Jayco Founder Gerry Ryan Moves to Yarra Valley with Hubert Estate Winery Project

By on May 1, 2022 0

Wealthy auditor Gerry Ryan is shifting his focus from the regional town of Nagambia to developing a winery and hotel complex in the Yarra Valley.

Ryan, who made his fortune manufacturing Jayco caravans in Dandenong, is expanding his hotel empire with the Friday launch of Hubert Estate in the historic St Hubert winery.

Gerry Ryan (centre) with his son Andy Ryan (right) and Tim Ford of Treasury Wine Estates.Credit:Justin McManus

It is a $70 million conversion of what was once a tin tasting room into a cellar door, wine store, restaurant, event space and Indigenous art gallery. Construction will begin later this year on an 80-room hotel and wellness center.

“They call me Bob the Builder,” Ryan said. “I like to build things and develop them. We have always looked around for quality properties that can offer something different.

Ryan’s impact on Nagambie, where he purchased and developed the Nagambie Lakes Recreation Park and Mitchelton Winery, was so immense that locals nicknamed it “Gerry Town”.

He said he had no intention of moving to the Yarra Valley from his Nagambie property, Limerick Lane, and Hubert Estate was purely a business matter.

Ryan retired from day-to-day operations at Jayco when he turned 65 in 2015. The business boomed during the coronavirus pandemic and now employs 1,500 people.

His hotel interests, run by his son, Andy, include the Prince Hotel in St Kilda, Mitchelton Winery and now Hubert Estate. He also owns production company Global Creatures, which is behind red Mill musical comedy. The show takes place in Melbourne, New York, London and Chicago, and will open in Germany, South Korea and Japan later this year.

Ryan said high-end hospitality and theater was not too different from the caravan holiday business where he made his money.