Our People

Rob Dolan

Winemaker / Managing Director

Rob Dolan has been making wine in the Yarra Valley for over 20 years. He has an outstanding winemaking record and has played a pivotal role in the evolution of the Yarra Valley.

Rob’s first experience in the Yarra Valley was as senior Winemaker at Yarra Ridge Winery, one of the success stories of the 90’s and the benchmark Chardonnay and Pinot Noir of its time. During this time Rob managed the entire Victorian Winemaking operation for Mildara Blass (Fosters).

Rob went on to build two more contract winemaking ventures and in doing so launched two highly successful Yarra Valley brands – Sticks and Punt Road. (“Sticks” being Rob’s nickname as a premiership ruckman with Port Adelaide Football Club… don’t hold that against him!)

In 2011 Rob purchased the former Hardy’s Yarra Burn winery and launched the Rob Dolan range of wines. 

Rob is a well known Yarra Valley identity (he’s hard to miss) and arguably one of the most experienced Winemaker in the region.

M: +61 419 887 626  E: rob@robdolanwines.com.au

Mark Nikolich

Senior Winemaker

Like most Arts students, Mark drank a lot of wine. It wasn’t long until he developed a curiosity about how it was made.

After a barrage of phone calls and much pleading, Rob Dolan took a punt on the fresh-faced University Graduate and recruited him to work as a cellar hand in a brand new winery in the Strathbogie Ranges.

Nearly 15 years later, Mark has travelled full circle and has returned to work with Rob once again.

The intervening years have seen him take on various winemaking roles around the Yarra Valley, Bendigo and France.

In addition to winemaking and completing his qualification from Charles Sturt University, Mark has also found time to find a lovely wife, teach his young boys how to fish and run the odd marathon.

Like Rob, Mark likes to make wines that are fruit-driven, approachable, fresh and distinctly varietal.

M: +61 433 966 275 E: mark@robdolanwines.com.au

Tim Holmes

Winemaker

After many years of studying Classical History and Literature at University, Tim decided to hang up his cardigan and take up a career in the wine industry.

His first vintage was in the Yarra Valley and he caught the winemaking bug. He enrolled in a winemaking degree at CSU and spent a number of years travelling Australia and overseas (Oregon and France) enjoying the carefree life of hemisphere hopping.

In 2006 Tim travelled to Coonawarra to undertake a vintage winemaking appointment but ended up staying for 7 years. He gained a comprehensive knowledge of the Terra Rossa soils working at Mildara, Wynns and Katnook.  Meeting his wife, TJ, here may have had something to do with the long stay.

His career has now come full circle and he has returned to the Yarra Valley, where it all began.  He has firmly planted himself in the Yarra Valley and is raising a family in Healesville.  He has a young daughter, Harriet, another baby on the way and a faithful dog, Billie.

Tim aims to make the style of wine that he enjoys drinking, wine with varietal primary fruit characters, texture, complexity and balance.

M: + 439 831 080 E: tim@robdolanwines.com.au

Kathy McBride

Assistant Winemaker

Like the rest of the team, Kathy found her love of wine through an alternate channel and eventually decided to delve a little deeper.

Having spent her early career as a gymnastics coach, she took flight and travelled the world while simultaneously working in the five star hotel industry. She made her way through the full gamut of food and beverage operations, giving her the chance to fully explore her interests in food, wine and flavour pairing.

Kathy finally decided to swap her high heels for some steel capped boots, quitting her international career and heading back to university full time to completely immerse herself in what continues to be a burning passion.

So far, her winemaking career has taken her from Margaret River to the Yarra Valley, to Oregon and back again. She hopes to continue the journey in as many wine regions as she can across the globe.

In addition to wine, Kathy loves to travel and eat… which means she also needs to love keeping fit! And don’t tell her friends, because as a born and bred Sydney-sider, this should not be the case, but she is LOVING Melbourne.

e: kathy@robdolanwines.com.au

Peta Carlson

Laboratory Technician

After 7 years working as a Myotherapist in Melbourne’s Outer East, Peta decided to give her hands a well earned break and try something completely different.

Completing her first vintage at Rob Dolan Wines in 2014, Peta learned the ways of the lab with mentor Shaun Crinion.

Following a number of cameo appearances during the rest of the year Peta returned again for Vintage 2015 and has since taken on a more permanent role.

When not in the lab Peta continues to inflict pain on her patients one day a week and spends the rest of her time walking from suburb to suburb until she finally gets her drivers license.

E: lab@robdolanwines.com.au

Maris Feldgen

Maris has worked in the Yarra Valley in many roles and is one of the most experienced and qualified “hands on” Viticulturists in the Yarra Valley. (just ask some of the ladies at the Healesville pub before Suzie came along….)

Standing at over 2 metres (same height as Rob Dolan – but not as handsome and debonair?) Maris has an “eye to detail” and understands the importance of the old adage “quality grapes make quality wines” in winemaking.
He has managed and developed award-winning Vineyards such as Yarra Ridge, Lusatia Park, Stones Vineyard and Giant Steps and has a deep understanding and appreciation of all the major varieties, in particular Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

He now runs his own business, Little Field Vineyard management and advice. Maris is our Vineyard Consultant, who is an integral team member that provides independent advice and greatly assists the winemaking team to drive the quality focused aspects of the Rob Dolan wine business. Maris will be vital as RDW embarks on the next phase of the business to own specific sites in the Yarra and to ensure we work with growers to produce high quality grapes across all varieties for our soon to be released specific sites range of wines.

 

Ben Dolan

Ben Dolan

Cellar / Sales

After completing a Sports Management Degree from LaTrobe University in 2014, Rob’s eldest son Ben decided he would rather spend his days in a more hands on role.

