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 Jessica and her two sisters, she spent the weekends roaming the winery, offices 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.
Jessica completed a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Adelaide. Her career began when South Australian entrepreneur Roberto Cardone employed her as his Marketing Assistant at the Cibo Espresso headquarters in Adelaide. Roberto, an incredible mentor and friend, encouraged Jessica to explore what the wine world had to offer outside of Australia.
The ensuing year saw a vintage in Marlborough NZ at the family’s Nautilus Estate, followed by an internship with Negociants UK in London and Wine Australia in Washington DC. Only after this 12 month journey was it clear that wine was where she belonged. Upon returning to Australia, a dream job appeared with LVMH in Sydney, where Jessica joined the luxury drinks business as their Assistant Brand Manager for Champagne.
After four years managing prestige brands Krug, Dom Pérignon and Ruinart, the allure of the bright lights of London triggered a move to the UK. Aware of London’s influence on the global fine wine world, Jessica knew the experience in this market would set her up for what the future might hold at Yalumba. Jessica worked for the Bollinger family as the PR Manager for their London distributor Mentzendorff. After two years in the UK, it was time to embark on a chapter that had been waiting her whole life to begin.
In Yalumba’s 170th year, Jessica returned to Australia to join the family winemaking business; the sixth generation to enter the family fold. At home in the Yalumba Marketing team, Jessica has put her experience with world renowned brands to work, taking on Yalumba’s icon Rare & Fine collection. Her father Robert took Yalumba into a new era in the 80s and has become an inspirational figure in the Australian wine industry. Luckily he isn’t going anywhere soon, and they can tackle the next chapter of the Yalumba storybook together.