Meet the Team
Top Dog, and Chief Coffee Maker
In my 20’s I helped dad set up and manage our family vineyards, whilst studying a Bachelor of Business and Property. In 2000, I was awarded the Geoffrey Roberts Award for innovations in the wine industry.
I am super passionate about trying to find and implement ways to leave the planet better than we found it.
Without a doubt, the luckiest guy ever, as my passion became my business. I’ll get a real job soon. Unlikely though.
Nicole steers the Koonara ship. She loves working with our people to make magic happen, whether it is new release wines, events or sourcing homewares for our cellar door.
She is currently on the board of Women In Business and Regional Development, The President of the Riddoch Business Assocation and on the board of Mary MacKillop Memorial School.
Buster The Wonder Dog
Official Welcoming Committee
Our little Jack Russel/Fox Terrier dog who eagerly greets visitors as they come into our Cellar Door.
Buster is famous, you may have seen him in an addition of ‘Wine Dogs’, and he starred in The Big Beg advert to raises money for RSPCA. You will see him right at the end, 58 seconds in. Very cute. He is always happy to meet new visitors, and reunite with familiar faces.
What more can be said about the great man – former head Winemaker at Wynns in Coonawarra for 15 years, he spent vintages in Bordeaux with ‘Chateau Leoville Barton’, Napa Valley with Constellation, both Sicily and Tunisia with ‘Casa Vinicola Calatrasi’ and ‘Puglia’ before returning back home to Coonawarra.
A good family friend, and we are privileged to have him as our winemaker. Something not many people know is, our super premium Head Honcho, Cabernet Sauvignon is named after him.
Limestone Coast Account Manager & Cellar Door Legend
Jen has been with Koonara for 10 years now. She is a passionate wine lover who learnt all she knows from her dad, who has worked in the wine industry for decades. Jen covers the Limestone Coast as our Sales Manager, servicing a number of bottle shops and restaurants. She also helps manage the Cellar Door.
When she isn’t hanging with us, you’ll find her juggling the Mum hustle, racing around after her two daughters. She’s also the president of the Parent Club at her girl’s school and she also enjoys running (crazy right)
Office & Logistics Manager
Behind every good brand, there is a great manager, and Caitlin, our efficient Office Manager, makes sure everything runs smoothly in all parts of the business. She’s the one who ensures the wine gets to where it needs to be so you can enjoy it.
Caitlin works with us 3 days a week after the birth of her daughter Della, finding a great balance between Motherhood and working.
Customer Service Manager
From across the ditch in New Zealand, Chicago moved to Penola a few years ago with her family. With a banking background, Chicago brings fantastic System and customer service qualities. That’s why she is our Angels Guild Wine Club Coordinator & Customer Service Manager.
She was the People Choice winner at 2023 Swinging with the Stars Competition. In her downtime, when she isn’t prepping platters for her side hustle Pichnic, you’ll find her hanging with Sam and her puppy dogs and a glass of Flowers for Lucy Moscato.
Marketing Manager & Ballarat Sales Account Manager
Tash is a woman of many talents. Originally starting with us as the Ballarat Sales Manager, she is now managing our marketing department. Overseeing all of our Digital communications, social media and advertising. She gets great delight at making us do funny videos for “advertising” We are onto you Tash!
In her spare time, she is an amazing seamstress. She loves family hangs, heading to live music, as well as a good fossick at a garage sale or op shop.