With a good understanding of winemaking from helping out his Dad in the past, Ben undertook his first full time vintage in 2015 and has stuck around since.

His charismatic and energetic personality help make him the perfect fit to assist with sales and events outside of the busy vintage period – the gift of the gab certainly runs in the Dolan family!

Aside from wine Ben’s interests include spending time with his lovely partner Kristy, playing footy, synchronised swimming, ballet and he also fancies himself as a bit of a talented singer – particularly after a few wines.

P: (03) 9876 5885 E: ben@robdolanwines.com.au

Max Dolan

Cellar Door

After deferring his Project Management Degree at RMIT University in Melbourne in pursuit of a “gap year” our youngest team member Max joined us to complete the 2016 vintage and has been hanging around ever since.

He claims it is because he enjoys the mateship within the team and playing with all the wine dogs, but we can’t help but wonder if a love of winemaking is just in the Dolan blood!

Outside of his responsibilities at the winery, Rob’s youngest son enjoys what most young men enjoy – playing sport and hanging out with his mates.

P: (03) 9876 5885

Kate Allen

Sales & Marketing Manager

Giving her Real Estate career the flick after eight years of hard work wasn’t easy, but Kate found her true calling when she moved from Melbourne to Coonawarra for a country change, landing a dream role in Sales & Events for a well known Winery.

A move back to Melbourne was always on the cards, but a return to property wasn’t. The timing was perfect when Rob offered Kate a role at his successful Warrandyte based Winery.

M: + 61 415 976 210 E: kate@robdolanwines.com.au

Courtney Hill

Cellar Door, Sales + Marketing

As a student of viticulture, Courtney began her career in the wine industry whilst visiting Rob at the original Sticks vineyard to study the trellis systems. This led to Courtney obtaining her first position in the Sticks cellar door over 10 years ago.

While working for Sticks, Courtney continued her studies by branching out into Environmental Science, all with the full support of Rob who allowed her to incorporate her studies into the winery and cellar door.

Over the years Courtney has worked in cellar doors throughout the Yarra Valley (with the odd bit of travel thrown in) and continues to work in the environmental industry. When she heard Rob was opening a brand new cellar door under the Rob Dolan label, she jumped at the chance to work with him again.

P: (03) 9876 5885 E: courtney@robdolanwines.com.au

Kristy Farrell

Cellar Door, Sales + Marketing

Very shy and quiet is probably not how you would describe Kristy. She holds a business management degree, and is passionate about marketing, and events. Whilst studying at Swinburne University she worked part time as a freight broker. The logistics and shipping of Melbourne, though very interesting she needed something more creative. She began modelling in 2014 and for a few years out of university while she travelled to different parts of the world, having a soft spot for the snowfields in Whistler and hiking in Peru.

Kristy started working part-time for Rob Dolan Wines, helping out with events and the cellar door on weekends. Her love for wine and the brand grew as did her position and responsibilities. Taking on a full time role in the Cellar Door towards the end of 2016, Kristy has stepped into a role that covers events, marketing and sales. She is a friendly face you will often see in Cellar Door.

Sage Wang - Rob Dolan

Sage Wang

Export Manager – China

Joining the Rob Dolan family in February 2017 as Export Manager for our expanding China Market, Sage brings with her a valuable skill set and an excellent sense of humour!

Fluent in both Mandarin and English, Sage studied Marketing and Accounting at Monash University and after graduating worked in an accounting firm for three years obtaining her CPA qualification.

Eventually she realised the numbers weren’t for her and she made the move into the wine industry. She now has over six years of experience working for various wine companies in both China and Australia and very much enjoys what she does.  Sage is an integral part of the Rob Dolan team.

e: sage@robdolanwines.com.au m: +86 139 4040 4866

Merlo

New Kid on the Block

Merlo is the latest addition to our wine dog family. A fun loving chocolate lab, he sticks closely to his master Max Dolan whilst learning the ropes.

Some days he likes to lounge around in Grandpapa Rob’s office and other times he can’t wait to get out and sprint frantically around the winery or dive into the pond at The Farm Yarra Valley to cool off.

A professional at puppy dog eyes and everyone’s favourite little guy. Cute as a button and forgiven for being just a little bit naughty.

Hermes

Greek God

Hermes has spent his first year growing up at the winery with his adopted sister and wrestling mate Molly.

Named after the Greek god, his obsession with thieving bungs and sticks (and whatever else Molly has) as well as his love of running around all day would make his namesake proud.

As reigning wrestling champion of the winery, Hermes is constantly honing his skills with the foster dogs that come to stay with him.

He can regularly be found in meditative sheep watching vigils when the demonic sounds of Molly have gotten too much for him.

Billie

Part Timer

Billie is the winery part timer, coming in three days a week. With two young children at home she loves coming in and escaping the prods, pokes and eye gouges.

She is full of pure excitement from the moment she arrives at the winery with a constantly wagging tail. She can be seen shadowing her owner Tim and orbiting around him all day.

She loves hanging out with Molly and Hermes although being 6 years old she likes to stay aloof from the wrestling bouts and, like the rest of us, stands back and watches the entertainment. Stealing Molly’s ball is a big no-no… but she just can’t help herself.

If we compared Billie to a wine she would be full bodied with a powerful aroma.

The Winery Chooks

Not many people know that a commercial chicken farm named Fantasy Farms once existed at this site before it was converted to a winery. In homage to their ancestors, we continue the tradition of poultry farming albeit it in a far more humane, “free-range” setting. Our chooks not only mow the grass but also provide valuable eggs for red wine fining.