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simonandfrances…Our story is one of love... now entwined in vines!

It all started in The Royal Oak, Launceston, as many happy marriages began, back in October 1992. Simon was studying to be a Merchant Naval Officer at the Maritime College and Frances had recently returned from Melbourne after years at Boarding School and working in Victoria. Love at first sight.. Yes, it exists - from the length of the crowded passage. Then inseparable – for a relationship that was going to be based on LONG periods of separation! In the next few weeks  Simon sat his final exams and left for the first of many swings at sea. After 8 weeks he returned – with a proposal – and we married in Richmond, Tasmania in November, 1993.



CattleAfter small farming ventures in Lilydale whilst Simon went to and fro on ships, we decided to further commit to farming endeavours by moving closer to his home turf of NSW. We bought a cattle property high on the Great Dividing Range just out of Murrurundi, North of Scone and South of Tamworth – country still best mustered from horseback.



Simon boatDuring this time, Simon continued his career at sea and we managed a juggle between Simon going away for Swings of 3-6 months on oil tankers, and Frances joining him for shorter periods. We chased each other around the world on ships, visiting places like South Africa, North Korea, Cilicap in Indonesia, Shetland Islands, The Caribbean, Karachi in Pakistan, Singapore, Bilbao in Spain, Thailand and the Persian Gulf. Choppering off a ship coming round Cape of Good Hope was a champagne moment; North Korea was an eye opener - and taking a ship to the wrecking yards in China an experience! Pirates still exist – extra vigilance was required on deck watch especially around Africa and the notorious Malacca Straits of Indonesia.



FrancesandbabyEventually, we had babies. They are harder to leave than each other! Our son Lachlan was born in 2002 and Simon found work ashore in a vineyard in the Hunter Valley – so the passion for vines was ignited. Although vineyard wages eventually encouraged him back to sea, the seed was planted, and the isolation of raising kids on the fringes of the Outback was challenging with Simon away. Our daughter Catriona followed in 2005 and the Gatenby side was calling us - it was time go home!



For anyone born in Tasmania, we believe the call Home is strong! We may leave for a while, but many of us come home if we can – because it is such a great place to raise families.  For Frances, nee Gatenby, who is 7th generation Tasmanian, born on a Northern Midlands farm and who grew up with views of Ben Lomond and the Western Tiers, there was a narrow corridor of property to look at. Fate played a hand and “Valleyfield” Longford became ours in 2005. Although it took a little adjusting to get used to being back amongst people again!


Our delight now is in watching the changing seasons over those mountains on either side – and from our secret little vineyard behind the hawthorn hedges, watch the sunset, the moon rise and the Wedge Tail Eagles circle from their eerie in the nearby plantation, whilst the hares scamper amongst the vines.


What we love… Each other, our family, our vineyard, our wine! Our expanding group of friends who have the same values. Wine is nothing if not enjoyed amongst good friends, and Love is nothing if it does not include these.


Wine Tasting


Our Vineyard is open 7 days by appointment for Wine Tasting and Sales. Please call 0417 423 889 


  • 873 Illawara Road, Longford, Tasmania, Australia

  • (+61) 0417 423 889

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Liquor License No. 82644 

Under the Liquor Licensing Act 1990 it is an offense for liquor to be delivered to a person under the age of 18 years
Penalty: Fine not exceeding 20 penalty units for a person under the age of 18 years to purchase liquor
Penalty: Fine not exceeding10 penalty units

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