Our People

Rodney Kempe

Chief Winemaker – Since 2000

Hunter Valley born and bred, Rod started in the wine industry in 1988. Working vintages for Brian McGuigan and Rothbury Estate under the great Len Evans, he learned about the nuances of Hunter wine styles. Rod joined Lake’s Folly as Chief Winemaker in 2000 and has never looked back. Winning Australian Wine of the Year (Jeremy Oliver) for his first Lake’s Folly vintage and being awarded Australia’s Most Collected Cabernet Blend and 2nd Most Collected Chardonnay (Wine Ark), are a couple of his achievements. But it is Max Lake’s words ringing in his ears, when Max proclaimed: “under you, the wines have never looked better” that give Rod the greatest satisfaction. He is the proud custodian of the Folly style and honoured to be carrying on a great tradition.

Peter Payard

Assistant Winemaker – Since 1984

Pete commenced at Lake's Folly in 1984 and has worked here continuously since. As Assistant Winemaker, he reflects the 'heart and soul' of the Folly, having worked closely with both Max and Stephen Lake during his time here, and then alongside Rod Kempe since 2000. Pete possesses a loyalty, knowledge and passion for the place that is second to none.

Jason Locke

Vineyard Manager – Since 2002

Jason’s commitment to the vineyard is uncompromising. He has a fastidious approach to his work that sees Lake’s Folly vineyard being described by many as “consistently, the best looking site in the Valley”. The pursuit of excellence in the vineyard is the starting point (and most significant part) of making great wines, year in, year out.

Sandra Kempe

Marketing & Sales – Since 2001

Possibly our most important team member, Sandra wears many hats. In the wine industry since 1989, Sandra worked in trade and direct sales and marketing roles at Rothbury Estate and Tyrrell’s Wines, prior to joining the team at Lake’s Folly in 2001, and is responsible for looking after our very loyal members and mailing list. She is also the marketing and sales manager; social media and events coordinator; and IT troubleshooter – the ‘engine room’ of our small operation! More often than not, Sandra is the contact person when our members and customers phone or email.

Roger Paterson

Cellar Door Manager – Since 2007

Roger’s family founded Hunter winery Chateau Pato in 1978, with Roger getting his start in the industry at Terrace Vale vineyard in 1982. He has held cellar door manager positions at a number of high profile Hunter Valley wineries such as Rothbury Estate (during Len Evans’s tenure), and Brokenwood Wines. Roger’s personality endears him to all who meet him, and he is a very well-liked and respected identity in the region. It’s no accident that Lake’s Folly has been named Winner in Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine’s annual ‘Australia’s Best Cellar Doors’ Awards for 2015, 2016 and 2017.

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