The following images are from a recent commission by Rob Dolan Wines. The brief was simply to capture the daily workings of the winery, but to approach it as an industrial assignment rather than as a lifestyle piece. This was to reflect the look and feel of the winery’s new website which at the time was in the process of being updated, and can now be seen live here: https://www.robdolanwines.com.au/
Anyone who has read previous entries in my blog will appreciate that this was absolutely a dream assignment for me. On meeting with the winery’s brilliant marketing manager Kate Allen to take the initial brief I was also able to take some of the excellent wines home, solely for the purpose of research of course..!
Part of the brief was to capture not only the winemakers and staff at work, but also their naughty puppies as they went about their day! Now I have always loved dogs, so this was again an absolute pleasure and needless to say a lot of fun. As soon as I arrived early in the morning and began setting up my flash heads I was closely shadowed by Tom’s beautiful dog Hermes, his nose finding it’s way into every bag I had with me. Hermes was soon joined by Mark’s dog Molly, who I quickly learned is also rather inquisitive in nature!
The winery was established in 2010 by Rob Dolan, being the realisation of Rob’s ambition to produce his own fine wines after a 20 year wine making career in the Yarra Valley. During his time playing as a ruckman for Port Adelaide Football Club, Rob acquired his nickname of ‘Sticks’; now being 6’4″ myself, the irony of this nickname was not lost on me! Those familiar with the fine wines emanating the Yarra Valley will of course recognise that Sticks winery was named after Rob who was the founding winemaker (as he was at Punt Road).
Obviously part of the requisite skill set for my profession is having the ability to very quickly relate to my subjects, and subsequently put them at ease in front of the camera. In this instance I really had no ‘work’ to do; Rob is one of those people you instantly ‘click’ with, being very easygoing with a great sense of humour, yet still obviously a successful businessman and as I can attest to, a talented winemaker! Having now sampled almost all the wines in both his White label and True Colours ranges, I can certainly see why in 2013 James Halliday awarded Rob Dolan Winery the accolade of 2014 Newcomer Winery of the year. The Pinot is of course excellent, but also, given that I normally prefer reds, I found the the 2013 White Label Chardonnay to be just superb.
Working alongside Rob is Cameron Mackenzie, who has his own on site business producing the superb Four Pillars range of gins, as well as acting in a business advisory capacity to the winery. Naturally I wanted to feature Cameron in front of his amazing Still for a couple of shots.
For all of the images in this post I decided against my usual preference of harsh flash, and instead felt that what was needed was strong but soft light from my Elinchrom Ranger Quadra’s with the strip light softboxes.
All in all, a dream assignment!