Darling Estate Wines and Koombahla Vineyard are owned and run by John Darling in the King Valley in North East Victoria, Australia. John is the third generation of the family to run the business in almost 100 years.
John’s grandfather, Frederick Darling, bought land at Cheshunt in the valley in 1919 following his return from service in the First World War. At that time, Australia’s population was only 5 million people, with many opportunities for the entrepreneurial spirit. The early years focused on growing apples and tobacco.
Frederick developed enduring friendships with the European migrants who came to work hard and establish a new life in the valley, but who always knew how to enjoy themselves with their family, friends and home grown food and wine.
The Next Generation
Growing up in this environment, John’s father, Guy, developed a respect and passion for the land and what could be produced. In 1970 Guy purchased “Koombahla” in Whitfield, establishing the first commercial planting of grape vines in the Upper King Valley. Brown Brothers made many award winning wines from Koombahla fruit confirming the potential of the region.
Following The Footsteps
In 1990, Guy and John started to produce small quantities of wine under the Darling Estate label. After a sojourn in China, John and his partner Christine returned to the valley in 2010 continuing the story and establising another generation of winemaking at Darling Estate.