When Janelle Boynton (nee Marsden) relocated from St Kilda to Porepunkah she had not anticipated the journey that lay ahead of her or the extent that she and Kel would develop the winery as a team.
Now a busy mother to two adorable children, she transformed herself from the urban chic St Kilda Project Manager, and has revelled in her multiple roles in the winery, regional tourism and the community and regional economic development sectors. Janelle’s savvy business approach has injected a new level of commercial acumen to the Boynton estate that extends to mentoring young, upcoming business owners in the region as well as the support and leadership she provides the fabulous team that make up the FEATHERTOP family.
Born in nearby Wangaratta, Janelle studied at Deakin University before going on to complete an Honours degree in Italy and a Masters of Architecture. While Janelle and Kel affectionately refer to themselves as: “the winemaker that builds and the architect who drinks” it was the strength of their commitment, and through Janelle’s determination, she was able to purchase the 50% ownership of the winery that Kel had previously sold to business partners.
It was a move that saw a refocusing of Janelle and Kel’s combined energies and has spearheaded the growth of the winery business that followed. Between the two of them they have refurbished every aspect of the business, all the while building on, and adhering to, Kel’s original vision.
Although the business has grown with the development of the Feathertop team, Janelle still oversees the inside jobs – Marketing, Sales, Finance and HR, while Kel takes a pivotal role in overseeing the outside jobs of Viticulture and Winemaking.
A strong networker and excellent communicator, Janelle takes a collaborative approach to all of her ventures that inspires stakeholders to work towards a vision. She was instrumental in the rebranding of the winery FEATHERTOP label after the 2003 bushfires, recognising the value of the natural elements that support this thriving business and achieving a $300,000 turnaround that provided the foundation to establish the winery as a solid, profit making venture.
Other achievements include the project management of many State and Local Government Architectural projects including the Wodonga City Council Public Library and Arts Space, the La Trobe University Soccer Pavilion and Tallangatta Library.
With her love of the outdoors, art, great food and wine, along with her natural leadership qualities, Janelle has carved a niche in the broader development of the regional economy holding Board positions with the Victorian Government’s Ministerial Advisory Council for Food and Wine Tourism, and the North East Food Cluster, as well Chair of North East Valley’s Food and Wine and Hume Regional Development Australia committee. Janelle was a member on the Victorian Tourism Board and in 2015 she was appointed Chair of the Regional Development Australia (RDA) Committee Hume Region which focuses on regional economic development and facilitating local projects that aim to make a difference in their local communities.