Our passionate team across winemaking, viticulture and hospitality are what make Xanadu – get to know them here.
Returning to Australia he focused on developing and expanding the Rathbone Wine Group, seeing the expansion to include Mount Langi Ghiran in 2003, Parker Estate in 2004 and Xanadu in 2005.
In the lead up to the 2006 vintage, Darren worked with Glenn Goodall and the Xanadu team to refocus production towards quality over quantity – a focus that continues to shine through in the wines today, whilst overseeing the renovation of the cellar door and restaurant.
Today, Darren is the CEO and Winemaker of Rathbone Wine Group which still proudly remains a family owned and operated business. Darren works alongside his father Doug Rathbone (Chairman) and brother Brad Rathbone (Director of Exports, China). He splits his time overseeing the production of the wines at Yering Station, Mount Langi Ghiran and Xanadu wineries as well as developing the business across Australia and international markets. Darren is also an active wine show judge with significant judging experience within the Australian wine show system.
Darren’s love of wine started at home, growing up in a family that enjoyed coming together around wine and food – it was always part of the Rathbone’s family meals.
In 1995 upon Darren’s graduation from Chemical Engineering, his father Doug Rathbone and uncle Graeme Rathbone purchased a vineyard site in the Yarra Valley – now Yering Station. Darren’s first job was planting vines in this vineyard which was named in honour of his great grandmother, Laura Barnes. Doug noted Darren’s enthusiasm, believing it was “too big to be a hobby, too small to be a business”. This was the turning point where an enjoyment of drinking wine became a passionate career.
In the pursuit of knowledge and learning, Darren was accepted into the Master of Science, Oenology program at UC Davis California in 1999. Upon completion in 2002, Darren complemented his technical study by undergoing various winemaking assignments in acclaimed global wine regions including Bordeaux, Champagne and the Napa Valley.
When Glenn returned to Australia to settle in Margaret River, he worked in the vineyard at Ashbrook Estate before assisting in establishing Margaret River’s first contract winemaking facility at Harmans Ridge. Glenn eventually found his niche as a winemaker at Xanadu Wines, joining the team in 1999. Several months after the Rathbone family purchased the winery, Glenn took on the role of Senior Winemaker and has been at the helm since the 2006 vintage.
Glenn has an intuitive approach to winemaking, with a deep respect for the vineyard where he believes true quality begins. He recognises that it takes more than one person to make the wines and is proud to lead a great team who share his focus in both the vineyard and the winery.
Originally from Northland in New Zealand, Glenn first visited Australia on a surfing holiday in 1989. It was during this trip that he began his wine career, working in the vineyard at Cassegrain Wines in Port Macquarie, New South Wales. A vintage at Domaine La Grave in Bordeaux the following year (1990) cemented Glenn’s passion for wine and he was encouraged to take up studies at a tertiary level. Over 9 years at Cassegrain, Glenn worked his way from the vineyards to the cellar before eventually earning the position of Winemaker. During this time, Glenn completed his Bachelor of Agricultural Science, Oenology at the University of Adelaide (Roseworthy) and gained valuable experience overseas including vintages in South Africa (1992, 1998) at Glen Carlou Vineyards, in New Zealand (1996) at Esk Valley in Hawkes Bay, and at Mac Rostie Wines in California, USA (1997).
Sophie embraced a global perspective by working as a vintage casual in Central Otago, Burgundy and the Okanagan Valley in Canada. However the allure of Margaret River, driven by her love for Chardonnay, beckoned her to settle into the region in 2014. Joining Naturaliste Vintners for her inaugural Margaret Reiver vintage, Sophie started out as a Cellar Hand and progressed into the role of Winemaker in 2020.
“I have admired Xanadu’s wines and vineyards since arriving in Margaret River, particularly Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. When the occasion presented, it felt like an amazing opportunity to work with a passionate and highly skilled team.”
Originally hailing from the South Island of New Zealand, Sophie embarked on her academic journey by obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Science with a major in Biochemistry from the University of Canterbury in 2009. The blend of her Biochemistry background, coupled with a passion for travel, gastronomy, and a diverse set of skills crucial in Winemaking, steered her towards South Australia. In 2011, she successfully completed a Master’s degree in Oenology at the University of Adelaide.
Sophie’s early foray into the world of Cabernet Sauvignon commenced with her Master’s Degree Research Scholarship for Treasury Wine Estate, leading to the publication of her research in The American Journal of Enology and Viticulture. Transitioning from academia, her professional journey commenced with a yearlong research internship for Pernod Ricard, where she served as a research assistant at Orlando Wines in the Barossa Valley and Boutique Martell Cognac in France.
As a Western Australian local, Rob developed a keen interest for horticulture early on in life. Initially working in the Fruit Bowl of WA (Donnybrook) throughout his university holidays, a change in scenery and long-term ambition, lead him to the Royal Australian Navy. Throughout his 15 years, Rob was a Warfare Officer amongst being responsible for developing training strategies to improve Navy trainees’ qualifications throughout his last posting.
After a long stint with the RAN, Rob ventured back to settle in Margaret River returning to his horticultural roots, whereby he took on his Masters of Viticulture at the University of Western Australia, finishing in 2005.
Since finishing his Masters, Rob has worked in various regions throughout Western Australia including the Fogarty Wine Group and AHA Viticulture along with stints in South Australia and working as a vintage casual in the Loire Valley.
In 2021, Rob joined the Xanadu team as Viticulturist where he has developed a deep knowledge on the vineyards of Xanadu and environmental demands. As all great wine starts in the vineyard, Robs vision reflects Xanadu’s overarching ethos; crafting outstanding wines that embody all the region has to offer. Robs passion for sustainable agriculture, biodiversity and soil health allows him and his team to develop stronger, more sustainable vineyards, leading to greater vine health, resilience, and optimum fruit quality.
In the classroom kitchen of Ipseoa Andrea Barbargio Cooking School in Venice—14-year-old Andrea Gasparini’s journey into the world of professional cooking began. A passion born from childhood memories of the evocative aromas of freshly baked bread that sat beside him on the way home from school each day.
The tradition of food runs deep in his blood. “I treasure every experience in my career. However, growing up wandering the open-air markets of Italy with my family—discovering exceptional fresh produce; and learning how to transform these incredible ingredients into our Sunday meal, was a school like no other.”
After completing his culinary studies, the young and inspired Italian chef honed his craft at the 2 Michelin-starred restaurants Antica Osteria Cera— one of Italy’s most renowned gastronomic experiences for seafood, and the historically famed La Fontanini in Verona. Both were quintessential moments in Andrea’s life as a chef, teaching him the discipline, dedication and true finesse of fine dining.
In 2014, Andrea began a voyage that eventually brought him to the shores of Australia. After exploring the country, he found his way to the beautiful southwest and cemented his culinary roots as head chef at Watershed Winery.
Xanadu Wines is now home and muse for this spirited chef. Family is everything to Italians, and so is great food—a concept that speaks clearly through his cooking. “My wish is to create exceptional food for the whole family. Seeing people experience the joy of eating together drives me to keep cooking and creating. I respect tradition, but I also thrive on fine dining and the artistic methods behind this.”
The stunning natural surroundings of the southwest and the ocean’s proximity excite Andrea to no end. He aims to take Xanadu’s guests on a culinary expedition through his homeland and ours, incorporating the incredible local produce to marry perfectly with the beauty of Xanadu’s wines.