Ahead of the announcement of the winners of the 2016 Australian Women in Wine Awards on Tuesday November 15 (find a celebration event near you) we take a closer look at our fabulous finalists in the Cellar Door Person category, so you can get to know your #winechicks!
This year our finalists for Cellar Door Person of the Year are (in alphabetical order):
- Rebecca Barr, Eden Valley SA
- Renee Brown, Swan Valley WA
- Kara Hood, Yarra Valley VIC
- Peta Serafin, Riverina NSW
Rebecca Barr, Eden Valley SA
Meet Bec, owner and manager of Fernfield Wines, a boutique winery and cellar door in Eden Valley.
After starting her career as a chemical engineer in mining, a life-changing car accident left Bec with serious injuries, and prompted her and her husband Scott to leave their stable lives behind to fulfil their dream of owning a winery.
Bec is now the chief winemaker and cellar door manager for Fernfield Wines, and the current winner of the Barossa cellar door person of the year, where judges highlighted her down to earth approach and the opportunity for customers to meet the winemaker.
Over the past year, Bec and Scott have been making, tasting and testing artisan chocolate and have now developed and launched a one-of-a-kind wine and chocolate pairing experience. Bec now performs a personally guided tasting of wines with each of the artisan chocolates she makes onsite specifically to match each of her boutique wines.
Renee Brown, Swan Valley WA
Renee Brown is a passionate wine drinker, dog lover and cellar door manager; in that order.
She adds warmth, fun and personality into her role at Upper Reach Winery.
Renee came into the wine industry from pharmacy and then lecturing in pharmacy at TAFE. She immediately saw the symbiosis between the two industries, but noticed a large gap in wine specific customer service training.
She has significantly developed her wine knowledge as well as her understanding of marketing and social media.
Renee has worked hard to create a customer service culture within the cellar door and a staff training package for all staff.
“Renee has a passion for customer service. Her drive to find the wine to suit every visitor’s palate and their lifestyle, is fantastic. Renee is always looking for ways we can improve things for customers. She offers a five-star wine experience.” said Laura Pearse, Upper Reach’s proprietor.
Kara Hood, Yarra Valley VIC
Kara is a life-long local of the Yarra Valley.
Her interest in hospitality was sparked while ‘helping out’ as a youngster at the Healesville Picnic Races, which lead to a hospitality certificate and ultimately studying a Bachelor of Business. During this time she applied for a wait staff position at De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate’s Locale Restaurant… which didn’t work out after Kara dropped a few too many forks on her trial day!
Luckily De Bortoli were also looking for a weekend bookings staff member and offered Kara the job as she had a ‘nice phone voice’.
Following University, Kara took off to see the world and upon returning (penniless, yet with an increased passion for wine) contacted De Bortoli for casual work. 18 years later and Kara is still working at De Bortoli Wines, having been promoted through the ranks to be the Cellar Door Manager…. a position she is immensely proud of.
Peta Serafin, Riverina NSW
Peta has worked for the Calabria family since 2011. During this time the cellar door has been awarded “Gourmet Traveller” Riverina Star Cellar Door for 5 consecutive years. Peta has tripled the member data base and increased sales by 100%. This growth has come from maximising each visitors average spend, excellent wine knowledge, and superior customer service, constantly offering a memorable experience.
Peta has built an outstanding team who share her desire for always going the extra mile to ensure customers feel valued. Also shared is her enthusiasm for wine, tourism and showcasing the wonderful Riverina region.
Peta with her husband of 21 years have 5 awesome sons, yes 5 and yes all boys! As a family they enjoy being active and creating memories together.
Friendly, energetic, driven, these words can describe Peta. She chooses to leave nothing in reserve. Busy people just get things done!
The announcement of the winners of all six categories of the 2016 Australian Women in Wine Awards will be streamed via live broadcast at 7:30pm AEDST on Tuesday 15 November. Watch live from home or better yet – join a celebration near you or register your own!