Named Signatory for the 2012 vintage of Yalumba The Signature.
Fifth generation vigneron Robert Hill-Smith was awarded his wine company’s highest honour, being named Yalumba’s 54th Signatory. Every vintage of Yalumba The Signature Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz recognises someone who epitomises the culture of the family owned company.
Robert Hill-Smith, who became one of the youngest managing directors in Australian wine history when he took over Yalumba at age 34 in 1985, has been named Signatory for the 2012 vintage of the wine.
Yalumba Chief Operating Officer Nick Waterman said while Robert was made aware some time ago the accolade was in the offing, the fact it had progressed had been kept a secret.
“The Signature tradition began with the 1962 vintage, which posthumously recognised Robert’s great-great grandfather and Yalumba founder Samuel Smith,” Mr Waterman said. “Fifty years on, it is fitting that Robert is recognised, particularly with 2012 being such a strong vintage. We thought it important for Robert to be recognised in this way while he is active in the business, and as a celebration of his considerable contribution to Yalumba and the Australian wine industry,” Mr Waterman said.
In his 29 years at the helm of Yalumba, Robert Hill-Smith’s achievements include the buy-out of numerous family shareholders in 1989, which allowed for greater and faster innovation and adaptation throughout the company.
Robert was also among the first to recognise the potential of New Zealand and Tasmania as winegrowing regions and, despite some reluctance from family, invested in New Zealand in the mid-80s and Tasmania in 1998.
He has also championed a vine-to-glass vertical business model, which includes the Yalumba Nursery – the largest supplier of vine material to the wine industry in Australia, and fine wine distributors Samuel Smith & Son and Negociants.
Past Signatories include Yalumba Ambassador Jane Ferrari (2010), Negociants NZ Managing Director Clive Weston (2009), Australian Grape and Wine Authority Chairman Brian Walsh (2004).