Our People

Professionals Dedicated to Excellence

Gapsted Wines in the heart of the Alpine Valley Victoria has a talented team of winemakers and wine industry professionals who are dedicated to excellence and uncompromising in all that they do. 


Shayne Cunningham

Shayne Cunningham - Gapsted WinesOriginally from the Napa Valley in California, Shayne (pictured with his wife Margaret) has honours degrees in Oenology, Brewing and Viticulture from UC Davis. His wine industry career began as a winemaker, where he progressed to production manager and assistant plant manager after 13 years with Christian Brothers Winery in Napa Valley.

In 1989 Shayne migrated to Australia to work for Miranda Wines in Griffith NSW as chief winemaker and assistant general manager. During this time Shayne’s position was pivotal in significantly increasing sales, purchasing a winery in the Barossa Valley, establishing a foothold in the King Valley and leading a successful winemaking team that won a variety of wine show medals and awards.

Shayne’s focus shifted to North East Victoria in 1994 when, along with fellow director John Cavedon and company, developed the King Valley River Vineyard. In August 1996, with the help of his fellow directors, Shayne was instrumental in developing the Victorian Alps Wine Company (now trading as Gapsted Wines), with the first vintage of 850 tonnes being crushed in 1997. Shayne has served in key positions at Gapsted Wines since its inception, including as chief winemaker and managing director. Shayne has a passion for the King and Alpine Valleys, and remains focused on making great tasting wines, delivering value for all wine lovers.

John Cavedon

John and Helen Cavedon - Gapsted WinesJohn (pictured with his wife Helen) was born at Gapsted and is the little boy pictured pushing the car, along with his mother in our “Tobacco Road” label. This iconic Australian photo was taken in 1956, a kilometre down the road from where Gapsted winery stands today. After many hard years share farming tobacco with his parents, Marcello and Adelia, John purchased a property to grow grapes in the King Valley.

It comes as no surprise that John, Helen and their son Johnny have a strong connection to the wine industry. John was the first Italian to plant grapes in the King Valley in 1977 and Helen’s great, great Italian grandfather, Cristoforo Scandolera established a 20 acre vineyard and winery in 1874 at Charlton, Victoria. John and Cristoforo had a lot in common, even though they were generations apart. Both of their families came from Northern Italy, both were pioneers and both constantly searched for new grape varieties.

Their story continues today as it is with the same proud Italian heritage, dedication and passion that the Cavedon family continue to produce premium quality wine grapes from their highly regarded, King Valley Vineyard.

Pat (and Kevin) Murtagh

Pat Murtagh - Gapsted WinesPat (pictured with his wife Rhonda) and Kevin Murtagh grew up on their parent’s property which was purchased in 1947. The property which was originally farmed for dairy, beef cattle and tobacco was converted to a vineyard in 1979. 

In 1980 Pat and Kevin bought the estate from their parents and took over the management of the property. Hard work, perseverance, and a bit of good luck has transformed their vineyard into one of the largest in the King Valley.  Today their vineyard produces twelve different varieties which includes our premium Tempranillo, Saperavi, and Durif.

Pat and Kevin are still committed to Gapsted Wines and have a keen interest in wine marketing.



Matt Fawcett - CEO and Chief Winemaker

Matt Fawcett - Gapsted Wines

Matt joined Gapsted Wines in November 2015 as Production Manager and Winemaker, and was appointed CEO and Chief Winemaker of Gapsted Wines in November 2016. Matt graduated from Charles Sturt University with degrees in both Viticulture and Oenology (Winemaking), and has over 28 years’ of experience in the wine industry.

Matt’s previously worked as Group Wine Supply, Packaging and Logistics Manager with Australian Vintage Pty Ltd, and has also worked in the Hunter Valley, Riverina, Murray Darling, North East Victoria along with a couple of vintages in France.

With a passion for North East Victoria and the High Country, Matt moved back to the King and Alpine Valleys with his partner Janine to ‘Live the Dream’. His goals are to create and promote premium wines and the rich diversity the Australian High Country has to offer. 

Kara Hinton - Marketing and Export Coordinator

Kara Hinton - Marketing and Export Coordinator

Kara, who has worked in the wine industry since 2008, joined Gapsted Wines in 2011. Previous to joining Gapsted Wines, Kara worked at a regional winery for three years in a sales, marketing and export role.

