Jessica Hill-Smith, generational descendent of Yalumba’s founder Samuel Smith, was destined to be involved in the family business. With the winery as a giant playground for Hill-Smith and her two sisters, she spent weekends roaming the winery and vineyards. While never sure what her future might hold, there was no denying the intrinsic value of growing up in the vineyard played in determining her path into the family business.
Hill-Smith completed a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Adelaide before pursuing the world of wine. This saw a vintage in Marlborough New Zealand at the family’s Nautilus Estate, followed by an internship with Negociants UK in London and Wine Australia in Washington DC. Upon returning to Australia, a dream job appeared with LVMH in Sydney, where Hill-Smith joined the luxury drinks business as assistant brand manager for champagne.
After four years managing the prestige brands of Krug, Dom Pérignon and Ruinart, the allure of the bright lights of London triggered a move to the United Kingdom. Aware of London’s influence on the global fine wine world, Hill-Smith knew experience in this market would set her up for what the future might hold at Yalumba. She worked for the Bollinger family as PR manager for their London distributor Mentzendorff. Following two years in the UK, it was time to embark on a chapter that had been waiting her whole life to begin.
After being encouraged to gain experience and outside of the family business, in 2019 Hill-Smith returned to the Barossa and became the sixth generation to enter the family fold, aligning with the winery’s 170-year anniversary.