Hill-Smith Family Estates CEO reflects on company’s centennial birthday year

February 20, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Karl Martin, CEO at Hill-Smith Family Estates, reflects on 2023, a year that marked the 100th anniversary of its Samuel Smith and Son business.

“It has been and continues to be a time of celebration and reflection for our Hill-Smith Family Estates group and our distribution companies, Samuel Smith and Son and Negociants Australia.

In 2023, we celebrated 100 years as a distributor of wines, with our Samuel Smith and Son business having commenced in 1923.

This year, one of our Family brands, Yalumba, will celebrate 175 years since its founding in 1849 and is Australia’s oldest family-owned winery today.

Finally, our Negociants Australia distribution business, having originated in 1984 with a passion for bringing fine wines of the world to Australia, will celebrate 40 years of operation.

Family ownership allows us to think long-term, whether in the wines and styles we offer to market or the relationships we engage with our customers, unique pillars of our humble success over these times.

Key themes in the Australian market are premiumisation, sustainability and digital transformation. We are tackling these challenges head-on and seeking to play a leadership role in our industry. Our commitment is to continue to innovate and provide relevant wines to a changing consumer, but we will never trade our values for what we regard as great wine.

On the Sustainability front, I am pleased to announce that our Head of Winemaking for 18 years, Louisa Rose, will commence a new global role as Head of Sustainability for Hill-Smith Family Estates. Louisa’s reputation in this space is first class. I look forward to her sharing our generational stories of sustainability and what we do to ensure we share a thriving business for future generations.

Winning in a digital world is providing our customers with great omnichannel experiences. Our online customer experience has never been better, and our trade portal, Cellar1849 (cellar1849.com), is a one-stop shop for the great wines of the world. I invite you to try and explore all we have to offer.

Best wishes for a prosperous year ahead, and I hope our paths cross during my visits around the country.


The Next 5 Hill-Smith Family Estates’ sustainability program, The Next 5, is our commitment to a sustainable future.

Within five years of documentation of the program in 2020, we have committed to embed five key pillars to drive sustainability for the next five generations.

Resilient Terroir – We will pass on our natural resources to future generations in better condition that when they were inherited and leave a legacy of great wine. We take a holistic approach, creating a balanced ecosystem that makes efficient use of the natural features, water and energy. 

Viable Planet – In a world with finite resources, we commit to treading lightly. We will protect the fundamental elements essential to life – land, air, water and energy – by preserving what we have, regenerating what we can, and minimizing consumption of what we cannot replenish. 

Prosperous Community – Family and community has been the cornerstone of our business since our beginnings in 1849. We will support our communities through sharing our knowledge and resources in a way that allows us all to prosper.

Thriving Workforce – Our passion for wine and business success is a unified vision that drives the culture, performance, and behaviours of our workforce. Our vision is to create leaders at all levels who infectiously spread their passion and knowledge for the business of wine. 

Responsible Governance – We aspire to strike the right balance between financial imperatives and maintaining a wine-focused business with family values.

Our Sustainability Charter is aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and our memberships with International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) and Sustainable Winegrowing Australia (SWA). Our Charter supports the Race to Zero campaign – a United Nations-backed global campaign rallying leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions and investors for healthy, resilient, zero-carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.”

Share the content