Meet the Finalists: Owner / Operator of the Year 2020

Cellar door staff are at the coal face of consumer interaction! This award recognises an outstanding Cellar Door employee, manager, operator, owner (or other relevant title) for their exceptional skills at the cellar door.

This award is proudly sponsored by

Watch the AWIWA 2020 ceremony streamed LIVE from the Langton's TV Studios in Sydney

Hosted by Merrick Watts & Jane Thomson. Tuesday 24 November 7:30pm AEDST.

Congratulations to this year’s Cellar Door Person of the Year finalists!

Jess Greatwich, Krondorf Creek Farm

Jess Greatwich is the co-owner and Managing Director of Krondorf Creek Farm, one of the smallest boutique wine producers in the Barossa Valley. Jess and her partner James Ehrat have spent the past nineteen years bringing a previously abandoned farming property back to life, planting their estate vineyard, and establishing a cellar of soft, fruit-driven red wines that pay their respect to traditional Australian winemaking.

Krondorf Creek Farm is built on the core principles of Provenance, Custodianship, Generosity, Integrity and Respect and Jess seeks to embody these values in their Cellar Door, where she personally hosts every single guest to the property. The only place in the world where they sell their wines is from the restored stone smoke house in the heart of the heritage wine village of Krondorf.

Outside of the wine world, Jess is the convening chair of the Krondorf Road Cellar Door group, Tourism Barossa’s membership manager, a contributing columnist for the Barossa Mag, mother to Georgia and Charlie, partner to James and a pretty good prawn dumpling maker (if she does say so herself).

Paris Hokin, Arlewood Estate

Paris has a background in hospitality and the service industry of more than 15 years, ranging from fine dining restaurants to private ‘at home dining’ in Melbourne and Perth. From 2014 supervisory positions were held at large and small cellar doors in Margaret River. Since 2016 Paris has solely operated all cellar door activities and tastings at Arlewood Estate, Margaret River.

Fast forward to 2020, Paris also acts as Arlewood’s brand ambassador, and has developed a strong partnership with a local Chocolatier, who custom makes chocolates to match Arlewood’s Italian inspired wines, every season. This is now a bookable experience.

Paris has introduced a wine club, new website, CRM software and is behind every social media post and EDM. She has developed a new brand for Arlewood called Villaggio from inception to bottle (name, style, packaging). As well as styling the cellar door to create a warm, cosy and inviting vibe for her guests.

She contributes to local wine tourism regularly; co-founding the Margaret River Cellar Door Manager’s Sub Committee in 2018 where she held a Co-Chair position for a year and a half. She still sits on the Committee today.

Paris is the 2019 Finalist for Wine Tourism Excellence Award in Margaret River and steered Arlewood to win 2020 Gourmet Traveller Best Small Cellar Door in Margaret River. Looking to the future Paris hopes to contribute to the Australian wine industry by travelling overseas to learn about cult club allocations, CRM systems and unforgettable wine experiences delivered in the US and sharing her findings. She is currently studying a Diploma of Viticulture to broaden her skill set.


Samantha Mitchell, First Drop Wines

After beginning her career in the halls of Parliament House as a policy researcher, Sam quickly found a more fruitful way to advocate for the region she loves and share her knowledge was through wine. Having worked in the industry for 7 years, Sam has worked at some of the biggest, and smallest brands in the Barossa. Always relishing the opportunity to work with big lists, at times showcasing 45 wines on pour.

Sam has a passion for the alternative: Aged whites, Italian reds, blends that break the norms. This extents to how she hosts guests in cellar door. When enjoying a tasting with Sam, she will focus on wine education and food pairings. Sam has turned this passion for wine education into a bookable experience, hosting Masterclasses around the regions most loved varietal, Shiraz.

While Sam continues her love of policy in a role as councillor for Light Regional Council, her passion lies at the bottom of a spittoon. “Wine is what people share to celebrate, and to share in that joy, even for a moment, is why I am here.”


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