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  • Writer's pictureClaudia Yanez

Chip off the old block…

Every year at Nautilus we take on a handful of extra people to help us out over the busy vintage period. The cool thing about our winery is that we are pretty small, and only need to take on 4-5 each year. Which means we can be pretty picky.

Somehow this year, a young lady called Jess managed to slip through the net (!) Jess is the daughter of our proprietor and vigneron, Robert Hill Smith. Having grown up in the shadow of the wine industry in the beautiful Barossa, having completed a marketing degree, and having worked for a couple of years doing marketing for Aussie coffee company CIBO expresso, Jess decided it was time to spread her wings and see a bit of the world. First stop, Nautilus Estate, Marlborough.

It was not without a little trepidation that we welcomed her into the team. What would she be like? Would we have to be on best behaviour, for fear of rumours of the unruly Nautilus Estate vintage antics creeping back to the boss? Would she be able to hack the long hours and questionable humour of our team? Would she, in fact, be any good at winery work?

Well all our fears proved unfounded. Jess got stuck right in, pretty much working single handed in the pinot cellar – operating the destemmer & plunger, digging out more tanks than anyone else and filling virtually all the barrels. Jess was determined to make her mark. And she sure did.

Robert came to the winery to visit towards the end of vintage and it was with glee and delight that we were able to witness Hill Smith Senior and Junior trading stories from the family history. Jess left us in May to continue her travels to Europe. You may find her popping up elsewhere in the company on her travels, or maybe even back here in NZ for vintage 2014. If we haven’t scared her off….

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