Managing Director and Vineyard Manager
Best’s Great Western is today run by fifth-generation family member, Ben Thomson, who has worked in the family business for over 40 years. Ben is passionate about maintaining Best's historically important vineyards, many dating back to the 1860s. Ben has a love of the land and a fascination with applying new viticultural and harvesting techniques. You’ll often find Ben driving the grape harvesters throughout the Best’s regional vineyards, tending to the vines and researching some of the more unique varietals planted. Ben's passion for large scale machinery has developed into a second business Stressless Harvesting, which operates a fleet of harvesters that pick fruit across Victoria and South Australia. For a change of landscape, he’s also a keen water skier throughout the summer months, one of Ben’s Best Kept Secrets.
REGIONAL SALES MANAGER
Hamish like all of his family, has been involved in his family's winery since early childhood. Starting out he suckered vines and cleaned barrels, working in every area of the business before settling into a role of sales and marketing. In the early 1990's Hamish left and travelled overseas for a couple of years, including a vintage in France. In 2004, Hamish left to expand his work horizons outside of Best's. He has now returned and has been appointed as our Regional Sales Manager, Victoria. With decades of experience growing up in the wine industry, and as a 5th generation family member, we’re proud to have him call on our local Victorian customers to tell the stories of our wines. One of Hamish's Best Kept Secrests is his passion for woodwork, specifically building wooden boats.
Justin Purser brings extensive international experience and perspective to Best’s Wines. After graduating from Adelaide University with a Bachelor of Science in Oenology, Justin worked at Primo Estate Wines in South Australia (also the home of Joseph Wines) for three years. From there he moved overseas where he worked vintages at Peregrine Wines in Central Otago, New Zealand, well known for its premium Pinot Noir, and Azienda Brezza Giacomo e Figli in Barolo, producer of fine wines from Italy. Between 2008 and 2011, Justin supervised a team at Domaine de Montille, Volnay, in Burgundy, where he oversaw the production of Grand Cru and Premier Cru wines. In November 2011, Justin relocated from France for his role as Winemaker at Best’s. Best’s patriarch, Viv Thomson, and his son Ben, Managing Director and Vineyard Manager, have worked with Best’s winemakers for the last 40 years to ensure continuity of house style while encouraging the winemakers to constantly seek out ways to innovate and improve.
NATIONAL SALES MANAGER
Graeme Hogan looks after all things sales st Best's Wines. From a single bottle sale at cellar door to a multi-case order on the other side of the globe, Graeme is keen to ensure the experience of all our customers is positive. Graduating from Queensland University of Technology with a business degree, Graeme has worked with wine companies of all sizes. From multi-nationals such as Pernod Ricard and Constellation Brands to boutique family businesses such as Pirramimma, Graeme has become a well-known identity in the Australian wine trade. Graeme joined the team at Best's in 2017 and when he’s not selling another case of Best’s wine, he can be found at the footy supporting his beloved Bombers in the AFL or tearing up a golf course.
WINE CLUB MANAGER & LOCAL WHOLESALE
Nicole grew up on a dairy farm near the banks of the Murray River in Cohuna, Victoria. One of 4 (1 brother and 2 sisters) she’s always been a country girl. After finishing high school Nicole worked in the family business for several years before moving to Melbourne for a change of scenery. With a desire to see Australia, Nicole travelled and worked in Kalgoorlie, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Bendigo and Ballarat before finally settling in Great Western. In late 2009 she purchased a vineyard in Rhymney not far from Best’s Wines Salvation Hills Vineyard and it was during this time she developed a passion for the region. Nicole started working at Best’s in 2011 and has loved her job from day one! She is now literally married to it having tied the knot with Best’s Wines Managing Director Ben Thomson in November 2019.
CELLAR DOOR MANAGER
Born and raised in Melbourne but with weekly trips to a country property at Cape Liptrap in South Gippsland, Lucy fostered a love of regional Victoria. Lucy graduated from RMIT with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Photography and went onto study Graphic Design and Advertising. After university Lucy decided it was time to explore the world, travelling across Asia and Europe for several years working in finance and advertising. Upon her return to Australia she took up the helm of the family business importing art and antiques from Japan and China. It was love that brought Lucy to Great Western when she met and fell in love with Hadyn Black, a former cellar hand at Best's Wines. Together they have purchased a small vineyard in Great Western where they raise their fur babies Hunter, an Irish Wolfhound and Paddy, a greyhound x.