Guy Darling enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy in May 1943. After basic training he joined the mine sweeper HMAS Ballarat as Petty Officer Radar Mechanic. After being discharged from the Navy in 1947, Guy studied mechanical engineering at the University of Melbourne, graduating in 1950. He joined the RAAF as a civilian in the Aeronautical Research and Development Unit, becoming the scientist responsible for all aircraft research and development.
During a secondment to Paris in 1961 as part of the Mirage Selection Team, Guy’s interest in viticulture was sparked, and he began to combine his scientific training with his passion for wine. In 1970 he planted the first commercial acreage grapes in the Upper King Valley, and he was soon followed by many surrounding landowners who recognised the potential of the valley as a grape growing region.
In 1983 he became a founding member of the King Valley Grape Growers’ Association (now the King Valley Vignerons), writing its constitution and serving as president for many years. He worked tirelessly to promote the valley and to promote the welfare of the grape growers and winemakers of the valley. This commitment extended beyond the valley when he joined the board of the Murray Valley Winegrowers in 1998.
He was instrumental in helping to create the Wine Grape Growers Council of Australia (now Wine Grape Growers Australia), a body set up to represent growers at a national as well as regional levels. He served as chairman of this Council. Perhaps his most enduring legacy stems from his foundation work on the Geographical Indications Committee established in 1993 as a statutory body to enable Australia to determine its wine grape-growing regions as required by the European Commission-Australia Wine Agreement.
(1925 – 2008)