Kevin, a fifth generation, Australian winemaker, learnt his trade from time spent as a youngster with his father, and then, working for such companies as Hardy’s and Saltram, before taking up the position as senior wine maker and manager of the Seppelts operations, base at Chateau Tanunda and Seppeltsfield.
In 1972 he moved with his family to Muswellbrook, in the Upper Hunter and built a winery of their own, where he made wines for his own label, the Queldinburg label, as well as contracting for others. In the mid 1980’s they relocated their business from the Upper Hunter to Pokolbin, in the lower Hunter, having purchased an existing winery on McDonalds Road. This property was sold late 1990.
The current vineyard, on the corner of Broke and Halls Road, Pokolbin, was purchased in late 1991.
Margaret has more than a full time job looking after husband, family and all things pertaining to the business. Initially trained as a nurse, Margaret was also bought up in a wine family whose history in the industry can be traced back to the 1870’s. Her father Jack Neilson managed Hardy’s Winery for many years until his retirement in late 1970.
Is the Eldest of the two sons and the only one, at this stage, who has chosen the wine industry as his career path. He has the distinction of being a 6th generation, Australian winemaker and is probably the only one, in Australia, who would be able to claim the honour. Jason looks after all things related to the vineyard as well as assisting his father in the winery learning the art of the wine making side of the business until he was made “the winemaker” in 2012, with his father assisting when needed. Jason attended Roseworthy after leaving school completing a wine marketing course before joining the company to work at the winery. He gained further practical experience recently over three vintages as a winemaker in Bordeaux France at Chateau Carsin. In his spare time he can be found in the tasting area discussing their wines with those that visit their family winery.
Mandy started working with the Sobels in January 2002 . Her role consists of supervising Cellar Door Sales and all things happing in the Wine Club. She started in the wine industry alongside her father at Wyndham Estate back in the late 1970’s when he managed quite a few wineries in the Hunter. Her father later purchased a bottle shop in Cessnock where she worked for about 11 years. After leaving the shop she worked at a few different venues and wineries in the Valley including Potters Tavern where in 1992 she first met The Sobels. Ten years later Kevin offered her a casual position at the winery which lead to a permanent full time position about 6 months later and has been here ever since. Between her and her partner Harvey (who also works with Kevin and Jason) they have 4 daughters and 4 grandchildren and one on the way.
Harvey started working full time at Sobels in 2008. Before starting at the winery he worked for a couple of years in the cellar door mainly on Saturdays as a casual when he could. Born in Cessnock Harvey is probably one of the best known identities in the area, much through his work in the hardware store as his prowess with a cricket bat and football. He worked for BBC Hardware Cessnock for about 17 years and when it became Bunnings he was appointed as one of the store managers. Always interested in trying something different when the full time presented itself at the winery he asked to be considered. Now after some 8 years he is like Mandy a very important part of the Sobels winery. His functions are many and varied from working in the winery with Jason, to running the bottling line helping in the vineyard and general maintenance He lives in Cessnock with his partner of 22 years Mandy and between them they have 4 daughters, 4 grandchildren and another one just started..