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An Hour with Jessica Hill-Smith

By Monday 15 April 2024No Comments

You can glean a lot about a person’s life by the items pinned to their refrigerator door.

Jessica Hill-Smith’s is dotted with family photos, a floor plan for the abode she and husband Phil Cleggett are in the process of building, and two cards featuring tiny blue and pink hand prints, one titled ‘Mummy’, the other ‘Daddy’.

The kitchen collage is held fast by fridge magnets depicting iconic drinks illustrated by South Australian artist Billie Justice Thomson.

We’re sitting at the dining table in the rental Jess and her little family call home – for now.

Her one-year-old daughter Charlotte is asleep, finally settled after an over-enthusiastic journalist banged too hard on the door and woke her.

Fortunately, Jess isn’t rattled by much.

She could, however, do with a bit more sleep.

It’s not the baby she’s losing slumber over, it’s this interview.

When WBM asked Jess to grace our cover five years ago, she turned us down.

“Honestly, I didn’t feel like I had anything to say yet,” she says.

“I still feel like that sometimes.”

She pauses, thoughtful.

“It’s funny, because I’m five years into working in the family business, and my sister Lucy has just started. She says she just wants to be where I am now. Back then, I was unsure and nervous and was just getting my head around everything.”

The Jessica Hill-Smith that sits before me today emanates a calm, centred presence. She is softly spoken, but firm and clear in her thoughts.

• To read the full article subscribe to WBM – Australia’s Wine Business Magazine.

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