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).
Vintages in Canterbury, New Zealand; France’s Southern Rhone Valley & Bordeaux; Canada’s Okanagan Valley; the Colchagua Valley, Chile and the Somlo wine region of Hungary have been instrumental to gaining experience into the different winemaking and viticulture techniques from both the old and new world.
Brendan has completed the AWRI AWAC course and was a scholar at the prestigious Len Evans Tutorial in 2018. Brendan is a regular wine show judge for various capital city and regional wine shows across the country.
In his spare time, Brendan enjoys long walks along short beaches with a tall glass of Cabernet.
Hailing from the south-west of WA, Brendan has always held Margaret River close to his heart.
With a passion for surfing, living and working in the Margaret River region was a natural decision. However, he soon realised his amateur surfing of the Indian Ocean barrels wouldn’t cut a living alone, so he turned his attention to French oak barrels also.
An alumni of the Curtin University in Margaret River and Lincoln University in New Zealand, Brendan has gained invaluable experience working for local and international wineries.
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 Welfare 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.
Aaron knew his love of food was a way of life from very early on. Having grown up living in Singapore and Malaysia, the vibrant colours and fragrant flavours of the traditional dishes of his childhood ignited his passion for cooking. His cultural roots have deeply influenced his creativity and style. “I am able to recreate and refine the dishes I grew up eating as a child. Cooking has that freedom that allows me to express myself fully.”
After completing Diplomas in Culinary Arts and Patisserie Arts at City & Guilds in London, Aaron worked at the upmarket restaurant Garuda, managed by Singapore’s leading hospitality group – Tung Lok. Here, he could immerse himself in his culture and perfect the art of Asian cuisine. Forging ahead with his career, Aaron moved on to the Next-Door Café, a rustic Serbian Italian eatery – nominated by the Miele Guide as one of Asia’s top 500 restaurants. Then came a once-in-a-lifetime chance: he landed a much-desired position in the kitchen at the internationally renowned L’Atelier De Joel Robuchon.
His experience at the 2 Michelin-starred restaurant became the most profound and pivotal point in his career. “It was my first fine dining experience and one that I will never forget. The skill, attention to detail and the passion put into the food there was something that has been imprinted on me forever.”
In 2019, Aaron decided to take his career in a new direction – to Australia. He eventually settled in the southwest and joined the Xanadu team in January 2020 on a casual basis. Fast forward to 2022, and Aaron is now steering the restaurant in an exciting new direction as Head Chef. He brings his love of all cultures and passion for transforming fresh local produce into dishes that showcase the wines and reflect the land’s beauty and the region.