From a lineage of Scottish Presbyterian ministers and raised watching his father’s work ethic as a Bass Strait fisherman, Rob’s character has been uniquely forged. He continues to live a life centred on balance, minimalism and a waste-not-want-not approach. Simple reflections of this are seen in a preference to fix and repair, versus throw away and replace.
Before viticultural, winemaking and geology persuits, his formative years included opening one of Melbourne’s earliest wholefood restaurants – Shakahari – in the 1970s. Later, he joined a Hippie Commune known as Zen Colony, based on 200 acres of rainforest in the Atherton Table Lands.
“I was looking for simplicity, life was too complicated. What the commune taught me was that you really don't have to chase the material side of life. You can be free, so long as you're creative and live happily with nothing". “Our commune was actually anti-drug. We followed a macrobiotic diet that was all about the balance of yin and yang”.
Rob’s first venture in wine came through a working holiday in New Zealand. “We had a van and travelled around. Penfolds was opposite the bible college, it was the first place I went to for work. The seasonal excitement was the first thing, people coming in from all around the world, working hard producing the wine in the season. It was that vintage excitement I think. We were on holiday having fun, it was a fun experience. Just the one vintage, 1974".
A peg in the ground.