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Winemaking legend Bryan Dolan was born in Clare 1930, the son of Arthur, Clare High School's headmaster
Arthurâ€™s father and uncle, Arthur (Tim) and Thomas respectively, were the sons of Thomas Dolan, an Irish immigrant who settled in Clare circa 1860. These two brothers initiated the Dolan winemaking passion and pedigree when they commenced developing an 88 acre vineyard and small winery in 1895 on Dolan Road at Stanley Flat, just north of the Clare township. Bryanâ€™s family moved to the southeast of South Australia where he grew up in Naracoorte. This rural environment led him to enrol in agricultural studies at Roseworthy College. When the first oenology course was offered a year later, Bryan signed on and subsequently graduated in 1949. That same year he accepted a job offered by Henry Martin, owner of the Stonyfell and Saltram vineyards and wineries.
Initially working as winery manager at Saltram in Angaston, the young Bryan actively assisted in the winemaking duties of another local legend Fred Ludlow who was heading to retirement after over 50 years of service. Bryon officially took over winemaking in 1959 when Fred did eventually retire and soon after appointed Peter Lehmann as winemaker to replace him when he moved to Stonyfell to become winemaker and General Manager in 1960. Bryan was a highly respected winemaker and industry contributor. His red wines in particular were held in high regard as wines of power and longevity, and he had the honour of being awarded amongst many other trophies and awards, the inaugural Jimmy Watson Trophy in 1962.
After 30 years at Saltram and Stonyfell Bryan left the company and spent the next ten years as Production Director for The Hardy Family Wine Company before retiring in 1999, ending a long and distinguished career in Australian Winemaking. Like his father Bryan, Nigel Dolan graduated from Roseworthy College and commenced winemaking at Seppeltsfield in 1981.
At Seppelts, Nigel held a number of positions working initially as assistant fortified winemaker, then on to Senior Red winemaker as well as Winery Manager for both the Chateau Tanunda and Seppeltsfield Wineries. In 1992 Nigel joined Saltram as Senior Winemaker and Winery Manager.
During his 15 years at Saltram, Nigel kept winemaking responsibility for all of the Saltram wines while also undertaking other roles, including Group Red Winemaker for the Fosters Wine Group until he resigned in 2007. Today Nigel is the Chief Winemaker for Wyndham Estate and is based in the Barossa.
Dolan's achievements and recognitions to date have included Advertiser South Australian Winemaker of the year 1996, Barossa Winemaker of the Year 2000, finalist in the Qantas Australian Winemaker of the year 2002, Baron of the Barossa 2002 and Winestate Australian Winemaker of the year 2009. Aside from Pinot Noir there is probably not a red wine trophy in major Australian shows that Nigelâ€™s efforts have not won at least once. Significant wins have included the Brisbane Wine Showâ€™s Stodart trophy three times (1985, 2000 and 2003) and the Jimmy Watson Trophy twice, in 1992 and 2003. In 2007 he established Dolan Family Wines with the clear vision and intention of producing a focused range of distinctive premium Barossa wines. Following the traditions of Bryan Dolan, Nigel and his son Timothy now continue a winemaking heritage that steps across six decades. Dolan's wines are distinctive, generous and reflective of variety and region, they also show a degree of personality.
Living and growing up at Saltram in the Barossa, Nigelâ€™s son Tim Dolan took a shine to winemaking at an early age, often to be found helping out the crusher crew after school during vintage time. In 2008, Tim completed his Oenology degree at The University of Adelaide. During and after his studies, Tim has worked and gained vintage experience in the Barossa, Hunter Valley, McLaren Vale, the Napa and Sonoma Valleyâ€™s in California as well as in Tuscany.
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