When Kay and Gerald Norton-Knight first moved into a ramshackle pisé cottage on 80 acres, called ‘Rosby’, outside of Mudgee as newlyweds in 1983, they dreamt of making a home and raising a family. Five acres of garden and four daughters later, Gerry began planting grapevines on the sheltered, sloping block he’d been eyeing off for years, officially calling himself a vigneron when his first cabernet buds burst in 1996.
To find a home for his Rosby vintages, Gerry turned out a few hundred mud bricks to make a cellar-door hut overlooking the vineyard, followed closely by the purchase of a neighbouring property and immaculate guesthouse conversion.
While Gerry was in the vineyard and his hut, Kay was busily putting some finishing touches to her own lofty dreams, completing a fine arts degree and opening a private print and sculpture studio in the garden. Soon came an impressive line-up of visiting artists for an annual Rosby workshop program, as well as an outdoor sculpture exhibition that would quickly become the largest in Regional NSW.
In 2011, one of Kay and Gerry’s daughters, Amber and her husband Cameron, joined the family business to manage marketing and events. They and their three young children are very much Mudgee locals. The other three Norton-Knight girls and their families are never far away, between explaining Instagram to Gerry and telling Kay to slow down.
Kay and Gerry’s hazy 1980s dream has become a living reality, with the Rosby stable not only making a home for the Norton-Knight family, but also a vivid backdrop for a new generation in the garden, the hut, the guesthouse, the studio, and the vineyard.
The Viticulturist: Gerry Norton-Knight
Gerry’s long on females with his wife and four daughters, which could explain why he spends so much time in the vineyard. After spending 20 years as an accountant, Gerry finds walking up and down rows of grape vines all day a highly stimulating activity by comparison. He usually divides his time by talking to the vines, making more mud bricks, and hiding the latest Rosby vintage from his artist wife, Kay.
The Resident Artist: Kay Norton-Knight
Kay is a woman of many talents, with gardening, painting, design and original dance among her top claims to local fame. When she’s not tending to the lavender patch or finding new jobs for Gerry, Kay can be found in her art studio with a paintbrush or modelling clay in hand. Known for her large-scale and often controversial artworks dotted around Mudgee, Kay admits she is more creative after a glass of 2012 Rosby Shiraz.
The Organiser: Amber Norton-Knight (& Family)
Most families have a creative type hidden somewhere in their tree, and Amber fills those shoes in the Norton-Knight stable. After first working in film and television production and high-profile events marketing in Sydney and Melbourne, Amber moved to Mudgee in mid-2010 when it became clear her parents needed closer supervision. She is now officially responsible for explaining Facebook to Gerry and vetoing Kay's public dance routines.
The Sales Force: Katrina, Millie & Emma Norton-Knight
Emma, Katrina & Millie are the remaining 3 Norton-Knight girls. Although not residing in Mudgee, they are often lured back to Rosby to help out, which they say means they're generally underpaid and overworked. All have extensive experience in sales and marketing, so they are usually the first point of call for Gerry when Kay has drunk her way through the latest season's profits. With a helpful hand on your VISA card and a winning country smile, these three will make stocking up the cellar an occasion worth repeating.