Daniel “Buckets” Binet, a nickname given to him by a local Hunter identity after his worrying fondness for the TV show, Keeping Up Appearances. Dan was born on the island of Efate, Vanuatu and immigrated to Australia in the early eighties, shortly after independence from France and England. After completing school Dan left for Europe to explore his French heritage and, during his couple of years away, he had the opportunity to pick grapes near the small French town of Colmar, Alsace, to earn a few extra dollars to keep him going. As a result of this experience, and drinking way to much Gewürztraminer, he became completely fascinated with wine and, as he put it, “you can drink and earn money at the same time, they never told you that at the careers day in high school!”
After returning to Australia, Dan embarked on his winemaking career achieving the necessary qualification to land his first job at Bimbadgen Estate working in both the vineyard and winery. A few years later Dan met Alasdair Sutherland owner/ winemaker for Capercaillie Wines. During a world cup rugby match between France and Scotland, Alasdair, an averred Scot and Dan, a pseudo Frenchman, drank and bantered throughout the game which resulted in Alasdair offering Dan a job. During his time at Capercaillie Dan learnt that the little things in winemaking and attention to detail counts and the results speak for themselves. These little lessons resulted in Dan being twice nominated for The Wine Society Young Winemaker of The Year and Hunter Valley Rising Star, great achievements for a relatively short career. After six years with Capercaillie Dan felt the itch to go it alone and start his own label and with a little help from a good friend to Alasdair and Dan, Alex Stuart with wife Di reinvigorated their label, Ballabourneen.
Daniel is making quite a name for himself and his wines are often winning awards …when Dan is not in the winery he can be found channelling Casey Stoner on his beloved dirt bike or en route to the nearest pub upon “Barry” his trusty 17 hand horse.