PASSION OVER PRETENSION.
We may come from all different walks of life, but one thing our team has in common is our love of wine.
From tending the vineyards to making our delicious wines and discussing them with our customers and friends,
we always put our hearts and souls into everything we do.
Owner & General Manager
From working on the bottling line as a teenager, to a gap year vintage in the winery and the lab, Briar Ridge has been part of Jaclyn’s life for close to 30 years.
In the late 1990s Jaclyn launched her own wine brand and was involved in the Sydney food and wine hospitality industry. Prior to re-joining the Briar Ridge team in 2010 as a Director, Jaclyn raised a family and successfully pursued a career in the law.
Nowadays, as the Owner and General Manager of Briar Ridge, Jaclyn oversees the day to day operations of the winery, and the strategic direction of the brand, both domestically and internationally. Jaclyn says the best part of her job is being able to share her long standing passion for the wine industry and love of well-crafted wines with Briar Ridge’s loyal supporters, both old and new.
A Hunter Valley local, Alex Beckett joined Briar Ridge as an Assistant Winemaker in 2016. Recognised as one of the industries up and coming talents, Alex’s passion for wine began while working part-time in Hunter cellar doors and wineries. Naturally, Alex went on to study Viticulture and Wine Science at the University of Adelaide during which time he was awarded the prestigious Sydney Royal Wine Scholarship.
A talented young winemaker, Alex’s dedication and enthusiasm saw him promoted to the role of Winemaker in 2018, responsible for Briar Ridge’s unique portfolio of Hunter classic wines and alternate varieties.
“It’s an absolute honour to work at Briar Ridge. The fruit off our Mount View vineyards is really unique and some of the best in the Valley. I love making wines that showcase this uniqueness. Seeing our members and customers enjoy the wines we create though, is the best reward.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Having completed seven vintages in the Hunter Valley and multiple vintages abroad, Gwyn Olsen is a highly regarded winemaker and a passionate advocate for Hunter Valley wines.
A Roseworthy University graduate, Gwyn has received many accolades for her winemaking talent, most recently the Gourmet Traveller WINE, Young Winemaker Medal and the Hunter Valley Rising Star of the Year Award. It’s no stretch to imagine that during her tenure as our Head Winemaker, the wines Gwyn produced also received numerous awards, including Best Semillon, Best Verdelho and Best Shiraz.
Now a Consultant, Gwyn works closely with Alex Beckett to set and maintain wine style, quality and consistency across the Briar Ridge wine portfolio.
"Having been part of the Briar Ridge team for many years, it’s great to continue working with a brand and wines I feel particularly passionate about."
Gwyn is a Len Evans Tutorial scholar and judge at the National Wine Show in Canberra and major wine shows in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
Briar Ridge brand custodian, Karl Stockhausen has over 50 years of winemaking experience. His name is synonymous with the Hunter Valley as the winemaker behind the marvellous Lindeman’s classics of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s.
Karl joined our team in 1990 and works with Briar Ridge to this day, selecting the fruit and supervising the winemaking process for the Stockhausen Signature range – a showcase of classic Hunter Valley wine styles.
In June 2007, Karl was named a 'Hunter Valley Living Legend' by his colleagues, an honour bestowed on those who have given many years of outstanding service to the advancement of the Hunter Valley.
And there’s no question he’s done that.
It’s fair to say that after dutifully tending to our Mount View vineyards for nearly 20 years, Vineyard Manager Belinda Kelly knows a thing or two about making great wine. Born and raised in the region, Belinda has always worked in the Hunter, starting her career in vineyards at Broke for three years prior to joining the Briar Ridge team.
On our vineyard philosophy, Belinda says ‘sometimes less is more’. Briar Ridge typically keeps grape yield low to ensure the best quality fruit.
“With our Mount View fruit, and particularly the single vineyards, it’s all about keeping things simple so the characters unique to each block carry through to the wine.”
In her time at Briar Ridge, Belinda says she has most enjoyed watching the vineyard develop and mature and working with new Italian and Spanish varieties.
Saluti (cheers) to you Belinda.
Cellar Door Manager
A wine and music enthusiast, Steven grew up in the Hunter Valley and has been working in the wine industry for the last seven years – four of those here at Briar Ridge. Prior to this Steve worked for a number of Banking and Government departments. He often jokes that he has retired to the wine industry rather than changing career paths as not a day goes by that feels like he is actually working!
His enthusiasm for showcasing Briar Ridge wines and creating a memorable experience for all visitors is just who he is. His passion for wine and people always shines through.
Recently Steven has achieved Level 2 WSET and is always looking for ways to grow and develop his wine knowledge and his music collection – it has to be seen to be believed!
Cellar Door Sales & Tours
A local lad, Jacob joined the team in 2016 working in our Warehouse packing member orders and club packs, making local deliveries to restaurants and keeping Steve stocked at Cellar Door…that was until Steve asked if Jacob could help out with a few Cellar Door shifts and he decided that was an area of the Wine Industry he’d like to explore.
In 2018 Jacob completed his Diploma of Viticulture which today sees him working across our Cellar Door, taking the lead on all things Vineyard and ‘Behind The Scenes’ Tours and in our winery assisting our Winemaker Alex.
A fellow of many talents, Jacob is also quite the juggler!