Robert Hill-Smith ends 30-year career as Yalumba's MD to become chairman

Robert Hill-Smith steps down as managing director of Yalumba to become chairman

Robert Hill-Smith is stepping down as managing director of Yalumba after 30 years to become chairman of the family-owned winery his antecedents began in 1849.

The fifth-generation winemaker and proprietor will replace retiring chairman Peter Barnes, ending a 12-year stint, with the changes taking place on March 7.

Nick Waterman, who joined the company in 2002 and was appointed COO last year, will become managing director.

Hill-Smith, 63, was one of the youngest MDs the Australian wine industry had seen when he took on the role in 1985, aged 34.

The 2012 vintage of Yalumba’s premium cabernet sauvignon and shiraz-blend wine The Signature is being released this month and will carry Hill-Smith’s name in recognition of his contribution.

The Barossa Valley winery produces around two million cases of wine annually and also owns Pewsey Vale and Heggies, as well as the Tasmanian sparkling wine Janz and Nautilus Estate in New Zealand.

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