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 Owner / Operator of the Year category, so you can get to know your #winechicks!

This year our finalists for Owner / Operator of the Year are (in alphabetical order):

Sponsored by Halliday

  • Eliza Brown, Rutherglen VIC
  • Sarah Collingwood, Canberra ACT
  • Jenny Semmler, Riverland SA
  • Kim Tyrer, Great Southern WA

Eliza Brown, Rutherglen VIC


Eliza Hero HR


Eliza Brown is from a fourth generation wine family from Victoria Australia.

She studied advertising business at RMIT Melbourne and eventually earned a role as an account executive at the international advertising firm J. Walter Thompson.

On a rainy winters day in Melbourne and an hour and a half in traffic, Eliza decided it was time for a change of scene and moved to All Saints Estate winery in Wahgunyah in 2001 to join her family business.

Currently, Eliza is the CEO of All Saints Estate (1864), St Leonards Vineyard (1860), Mount Ophir Estate(1897) and Thousand Pound Wine Bar (2015) all located in Rutherglen Victoria.

Eliza likes to contribute to the broader wine industry and issues; she is currently sitting on the board of Brown Brothers, Wine Australia and the Agricultural Advisory Council.

When not immersed in wine, she enjoys spending time with her beautiful daughter’s, the region of North East Victoria, and having a competitive game of tennis against her husband, Denis.



Sarah Collingwood, Canberra ACT


Sarah Collingwood2 - 1 (1)


Sarah Collingwood has managed Four Winds Vineyard for the last six years, a micro-winery and vineyard in the Canberra District. Aside from the cellar door, vineyard and winery, Sarah has worked with the community on the recent 4 Tonne Project, which raised over $46,000 for refugees and asylum seekers in Canberra, among other projects. She is also the treasurer for the Canberra District Wine Industry Association and sits on the Yass Valley Council’s Economic Development Committee.

Over the last 24 months Sarah has been instrumental in expanding the winery using a crowd-funding campaign, re-designing the packaging and branding for the business, securing a new distributor, overseeing the continued financial growth of the business, employing more staff members and improving guests’ experience at the cellar door, resulting in three consecutive visitor experience awards from 2013-2015.

Outside of the business Sarah is the mother of 2 and aims to ride her mountain bike and screen print whenever time permits.



Jenny Semmler, Riverland SA


Jenny Semmler


After 16 years as a retail and hospital pharmacist, Jenny Semmler completed winemaking studies and became quality assurance manager for a large wine producer. Now she’s a winemaker in her own right, owning 919 Wines and two vineyards in the Riverland.

Jenny’s vineyards specialise in high quality, sustainable production of certified organic wine under her own label and Jenny also undertakes client liaison for contract winemaking undertaken on behalf of other producers and their fruit.

Showing the courage to be ahead of the curve, Jenny decided to make table wine from hot climate grape varieties such as Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Durif and Touriga Nacional when 80 per cent of the market was dominated by cool climate varieties.

She has been a champion of the Riverland wine industry for a decade, and sits on the Board of Destination Riverland (tourism) and the Marketing Subcommittee of Riverland Wine.

She actively fosters and mentors other small Riverland producers to encourage the regional industry to become vibrant and diverse.



Kim Tyrer, Great Southern WA


CEO  Winemaker Kim Tyrer photo by Jeff Atkinson


Kim Tyrer is the CEO & Winemaker of Galafrey Wines. Galafrey was est in 1977 and Kim was born in 1978. A family business, her father passed away in 2003 when Kim was 25 years old. An only child, Kim step into her father’s role as CEO & Winemaker. After a steep learning curve, and a  few hurdles, Galafrey continues to be a strong and well respected brand in the wine industry.

Driven by pride and family history Kim market’s her wine through story and empowerment of place. With strong leadership skills she is President of the Mt Barker Wine Producers, sits on the board of the Great Southern Wine Producers and has been newly appointed to the Wine Industry APC Committee of WA.

In Event management she is Chair of Grapes and Gallops Festival which attracts 2000+ people to Mt Barker.



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!


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