My name is Brenden (Brenno). I work as a carpenter during the day, and by night (and any other waking moment), I become a Wine Animal. My journey into wine began around the age of 30, but it didn't truly become a passionate pursuit until I was around 33. Wine evolved into an all-consuming hobby, and as my passion grew, I saw an opportunity to turn it into a legitimate business.
I come from what many would consider a typical Aussie family: my mom, dad, and a sister, the standard four-person family. We grew up in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, with both parents working tirelessly to provide for us. My mom, a dressmaker turned savvy business entrepreneur, is now one of the largest wedding dress retailers and wholesalers in all of Australia. This is probably where I honed my ability to sell and developed a tough business skin. My father was a corporate business development manager, assisting large corporations in expanding their markets. Both Mom and Dad played a significant role in helping me understand how businesses operate, enabling me to see things from different angles and create a more effective business model.
After some post-high school exploration with university and jobs, I realized that pursuing a trade would suit me best. My dad recognized my clumsiness and steered me toward carpentry, a decision that turned out to be fortunate. I'm so accident-prone that I could start a fire by breathing on a match. Carpentry has not only provided me with valuable life skills but also allowed me to travel and raise a young family.
I'm happily married to a stunning wife, and we have three young children. Juggling three jobs (carpenter, wine enthusiast, and winery worker), family, personal recovery, and life's general challenges can be tough. Life has taught me that if you find yourself in a great mental space, things around you tend to fall into place. Having a young family has allowed me to maintain a childlike spirit, be adventurous, and use my zest for life in a positive way. It also enables me to be expressive and shape someone's life. My wife and I spent many years traveling, working most of the year, and exploring different cultures and lifestyles worldwide.
My goals for this business venture are to allow my family to travel and spend as much time together as possible. I aim to showcase the Yarra Valley to tourists, locals, and wine lovers through tours and wine sales. Whether you're heading to the Yarra Valley and need recommendations or guidance, I'll create itineraries, from entry-level experiences to luxury packages, highlighting the hidden gems and local charm that make the region special.
It hasn't always been smooth sailing. For a significant portion of my adult life, I struggled with addiction and kept a secret life hidden from those closest to me and the outside world. Dealing with addiction and recovery taught me how strong I could be, both mentally and physically. Overcoming what once seemed impossible became a daily habit. There's a large void in your life after recovering from addiction, an almost empty space you never knew existed. Wine became my outlet, although it worried those closest to me, who feared it might become another addiction. But for me, it was much more than that; it was a calling.
I won't say that red wine or white wine saved my life, but living near the Yarra Valley and its wineries allowed me to fully immerse myself in the world of wine. Wine became my way to communicate with the world, express my true self, and overcome addiction. This is how Wine Animal was born. It started as an import business, bringing in celebrity Rose, Hampton Water, a French wine made by Gerard Bertrand, Jesse, and Jon Bon Jovi. It was a fantastic introduction to the world of wine, but it didn't last long before unforeseen challenges (no name-dropping here) caused a shift to retail. Selling wine as a retailer became a way to keep my dream alive during a challenging period in human history.
Wine Animal isn't just a store or business; it's an extension of me. It aligns with my personality, style, and overall dreams for this brand. Wine Animal aims to make wine accessible to everyone, providing a unique way of connecting and bringing the wine community together. I'm tirelessly working to create opportunities for consumers to enjoy behind-the-scenes tours, taste wines not available to the general public, and truly experience the best of the magical region I call home.
I invite you to join me on this journey. I'll do my best to keep it fun, informative, creative, and, most importantly, a true representation of myself. Feel free to ask me anything, suggest content or posts, and recommend wines I should try. After all, it's about sharing this wonderful fruit juice with as many people as possible.
What We Do
The Yarra Valley
Living in the Yarra Valley, it's a true privilege to offer you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at what's happening in this remarkable region. I'll not only be showcasing the finest aspects of the Yarra Valley, which extend beyond wines and wineries, but I'll also introduce you to the individuals who have shaped this incredible region into what it is today.
From charming cafes and restaurants to local produce and dedicated farmers, there's a world of stories waiting to be discovered in the background. To truly love and appreciate a place, you must first understand the intricacies that lie beneath the surface. Let me introduce you to the faces and brands that have contributed to the greatness of the Yarra Valley. Join me for exclusive content and interviews with local legends, and immerse yourself in all things Yarra Valley.
For so long, I hid behind a screen or glass, believing that wine was an untameable beast beyond my knowledge and capabilities. It dawned on me that a change was necessary, that someone had to make wine more accessible, easier to understand, and dispel all those crazy myths and stereotypes (you know the ones!). As a self-taught individual with limited knowledge in wine, I want to offer a straightforward guide on how to enjoy wine and make the most out of this marvelous grape juice. If there's something you'd like to know or need assistance with, don't hesitate to ask me. I am committed to responding to everyone; in fact, it's my mission to do so.
Wine Animal's Experiences
My dream is to open up wineries to wine enthusiasts at all levels, enabling education and fostering appreciation by connecting consumers with the people who craft the grape juice we hold dear. I've already established partnerships with several Yarra Valley wineries, offering behind-the-scenes tours and tastings, and I'm committed to expanding these opportunities.
Whether you're seeking a solo adventure or a luxurious group experience, Wine Animal is dedicated to curating unforgettable Yarra Valley experiences for you. We're here to craft customized itineraries and provide private group tours, ensuring your Yarra Valley journey is one that you'll cherish forever.