A love of plants and a background in horticulture is what initially compelled Garry to forge a career in winemaking. Knowing how to grow grapevines and produce good fruit is the vital ingredient to making great wine.
His first modest five acres of vines doubled the area under vine on the Mornington Peninsula in 1982.
With his wife Margaret, they relied on friends and family to support those initial days to plant, pick and bottle wine. Since then, they came to sell wine into Melbourne and further afield, planted new and interesting varieties, expanded the vineyard and built a cellar door to become a highly successful wine business.
With just a smattering of wineries on the Mornington Peninsula in the early 1980s, Garry and Margaret provided critical support to the growth of the region’s tourism value and to the wine community as it grew significantly in the 1990s, up until today.
Unfortunately, we lost Margaret in November 2020 which was a loss not only to the family but to the wine and tourism industries on the Mornington Peninsula.
Garry’s contribution to the wine industry in Victoria was recognised by the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival crowning him a Legend in 2012.
Garry has now semi-retired but continues to make a selection of wines each year as special commemorative and personal projects.
Margaret Crittenden, much loved wife of Garry and mum to Zoe and Rollo, sadly passed away in November 2020.
Marg’s legacy however lives on, not just for her incredible work building the family business but also for her input to the wine and tourism industries on the Mornington Peninsula.
There will be some who remember her from the 90s when she ran the restaurant where Stillwater now resides, laying claim to being the first winery on the Mornington Peninsula to have a food offering attached to its cellar door.
Due to a debilitating illness Marg was unable to have much of an input into the business in the last ten years of her life, however she looked on with pride as her two children gradually took over and expanded the vision she and husband Garry created all the way back in the 1980s when their collective dreams turned into a reality.
To learn more about the life of this remarkable and visionary woman here.
To read about the early days of winemaking on the Mornington Peninsula via a compilation of media articles Margaret collected of the years, take some time to look back in time here.
The drive to create a sustainable, ecologically responsible wine business has been shaped by Rollo’s desire to build on the solid foundation established by his parents Garry and Margaret, and prepare the ground for the next generation.
After studying winemaking at Charles Sturt University and travelling to California, Oregon, Italy and the Hunter Valley to work vintages and learn as much as he could abroad, Rollo returned to the Mornington Peninsula in 2003 to become head winemaker at Dromana Estate. At the age of 30, he returned to the family business and worked hand-in-hand with his Dad to reconnect with the vineyard he helped plant as a five year-old.
Today, he is the General Manager, Winemaker and Vineyard Manager at Crittenden. His intimate knowledge of the vineyard and thirst for cutting-edge winemaking, has resulted in many accolades and awards. Rollo won Young Gun Winemaker of the Year in 2010, BRIT-FIVS Platinum International Sustainable Winegrowing Award in 2020, the 2016 Cri de Coeur Savagnin won the Drink Easy Award in 2021 and he was a finalist in the Inaugural Dr Allan Antcliff Vineyard of the Year Award in 2021.
Rollo’s greatest achievement however is his family. With wife Linda, and two sons Oscar and Digby, Rollo continues to travel the world between vintages and enjoy the seaside lifestyle of the Mornington Peninsula.
The style and sophistication of Crittenden, its Wine Centre and marketing direction is the work and passion of Zoe Crittenden.
Mum to Maia and Finn, Zoe first trained and worked as a teacher but then joined the family business in 2004 to support the future growth and manage all marketing activities.
Zoe works with the back of house team to manage events, the Wine Alliance and customer services, marketing, communication and much more.
After completing her university degree in psychology Zoe embarked upon a career in
Marketing – specifically Market Research.
She then went onto complete postgraduate studies in education and spent her twenties in the classroom as a secondary teacher.
Finally (and perhaps inevitably!) the pull to join the family business became too strong and she joined her Dad and brother in the mid 2000s back on the family vineyard.
Having always been a part of the family business in one way or another, from assisting with vineyard work as a teenager to working in the cellar door whilst completing her studies, it was an easy transition.
And naturally with a background in marketing this is where she was able to best make use of her skills. Zoe has been overseeing the marketing at Crittenden for 16 years now and alongside her brother Rollo takes care of the day to day operations at Crittenden, particularly focusing upon the Wine Centre and direct sales.
To be able to hang out with her family every day, with whippet Winnie at her feet, is all that Zoe could ask for!