Meet The Team
Meet the Team
Throughout the course of history certain stars have aligned which leave us in awe of the Universe’ power and plan:
Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan both deciding Chicago is where they’d like to play basketball, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin emerging from the rubble of the late 60’s to give birth to the greatest era of rock n roll we will ever see, to present day with Damian North and Behn Payten: two ships that could have so easily passed in the night, but didn’t, because it was mid-January and daylight savings was in full effect. Which is a great result for us at No. 7 Healesville.
We are delighted to announce that Damian is taking up the mantle of Young Winemakers Program Coordinator; mentoring, instructing, building confidence, moving hearts, generally being a good guy. Behn will assume the role of No 7 Winemaker, overseeing creation, invention and innovation while maintaining a firm grip on the overall proceedings alongside Damian. Together they’re No. 7’s dynamic duo, Healesville’s Siegfried and Roy if you will, and will no doubt be incredible mentors, advisers and friends to all who come through the doors.
From the lauded floors of iconic Sydney restaurants (Tetsuya’s of Rozelle and Pier at Rose Bay) to the green pastures of Oregon, USA, Damian North’s career in wine has been full tilt from day one. Having begun his career as a sommelier in Sydney, Damian soon realised his passion for wine extended beyond curation, and into creation. Damian studied winemaking at Charles Sturt University before moving to the Yarra Valley where he spent a number of years as assistant winemaker at TarraWarra Estate. His love for pinot noir lured him to the evergreen slopes of Oregon, where he set-up home with his wife and two children for three years making nothing but pinot noir at the renowned Benton-Lane Winery. After a remarkable few years in America, the allure of Chardonnay carried him to internationally renowned winery Leeuwin Estate in Margaret River, WA. Five years making wine at Leeuwin Estate took Damian’s wine making to a whole new level.
Having always dreamt of starting his own label, Damian returned to the Yarra Valley where he launched Journey Wines, sourcing exceptional fruit from vineyards throughout the Yarra Valley and Heathcote. Now the journey continues as he takes up the helm at No 7, we’re delighted to have you Damo!
Behn Payten is something of a legend in the Yarra Valley, coming from a wine family (Behn’s dad Pete Payten set up some of the most respected vineyards in the region) Behn’s vigneron voyage began at the tender age of five, driving the family tractor through the vineyard helping his old man. As the years went by Behn continued to work among the rolling hills of the Yarra Valley: “When the money ran out after travelling, working a vintage always seemed the best way to get cashed up so I could get the hell out of Healesville again…though that plan never really worked as I now own a house and a business in Healesville (laughs)”.
In 2008 Behn Payten and good friend Troy Jones released their inaugural vintage under their label Payten & Jones, and in late 2017 the Payten & Jones cellar door opened in Healesville. Throughout that near-decade Behn has been heavily involved in all things Yarra Valley, from being a key player in the Four Pillars team to head cider maker at Napoleone Brewery and Cider house – pretty incredible for a bloke who, as a kid, couldn’t wait to get out of Healesville!
A remarkable wine maker and an even better bloke, we’re glad you stuck around mate!
Bright, enthusiastic, passionate and fun, Gabrielle Sych has officially joined the No.7 team as our Venue Manager. Watch this space for what is sure to be a riveting, revealing and uplifting bio on the one and only Gabs!
Bio coming soon…