Prior to this she managed her own business for five years.

Kara's role as export, sales and marketing coordinator is diverse and challenging. She's been integral in helping develop Gapsted Wines' international footprint, and we now export to more than nine countries across the globe. In addition, Kara is also responsible for developing and managing the winery's marketing and advertising activities.

Her focus is to grow Gapsted Wines' export business and provide excellent customer service to our export customers. 

Mitchell McAuliffe - Cellar Door and Restaurant Manager  

Mitchell McAuliffeMitchell, who has worked in the hospitality industry since he was 16 years of age, joined Gapsted Wines in 2011.

A qualified chef, he worked in this role for a popular establishment in Wangaratta. Preceding this, he worked at the cellar door of a Rutherglen-based winery, from which he began to develop an interest in food and wine pairings.

Mitchell oversees all aspects of our Cellar Door operations, including the restaurant, events, private functions and weddings.


Glenn Soars – National Sales Manager

Glenn joined Gapsted Wines in 2005, bringing with him more than 20 years' experience in the wine industry in NSW and Queensland. Based in Queensland, Glenn manages a sales team that operates across Queensland, NSW and Victoria. 

Simon Parker – Events and Digital Coordinator

Simon started at Gapsted Wines in mid-2016 after more than 15 years in the media industry in North America and Australia.

A qualified journalist, with a BA in Communications and First Class Honours from Western Sydney University, Simon’s role is focused on developing the organisation’s Wine Club, digital presence and major wine sale events.






David Thompson - Production Manager

David Thompson - Gapsted WinesDavid has been involved in the wine industry for more than 37 years and has spent more than 34 of those as a winemaker. Following his first vintage, in 1980, he studied wine science and has successfully gone on to produce more than 30 vintages in some of the most iconic wine regions across Australia, such as the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra and Margaret River.

In addition to this, David worked four vintages in France (two in Bordeaux and two in Languedoc) as well as two successful vintages in Chile, where he lived for a year.

David, whose favourites wine varieties are chardonnay and cabernet, has worked for small boutique wineries through to large scale production plants, with his largest wine crush coming in at 119,451 tonnes.

David’s current role covers production management, vintage intake, winery management, wine sourcing, bulk wine sales and HACCP.

Toni Pla Bou - Senior Winemaker

Toni Pla Bou - Gapsted Wines2010 saw the arrival of Toni Pla Bou. Toni studied wine making at Charles Sturt University and he also has an honours degree in Philosophy and French.

Toni brings with him vast experience from working in the Swan Valley, Yarra Valley and the Riverina winemaking regions. Along with this he also has worked vintage in Tasmania and as a flying winemaker in France in the regions of Rousillon, Corsica, Gaillac and Corbières. 

He is now our senior winemaker in charge of all our white wines. 



Michael Cope Williams – Senior Winemaker

Michael Cope-Williams - Gapsted Wines

In 1999 award winning winemaker Michael Cope-Williams joined the Victorian Alps Winery as winemaker responsible for all Gapsted’s bottled wines. 

Before arriving here, he gained a wealth of experience while working vintages in Champagne and Burgundy in France, Napa and Oregon in the USA, and 17 vintages in and around Australia including the Hunter Valley, Clare Valley, Macedon and the Pyrenees.

Michael has also consulted to, and made sparkling wine for over 30 other Australian wineries since graduating from Roseworthy in 1987.

He is now our senior winemaker in charge of all our red wines. 


Blair Jensen – Winemaker and Cellar Hand Manager

Blair Jensen - Gapsted WinesAfter completing a degree in Fisheries Management and Aquaculture, Blair managed a liquor store and found a passion for wine. While completing a Wine Science degree at CSU Wagga, Blair worked in Echuca for six years, followed by vintages in Victoria’s Yarra Valley.

Blair spent five years in a winemaking role in Mildura – which included a vintage in Burgundy – before his switch to Gapsted Wines, a move motivated by his desire to live somewhere a little cooler and his interest in alternative varieties like Fiano and Saperavi. His current role ensures no day is the same as the previous, with cellar, operations and logistics and wine making components.