The man behind Hawkers Gate is James Hastwell. James' introduction to grapegrowing and winemaking began in 1988 when his parents and their friends bought land in McLaren Vale and began a vineyard known as Hastwell and Lightfoot

Since then, he has worked for several McLaren Vale wineries including Kay Brothers, Haselgrove Wines, Rosemount Estate and Maglieri. He has also worked for Cardinale, the super premium arm of Kendall-Jackson in Napa, California.

James obtained his Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Oenology) at the University of Adelaide's Waite campus in 2001. However he became restless early on and set up and managed the Ashcroft vineyard in 1999 and started Hawkers Gate in vintage 2000. He then set about building a brand new winery in 2003.