Craig Stephenson was born and bred in the Hunter Valley, however it was time spent in Italy that led to the decision to return to Australia and pursue a career in the wine industry, leaving behind a future in law. Now he’s been in wine for over a decade, most of it spent at the Mount Pleasant Cellar Door, and he’s never looked back!
1. How long have you been with Mount Pleasant and what does your role involve?
I’ve been here at Mount Pleasant for two years and it’s true what they say- time flies when you’re having fun. My role is Sales and Operations Manager. Essentially, that means I oversee the day to day operations in the Cellar Door and Elizabeth’s restaurant. I also service restaurants and accommodation houses and make sure they have lots of our wines on their lists. I also spend quite a lot of time building and servicing corporate affiliations for Mount Pleasant in Sydney and Newcastle.
2. What does working with Mount Pleasant mean to you?
I love it. It’s definitely not difficult to get out of bed each day when I have such an amazing workplace. The history, the vineyards, the location, the people and of course the wines, I am very fortunate to be able to work with these things every day.
3. What do you think is special about the relationship between Mount Pleasant and its Members?
Most of our members are people we have built a great relationship with over many years. Everybody knows that the wine industry is incredibly competitive and repeat business that is built on great service and great products is vital. Greg West (National Cellar Door Manager) has been exemplary in leading this for Mount Pleasant over many years. He is quite old now….
4. Can you think of an example or two of members who have had a long involvement with the winery?
Guys like Steve Bruce constantly remind me that I am still in my formative years of wine appreciation, because I have only been at it for 12 or so years. He’s told me before, “You haven’t had a Semillon until you try the 1978…” It’s all good fun and it reminds me of how long some of our members have been connected with Mount Pleasant!
5. What’s it like working and living in the Hunter Valley?
Sometimes you make good decisions and sometimes you make bad ones. The decision to pursue a career in wine in the Hunter Valley over 10 years ago was a very good one. The wine community here is amazing and the friendships that have been forged are lifelong. I met my beautiful partner Stephanie here and we are raising our son Beau in a healthy environment. His school friends are all ‘wine kids’ as well!
6. For a while you were headed for a career in law. What caused the change?
With the upmost respect for the law and its many and varied practitioners, the decision was not a difficult one to make! It was inspired by a trip to Europe and a particularly beautiful lady named Stephanie…
7. What do you love most about wine?
I hesitate to use the word ‘Terroir’ but there is definitely a beautiful story to be told by the great vineyards of the world. When you taste a flight of Lovedale Semillon you will know exactly what I’m talking about.
8. If you could recommend one Mount Pleasant wine, which would it be and why?
Lovedale Semillon, for countless reasons!
9. And lastly, for those out there who aren’t members already, what can they do to get involved?
It’s easy. Jump onto the website and sign up! This will mean you get to keep in touch with all things Mount Pleasant, get access to our small parcel wines and pick up some great deals on the online store. If you love our wines, it just makes sense!
YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT CRAIG IN HIS BIOGRAPHY AND FIND OUT ABOUT VISITING THE MOUNT PLEASANT CELLAR DOOR HERE.