The Sexton Family
Tim and Libby started their hospitality careers together in 1974 at Westminster Hotel School in London. In 2014 Tim retired after 34 years as head of food service operations at Spotless Group, including responsibility for large scale Australian and New Zealand venues and events such as the MCG and Sydney 2000 Games catering. Libby also retired in 2014 from the travel industry, after a long career in international hotels, retail and wholesale travel.
Whilst not involved in day-to-day operations, Tim and Libby’s daughter Emily and son-in-law John Bailey support Main Ridge Estate marketing and communications activities.
Tim and Libby moved from Albert Park to live at Main Ridge Estate in December 2015, and are greatly enjoying ‘retirement’ in Red Hill!
James Sexton – Winemaker
A commerce graduate of the Blue Mountains Hotel School, and experienced sommelier, James received the 2011 Electrolux Young Waiter of the Year Award. Over 10 years he worked at leading Sydney restaurants including est and Sepia, and managed the 2 hatted Oscillate Wildly restaurant.
Jame’s experience as a sommelier and hospitality professional has proven an ideal background to follow in the formidable steps of Nat White as the Main Ridge Estate winemaker. James has successfully lead several challenging vintages, and is well advanced in his wine science degree at Charles Sturt University.
Linda Hodges – Viticulturalist
Since commencing in 2001, Linda has worked closely in all aspects of Main Ridge Estate operations. She has a deep knowledge of the vineyard and the Main Ridge Estate winemaking traditions. Linda was awarded a University of Melbourne Diploma of Wine Technology at Dookie College, and is the proud winemaker at her own Four Hundred Vines property in Balnarring.
Nat White – Consultant
Nat White is a pioneering winemaker who gave up the security of a public service civil engineering job to plant one of the first new era Mornington Peninsula vineyards – in what was a tiny lemon orchard with no road access.
Living and travelling in Europe in the 60s fuelled a dream of creating a Burgundy style family vineyard and winery in Red Hill, where the climate indicated Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (then unknown in Australia) might flourish. With limited capital and huge toil and determination Nat and Rose gradually established Main Ridge Estate vineyard. In 1981 they released their first wines – including Pinot Noir at $5.50 a bottle!
Nat’s winemaking philosophies evolved from scientific training at Charles Sturt University, following proven practices of Burgundian winemakers, and experimentation in both the vineyard and winery. His reputation as a winemaker grew steadily to the highest levels due to his ability to consistently increase his understanding of his land, seeking to extract greatness from the unique terroir.
Nat has been described as the ‘Yoda’ of the Peninsula winemaking industry for the practical support and guidance he has given to innumerable successful winemakers, and for the collaborative wine community culture he and Rose fostered. He continues at Main Ridge Estate as a consultant, and mentor to James Sexton.
Always humble, honest, considered and quietly charming in giving his views, Nat is warmly regarded by everyone who knows him, and much deserved of the Order of Australia Medal awarded in 2017 for his services to the wine industry.