Fetherston Vintners is the collaboration of Chris Lawrence and Camille Koll.
The journey of Fetherston Vintners began on a fateful night in April 2013, when we met at a mutual friend's birthday. Our love of food, wine, and friends instantly connected us, and we have been inseparable ever since.
Our passion for wine and our home region - the Yarra Valley – was a topic of countless conversations between us. With an intense desire to create beautiful wines, we took a leap of faith and established Fetherston Vintners in 2014. We moved swiftly to source high-quality fruit from trusted winegrowers, enabling us to release small batches of our first wines in 2015.
With each passing vintage, our brand and our wines mature and evolve, as do we.
As we look to the future, our vision is to control every aspect of the vine-growing and winemaking process. In late 2022, we purchased 40-acres of prime viticultural land in Hoddles Creek – in the cool hills of the upper Yarra Valley – a mere stone’s throw from Camille’s childhood farm. It’s a massive project, starting with the removal of remnant berry bushes and infrastructure, rehabilitating the soils then eventually planting out our vineyard.
The name Fetherston pays tribute to Chris' late grandfather, Gerald Henry 'Tony' Fetherston and late mother, Janet Mary Lawrence, née Fetherston.
Tony was a horticulturist and inspiring educator and Janet was a botanist and highly skilled scientific writer. An affinity for plants flows through the Fetherston family’s veins, and for Chris, this affinity has manifested into his love for viticulture.
CHRIS - THE WINEMAKER
Prior to working in the wine industry, I had a 15-year career as a Chef. Read Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential and you’ll get the gist. It was a roller coaster ride of emotion, exhilaration and exhaustion. They were some of the best days of my life and some of the toughest. Little did I know it then, but this time set me up well to transition into wine. I gained a deep understanding of flavours, balance and harmony; I learned how to work hard, very hard; and it taught me to be efficient, meticulous and organised. In my heart, I always knew I would change path at some stage, when I had a clear vision of what to do next, and after 15 years in hospitality, transitioning my focus to the world of wine felt completely natural.
In 2009 I immersed myself into my Bachelor of Oenology and Viticulture and moved to the Yarra Valley where I began working as a cellar hand for Yering Station. Four years later, I graduated university as valedictorian and with a faculty medal for science. I had risen to Assistant Winemaker and completed a northern hemisphere harvest at Domaine Serene (Willamette Valley, Oregon). Things moved quickly.
In 2015 we harvested the first fruit for Fetherston. It’s incredible how quickly the time has passed as we’ve thrown ourselves into this project. Every year we’ve tried to improve, whether that be in our packaging, winemaking, grape growing or fruit sourcing. We’re always trying to get better. A huge step for me was leasing our little Pinot Noir vineyard, Hutchinson. For many years the viticultural side of the industry was a bit of an enigma, having spent most of my early years in the winery. I now love getting my hands dirty and take great pride in being able to call myself a vigneron. There is something truly special about nurturing a wine from winter pruning through to bottle.
These days I love the challenge of working with new varieties, new vineyards and trialling new techniques. Ultimately, I just love making wine and am incredibly grateful that I get to do it for a living.
CAMILLE - CHIEF ADVISOR
I was born into a farming family in the rural surrounds of Hoddles Creek in the Upper Yarra Valley. My love and appreciation for viticulture and wine were ingrained from a young age. I grew up encircled by some of the best vineyards in the region, with a bottle of wine gracing our dining table most evenings.
While my parents and four elder brothers found their place on the family farm, I pursued my love of fine wine by working for Domaine Chandon at just 18 years of age.
My roles at Chandon changed over my seven-year tenure, starting with restaurant and cellar door support and progressing to overseeing the visitor centre. I left Chandon to work in hospitality and events, and I spent five years managing restaurants, staging weddings and events in the Yarra Valley, while also establishing Fetherston.
In 2018, I left the comfort of paid employment to transition to Fetherston full-time, focussing on building the business and cementing our place as a respected cool-climate wine producer. I wear many hats at Fetherston, from marketer and IT 'fixer', to assistant winemaker and co-viticulturalist, administrator, bookkeeper and stock controller.
In July 2020, we welcomed our daughter, Lily Ida Lawrence, into the world. Lily fills my days with chaos and joy as I continue juggling full-time work and raising the next generation of Fetherston. One day, we hope Lily will continue our legacy. If she choses this path, she will work hard and drink well. Of course we will love her no less should chose her own destiny.
At Fetherston, we endeavour to make wines that are vibrant, charismatic, enchanting expressions of the sites from which they’re grown. We want our wines to be exciting, so we’re constantly challenging ourselves and our methods on a never-ending search for enlightenment.
We take inspiration from the old world and the new, drinking broadly to keep our minds open and senses honed. We use the highest quality French oak, preferring barrel fermentation and maturation, and incorporating new oak where appropriate.
We want our wines to be approachable in their youth, and magnificent in old age. We strive to make each new vintage better than the last.
Each vintage presents the opportunity to push the boundaries of quality, hence we grow and source fruit from some of the Yarra Valley, Pyrenees and King Valley’s most renowned vineyards.
We believe that all vineyards should be diverse ecosystems where all matter of organisms work in harmony with the living, breathing soil. In our practices, we promote this by eradicating herbicides and insecticides and only using non-organic applications in extreme conditions.
We take a biological approach and react to vine stress by manipulating the canopy to improve airflow and rely on natural predators to suppress pests. We are proud to be part of a regenerative farming movement and strive to leave our vineyards in far better condition than we found them for the generations to come.