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Our Crew


Greg Silkman

Managing Director

In 1986, while studying a science degree at Newcastle University, Greg was drawn to the wine industry when he heard Tamburlaine winery was up for sale. Following his instinct, Greg and a business partner purchased the winery which crushed 32 ton of fruit that year. Ten years later, the winery was crushing 500 ton of fruit, and producing 35,000 dozen of premium wine.

With the growth and success of Tamburlaine achieved, Greg decided to venture out and buy his own winery, acquiring Allanmere Wines. But he didn’t just stop there – 12 months later while studying wine science, Greg went on to purchase land with several partners from the wine industry and established First Creek Wines (formerly known as Monarch Winemaking Services).

Greg oversees all facets of the business. This not only includes First Creek’s own distinguished wine brand, but also its parent company, First Creek Winemaking Services, which has evolved as one of Australia’s most successful contract winemaking businesses in Australia.

 


Shaun Silkman

Chief Operating Officer / Director

Shaun began his career at First Creek in 1999 at the age of 18. Wanting to learn the business from the ground up, he started as a Cellar Hand in the winery and completed his first vintage in 2000.

After gaining experience and a firm understanding of the winery and laboratory, Shaun turned his attention to the bottling side of the business and in 2004, became Bottling and Warehouse Manager. Ten years later, while finishing his wine science degree, Shaun had increased bottling production from 200K cases per year to a whopping 1.3M, earning himself the title of Chief Operating Officer.

In 2016, Shaun strengthened the family’s ownership and operations by joining the ranks of his father as Director and major shareholder of the company.

Shaun recently led a $1.6 million dollar refurbishment of First Creek’s bottling operations, including the installation of an aseptic clean room and an Italian-made bottling line, Bertolaso, which is believed to be only one of four in Australia. Shaun is also responsible for over 100 local and national clients who use our world-class bottling facilities and services, making First Creek the biggest bottling company in the Hunter Valley.


Jenny Silkman

HR / Payroll

Jenny left a career in nursing to establish First Creek Wines with her husband, Greg. Being the only two employees to begin with, Jenny has seen and done it all…except for winemaking! Having helped build the foundations of the business, Jenny has played a major role in its growth and success, with over 70 staff now employed at First Creek.

As matriarch of the Silkman family, Jenny oversees Human Resources and Payroll Administration


Katie Silkman

Marketing

Katie had already worked in the wine industry prior to joining her family at First Creek.

In 2009, Katie began her career as a Marketing Assistant at Bimbadgen Estate. Two years later, with a desire to venture abroad, she left to travel through Europe and the UK. During her time overseas, Katie was lucky enough to land a job with Australian Vintage in their London office - one of Australia’s leading wine companies.

Returning in 2013 and wanting to try her hand at something new, Katie worked as an Events Co-Ordinator at Novotel Newcastle Beach. Although enjoying her time there, Katie found herself still drawn to the wine industry. That’s why in 2015, when a position became available at First Creek as an Executive Assistant, Katie saw this as her opportunity to return and work alongside her family.

Katie currently assists with Marketing. She also remains an Executive Assistant to management staff, including the CEO, COO and Commercial Manager.


Justin McCarthy

Commercial Manager

M: +61 409 363 882

Justin brings a wealth of expertise and knowledge to our team, having spent the last 6 years managing his own business. His previous corporate wine industry experience spans over 20 years’ working within Australian based and international owned wine businesses.

Born and raised in South Australia, his previous roles include CEO/ Managing Director of Step Rd, and Beresford 6000T Winery in McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills and Langhorne Creek. Owned by the largest Dutch Liquor Group, Baarsma Wine Group, Justin was exposed to a very large international organisation with enormous customer reach. This provided him with a great level of exposure to international markets.

Prior to that, Justin was Sales Manager at Leconfield Winery, the 5th Generation, iconic Coonawarra and McLaren Vale brand of the Hamilton Group. During this period, Justin oversaw the rapid growth of this brand both domestically and internationally, and secured Australia’s then Prime Minister - John Howard OM, to officiate the opening of their McLaren Vale Cellar Door. He also initiated the incredibly popular 'Day on the Green' Concert series to McLaren Vale.

Justin will help oversee all commercial matters relating to the First Creek business with a plan to expand all facets of the operation, including our brand within both domestic and international markets.

 


David Lacey

Sales & Marketing Manager

M: +61 422 019 923

David knows the Hunter Valley well, having grown up in the region.

His career in the industry spans an impressive 35 years, and his expertise
is reflected in the various senior management roles previously held. David helped build the reputations of renowned brands such as Laurent
Perrier Champagne, Tempus Two, Hanging Rock and Chard Farm (NZ) –
to name a few.

David also played an integral role on a volunteer committee which
dedicated it’s time to raising money for The Australian Children’s Cancer
Institute. During his 12 years on the committee, the team raised over $10
million dollars.

With his extensive experience in hand and desire to return to his roots,
David moved back to the Hunter in 2014 and established his own
boutique business, Hunter Concierge.

David’s role at First Creek is to implement and administer the sales and
marketing responsibilities of Cellar Door sales, sponsorships and events.

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