After a long-term corporate career working in the technology sector in the United States, Jane Richards and her four children moved back to her home state and life took a very different path.
Together with her sister Claire she had bought a vineyard and now her days are busy commuting and living between Adelaide and Wrattonbully, where their Lanacoona vineyard grows grapes for some of Australia’s most iconic brands.
“After my sister, Claire, and I bought the property in 2002 we continued selling fruit to other wine companies,” Jane says.
“In 2005, we began selecting fruit from the best vintages which we kept for our own personal consumption and to share with our family and friends.”
Two years ago they decided to start their own wine brand, and Eight at the Gate wines was launched – named in honour of her and her sister’s eight children.
“We are two sisters with eight kids between us running our vineyard and producing and marketing our wine,” she says. “On our back label it says ‘Eight at the Gate’, made with passion, resolve and a touch of chaos… pretty accurate!”
Jane Richards or Harvey I answer to both.
I worked in the technology industry since the first home computer was introduced, rising up the ranks in this industry and ultimately ended up living in the USA in a National Sales role.
After I returned to Australia, I focused more on the vineyard and now our wine label, Eight at the Gate Wines. I was also teaching and trading Futures and Options to pay the bills. Our vineyard, at Wrattonbully has been growing grapes since 1995 supplying fruit that ends up in some of Australia’s most iconic brands.
After my sister, Claire, and I bought the property in 2002 we continued selling fruit to other wine companies. In 2005, we began selecting fruit from the best vintages which we kept for our own personal consumption and to share with our family and friends.
In 2016, we put a label on it and Eight at the Gate Wines was born.
We are two sisters with eight kids between us running our vineyard and producing and marketing our wine, on our back label it says “Eight at the Gate, made with passion, resolve and a touch of chaos … pretty accurate!”
I’VE LIVED IN MY HOME …
Since 2006, when I returned with the kids from the US. I live with my children Emma 19, Jack 17, Meg 14, Max 12, a floor mop dog, I’m not sure how many cats, two axolotls and a catfish.
MY HOME IS …
I live between Wrattonbully and Adelaide where six of our (my sister and I) eight kids are currently at school. Lanacoona, the vineyard, is in Wrattonbully. We have a mixed farm on the
Wrattonbully road. My sister Claire lives in one house and my four kids and I live in
an overly luxurious “quarters” at the end of a giant shed. The school bus runs straight past the front gate which is where we got the name for the label as drivers by would often comment on the “kids hanging off the front gate”.
I LOVE MY HOME BECAUSE …
I would love to say that our time at the vineyard was relaxing but the truth is it is
pretty crazy! Our mum, aunt and uncle look after the smaller kids and cook a lot. Motor bikes
and ‘errands’ for kids and all the grown-ups in the vines pruning, driving tractors, dealing with trellis wires etc. An honest-to-goodness farm life of hard work and hard
play for the kids …. and us.
— Bonfires in winter at the end of the day with the neighbours …. Swimming in the
neighbour’s dam in Summer.
— In Adelaide it’s a bit of a drop-in centre for my kids, my nieces, their friends and ours,
chaotic but easygoing and everyone is always welcome. An extra four for dinner at the last minute is never a problem.
BUT I STILL NEED TO …
Get around to putting my pictures up!
MY DECORATING STYLE IS …
Practical and comfy. Coming from the US, I have some large pieces of furniture (the houses there are so much bigger than here). I have blended pieces from there with functional things required for a large family.
A power washer!
I COLLECT …
Children! My homes are always a buzz with a collection of kids and their friends. One day if life slows down, I would love to collect specialty roses again, in my New York garden I had a stunning display of unusual roses.
FAVOURITE ROOM/PART OF MY HOME
Is my oriental rugs, office, garden and my bed. I bought my Adelaide bedroom furniture back from New York. My bed is very grand and makes Grandma’s feather bed look like a toy.
— My Hills hoist.
— My Swiss music box.
— The kids and their friends.
IN MY GARDEN I HAVE …
Lots of pots of flowers, roses, herbs, scooters. a trampoline and
an empty rabbit cage (Thumper died) and I am trying to grow passionfruit.
CLEAN FREAK OR MESSY BESSIE?
Mostly clean, but a least once a week it looks like a bomb went off.
ON MY WISH LIST IS …
More hours in the day or night and fixing my lawn which I just cannot get right.
MY NEIGHBOURS ARE …
Fabulous, in both Adelaide and Wrattonbully. We all help each other when needed. From putting bins out or looking after pets if someone is away to communal working bees.
I COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT …
My coffee machine, washing machine and dishwasher.
IF I COULD AFFORD IT, I WOULD LIVE …
Where I am. In time, another house and a renovation here and there … but the place doesn’t really matter, it’s all about the people for me.
HOME MEANS …
I am very lucky to have a large caring family. I have four brothers and sisters who all live within four hours of each other, Mum and Dad, Aunty Pam and Uncle Richard who have helped Claire and I with the vineyard so much, and me individually with the realities of being a single working mum to four kids.