each worked with. A love of wine, food and growing things eventually drew us away from academic life. The Gentle Folk story began in 2012 after spending a lot of our free time in Basket Range helping and hanging out with James Erskine (Jauma), Alex Schulkin (The Other Right) and other early pioneers of the Basket Range wine movement. Our winemaking journey started with just three barrels of wine in 2013 from the Broderick's Basket Range Vineyard, and a dream. Over the years we have been lucky enough to travel parts of the world learning about winemaking and growing, have acquired a lot more vineyard area as well as built relationships with some amazing growers in the Adelaide Hills. We currently produce between six and seven thousand cases annually, employ five lovely humans and farm eight hectares of vines. A kid (Leonard) appeared somewhere in the middle! We hope you have an opportunity to try and enjoy our wines no matter where on earth you find yourself.

 

James Ellis - Assistant Winemaker

James grew up in the Barossa Valley in South Australia and cut his teeth as a vineyard contractor after finishing school in 2007. After a vintage position spent in the winery at Penfolds in 2008, James decided he'd found his calling and enrolled in full time study at the University of Adelaide, in 2009. Since completing his winemaking and viticulture degrees in 2012, James has worked in both vineyards and wineries around the Barossa Valley, Hunter Valley, Clare Valley, Riverland and most recently with us in the cool climate Adelaide Hills. James joined the Gentle Folk crew as assistant winemaker and vineyard manager in 2019, and has made our lives a hell of a lot easier!

 

Dr. Dylan Grigg - Viticultural consultant

Dylan also grew up surrounded by vines in the Barossa Valley but he never took notice until leaving his chef apprenticeship to prune in a winter of the late 90s. This first job among old vines at the now well regarded hillside vineyard in Lyndoch, was the beginning and the end. From here, Dylan worked in the Barossa Valley and then the Adelaide Hills where cool climate viticulture was practiced. He had too many questions so he went to university to get a bachelor's degree in viticulture at the University of Adelaide. Working in the lab while studying, he later finished university and moved to New Zealand for a harvest and pruning season. After the stint in New Zealand, Dylan set up in Melbourne, Australia, where he worked in the Yarra Valley and several other wine regions including as viticulturist for Mac Forbes wines, plus consulting part time. This afforded the luxury of travel and experience and he completed a vintage in Burgundy. Returning to Adelaide in 2014, to live in the Adelaide Hills, he completed a PhD in viticulture, studying old vines. Between 2016 and 2020, Dylan began consulting in Spain and lived there with his family, returning just in time - he now works exclusively with a small group of high quality winemakers in Spain and Australia while managing his own old vineyard in the Barossa Valley.

 

Alex Harris (Folk & Poke) - Label Design

~ Musician, designer & handpoke tattoo artist

In his own words: "I enjoy the natural process of illustration and design. Connecting with nature, with people and the collective manifestation that is creation. I live in a humble community in the Adelaide Hills where I breathe the air of forests, listen to birdsong and immerse in the seasons as they ebb and flow".

email - alex@thefestival.com.au
Instagram - @folkandpoke