Dakar rally racer and cattleman Richie Hayes reckons growing table grapes in Central Australia is just like producing cows.

Story By Kerry Sharp

Central Australian cattleman Richie Hayes didn’t have a clue about how to grow grapes when he took over managing a fledgling vineyard on historic Undoolya Station in 2004. But the fun-loving father-of-three, motor mechanic, shameless ‘rev-head’ and three-time competitor in the infamous Dakar Rally, isn’t the type to let a small thing like that get in his way. “My mates did wonder what a cow cocky was doing getting into grapes,” he laughs. “Needless to say, I learnt in a big hurry. There’s certainly been plenty of trial and error.”
Today, 45,000 Menindee seedless grapevines thrive under drip irrigation on 60 hectares of red desert soil on one of Central Australia’s oldest working cattle stations.

This story excerpt is from Issue #92

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2014