A de-vine tree change

The Roberts Family rebuilt their lives on the Granite Belt. Pictures: CONTRIBUTED

Caitlin and Nick Roberts, former Central London professionals, have embarked on an extraordinary journey from corporate offices to vineyard owners in Southern Queensland’s wine heartland. Their story is one of serendipity, courage, and community support.

The couple’s transition to vineyard ownership began with a chance encounter during a leisurely wine tasting excursion through the picturesque wineries of the Granite Belt.

Meeting renowned winemaker Mark Ravenscroft, who was planning to sell his vineyard, proved to be the pivotal moment that altered the trajectory of their lives.

“Mark mentioned he was selling his vineyard, and we saw it as a unique opportunity for a genuine change from our urban London lifestyle,“ Nick said.

The allure of a slower pace of life, coupled with the prospect of raising their family away from the hustle and bustle of the city, captivated Caitlin and Nick.

“We’ve always been passionate about food and wine, and we wanted a business that would allow us to work from home and spend quality time with our daughter,“ Caitlin said.

The prospect of commuting long hours in London contrasted starkly with their vision of a more balanced and fulfilling life in Southern Queensland.

With financial assistance from the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA), the couple seized the opportunity to purchase Ravenscroft Vineyard, marking the beginning of their foray into the wine industry.

Three vintages later, Caitlin and Nick found themselves immersed in the intricacies of winemaking and vineyard management. Despite the steep learning curve as first-generation farmers, the couple remains resolute in their commitment to building a thriving family legacy.

“Operating the vineyard has been a tremendous learning experience. We’ve acquired new skills, faced challenges head-on, and adapted to the demands of rural life,“ Nick said.

The support of the local community has been instrumental in their journey, with fellow winemakers and neighbours extending a helping hand whenever needed.

“We’ve received invaluable assistance from our community. When setbacks occurred, we found comfort in the camaraderie and support of our peers,“ Caitlin said.

The couple acknowledges QRIDA’s pivotal role in realising their dream of vineyard ownership, emphasising the importance of accessible financial support for aspiring primary producers.

Reflecting on their remarkable transformation, Caitlin said, “If you had told me a decade ago that we’d be here in Stanthorpe, owning a vineyard and winery, I wouldn’t have believed it. Our journey underscores the power of seizing opportunities and embracing change.“

For those aspiring to establish their Queensland primary production business, QRIDA’s First Start Loan presents a pathway to turn dreams into reality.

To learn more about how a First Start Loan can kickstart your agricultural venture, visit QRIDA’s official website.