From a PhD in green seaweed diversity, to researching seaweed in the northwest Pacific, somewhere along the way, Gareth and Rainbo Belton fell head-over-heels for the natural wines of the Adelaide Hills in Australia. From Rainbow Juice to Vin de Sofa, the duo are now fine tuning their Pinots and Chardonnays.
"I love being outside, making things with my hands and being able to say—look, we’ve made something, and now we can drink it. How enjoyable is that!?"
People: Gareth and Rainbo Belton
Place: Adelaide Hills, Australia
Varieties: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Cabernet Franc & Merlot
Farming: Organic with elements of biodynamics
Wines: Click here
Did You Know? The iconic cuvée 'Rainbow Juice' initially came from one little vineyard in the Basket Range that is planted to old vines of 21 different varieties, originally taken from Adelaide University’s experimental vineyards before they were ripped out. Gentle Folk no longer farms it, having passed the lease on to a friend, James Madden, who has recently started his own project – Scintilla Wines.
Gareth studied botany and marine science at university. After graduating, the head of the biology department, Margaret Clayton - a seaweed researcher - recommended that he take some time off to figure out what he wanted to do. She told him about a program based at the university of Washington.
“At the time I wanted to work with sharks and dolphins; classic marine biology things. But then this summer program came up in the San Juan Islands. It was amazing. I got on a sea plane – I’d never been on one before – and it was just magic. There’s just something about that part of north America, those great forests and islands. It was like something out of a movie. I was working with seaweed guys, in one of the seaweed centres of Planet Earth. They were so passionate and it changed my life in a big way.”
He wanted to become a full-time seaweed researcher, but couldn’t find a permanent position in Australia, so became a water scientist for the water board of Melbourne. But his desire to research kept tapping at his mind, so he came to Adelaide. A love for the food and wine scene had already sucked the duo in while living in Melbourne, but it was in Adelaide that their love of wine become something more than a hobby.