DOWIE DOOLE came to fruition in 1995, when architect/grape grower Drew Dowie joined forces with international banker/grape grower Norm Doole and Leigh Gilligan, grape grower and veteran wine marketer.
They realised from the start that the strength of DOWIE DOOLE was the suite of widely-varying premium vineyards that the partners could draw upon.
From the coastal south-east of the prime Willunga Basin, through Blewitt Springs, onto the cooler Willunga escarpment, and right into the higher country over the ridge, these vineyards provide a range of flavours and ripening timeframes that are second to none in this beautiful region on the Gulf St Vincent, patron of viticulturers.
Born and educated in Winnipeg, Canada, Norm Doole has a very busy life. During his time as Vice President National Bank of Canada (Asia) based in Japan, he visited McLaren Vale once too often. He bumped into architect Drew Dowie in 1984, had him design a home on the Range, and by 1993 he was growing grapes in the revered vineyard he’d bought with his wife Jane on California Road. Norm’s fruit is sought after by some highly glamorous names, but the best goes to DOWIE DOOLE. Norm’s a Director of Boar’s Rock winery, a Board member of McLaren Vale Wine Industry Ltd, and Chairman of the Willunga Basin Water Co, a private business that supplies McLaren Vale vineyards with recycled water. When the Founders decided to sell the business to Chris Thomas, Norm bought shares back in and remains on the Board of Directors.
Drew’s from a great Adelaide family that’s overloaded with artists, adventurers and intellectuals. He’s a partner in Angus + Dowie, an architectural firm specializing in winery design. With his partner Lulu Lunn and their daughters, they live on their beautiful old Tintookie Vineyard at Blewitt Springs in the northern uplands of McLaren Vale. Lulu’s the viti boss: she was Cellar Manager at Wirra Wirra Vineyards and spent years working with David Paxton, one of Australia’s most far-sighted viticulture consultants. Drew retired in 2015 when the business sold.
Having graduated from Macquarie and Adelaide Universities, and done his time teaching secondary school, Leigh has managed national and international wine marketing and sales for thirty years. Having served long stints at Wirra Wirra Vineyards, McLaren Vale, and Rymill Winery, Coonawarra, he became a Director at Boar’s Rock winery and managed DOWIE DOOLE on a day-today basis for many years. Leigh previously owned the Old Rifle Range Vineyard in the foothills which produces dry-grown Shiraz. Leigh retired officially in 2015 and remains as a consultant at DOWIE DOOLE and occasionally mans the Tasting Room.
DOWIE DOOLE Founders - Drew Dowie, Norm Doole & Leigh Gilligan