Meet the Team

At Pauletts, we’re all about family. In fact, we’ve been a family run business since 1983. Over the years, as we’ve grown and thrived, so has our team. We’d love you to meet them – they’re a great bunch.

Pauletts’ 2005 Aged Release Polish Hill Riesling was awarded the Best Riesling in the World

Neil Paulett

Founder and Chief Winemaker/Mentor

“I get a big kick out of seeing people drinking and enjoying our wines.”

As a young winemaker in the 1970s, Neil learnt his trade working for two of Australia’s most iconic wineries, Penfolds and Rosemount Estate.

But Neil’s dream was to start his own winery, a family business that would serve as a legacy for the next generation and beyond. It took Neil and Alison, his wife and business partner, a little over ten years to turn that dream into a reality.

They chose the little known Clare Valley, recognising the region’s wine production and falling in love with its natural beauty.

Pauletts was established in 1983, and Neil remembers the first time he saw the winery’s magnificent view as if it was yesterday.

Pauletts is a testament to Neil’s vision and the passion and hard work of his family and team.

Amongst the many awards and accolades Pauletts wines have accrued over the years, one in particular stands out for Neil. His 2005 Aged Release Riesling won ‘Best Riesling in the World’ at the 2010 Canberra International Riesling Challenge. “Winning the award was the most wonderful sensation. We were so proud of our entire team.”

Alison Paulett

General Manager

“You have to work to get the jobs done; you can’t rely on anyone else and I’m proud that our children have grown up to become good citizens and understand that.”

Alison likes to joke that Neil’s dream became her nightmare. But the truth is that Alison is incredibly tough; her quiet strength and incredible work ethic are the foundation of Pauletts’ success.

As a trained nurse, if something needs to be done, Alison rolls up her sleeves and gets on with it.

In the early days, that meant weeding the vines by hand, learning how to run a business on the fly, running the cellar door seven days a week from the tin shed down the bottom of the hill and picking up the pieces after the devastating Ash Wednesday bushfires almost destroyed Pauletts’ first vintage.

And she did all this while juggling the demands of being a mum to two young children. The same two children who dumped a dead brown snake in the middle of the floor while Alison was hosting a wine tasting – thankfully the visitors were locals!

These days there are some amazing women being recognised for making their mark in the wine industry, but twenty years ago the achievement of women in wine went largely unnoticed.

As Neil points out, Pauletts could never have succeeded without Alison’s passion and dedication. When Alison reflects on how Pauletts has grown to become the vision that she and Neil have shared, she’s incredibly proud of everything they have achieved as a family.

Both Alison and Neil are looking forward to seeing their dream continue to thrive with son Matt and his wife Ali now at the helm.

Clare Valley Paulette Wines

Pauletts’ 2005 Aged Release Polish Hill Riesling was awarded the Best Riesling in the World

Matt Paulett

Operations Manager

“We’ve been operating sustainably for nearly 40 years… we plan to keep that going for another 40 and then some.”

As Operations Manager, Matt is the proud custodian of the 88ha Pauletts has under vine, including 100-year-old Shiraz vines planted by the early Polish Hill River settlers.

Matt has a real passion for the land and he makes it his responsibility to look after the natural ecosystem. He’s always looking for ways to innovate, and he’s proud to be continuing and developing the sustainable practices implemented by his dad, Neil. Pauletts hasn’t irrigated since the 1990s and Matt manages the vines so they thrive on regular rainfall.

And instead of using synthetic fertilisers, Matt plants clover and medic under the vines, which act as a natural mulch and feed the soil.

The love and sweat Matt and his team put into looking after the vineyard are reflected in the quality of the fruit they produce.

Pauletts’ small batch philosophy is underpinned by sustainable practice at every stage of the winemaking process. As Matt explains, “We have tight control over the vineyards and the winemaking process, so we can retain that freshness from the vineyard and the very expressive juices that follow through into the finished product of the glasses around the table.”

Ali Paulett


“I hold my head up high when I walk down the street because I’m just so proud of our team and our wine and of everything that’s happening in the cellar door and Bush DeVine.”

If there’s one word that sums up Ali, it’s passion. She’s passionate about her family, her team and Pauletts. And as head of marketing and sales, she funnels her passion into delivering the best possible experience for our clients, whether they be new visitors to the cellar door and restaurant or loyal members of Pauletts Exclusive Wine Club.

Ali is also the driving force behind our award-winning restaurant winery Bush DeVine and bush food garden.

Her team is her pride and joy. She really looks after them, even making each and every one a coffee in the mornings. “I love my team like my family, and in return they give me the best of themselves, and that’s reflected in our food and our service.”

Before choosing to dedicate herself to the family business, Ali had accrued a slew of qualifications and diverse career experiences. Horses were her first passion and she worked with the Australian Equestrian Academy before turning her hand to vet nursing and later running her own architectural drafting business.

And of course, there are the three gorgeous children she’s raised with Matt along the way. Pauletts is Ali’s dream job and her drive for excellence is gaining recognition – Pauletts was awarded Tripadvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Award 2020 and Best Tourism Restaurant at the Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence and the Great Australian Wine Capital Award.

Clare Valley Paulette Wines

Pauletts’ 2005 Aged Release Polish Hill Riesling was awarded the Best Riesling in the World

Jarrad Steele

Senior Winemaker

“Getting the wine in the bottle at the optimum time allows the characteristics of the grape and the region to shine through.”

Jarrad is an exciting young winemaker who embraces Pauletts’ philosophy of letting the fruit from the vine speak for itself. And he’s already making his mark.

Jarrad’s first vintage here at Pauletts included the 2019 Brielle Grenache, named after his firstborn baby girl and bottled under his own winemaker’s label.

Jarrad saw the potential in some of the older Grenache vines at our Watervale vineyard, a site he regards as the best place to grow the varietal here in the Clare Valley and he put them to good use creating an aromatic, fruit-driven wine that is a testament to his skills. It was a proud moment for Jarrad and the whole team.

Jarrad brings over 13 years of experience to Pauletts. He’s worked at some of Clare Valley’s best wineries, including Kilikanoon and Leasingham Wines. He’s also chalked up some impressive international experience with Chateau Montelena Winery in the Napa Valley.

Jarrad is committed to carrying on the family tradition of producing the fine regional wines Pauletts is known for, including of course our world-famous Rieslings.

Thomas Erkelenz

Head Chef

“What excites me is finding new ways to utilise ingredients apart from the obvious… rely on good old-fashioned cookery techniques and your instincts to let the produce shine.”

Head chef Thomas Erkelenz aka ‘Erky Thomas’ is the perfect fit for our award winning Bush DeVine Winery Restaurant. He brings passion, innovation and incredible skill to every dish he turns out.

We knew from the moment we met him (when he turned up armed with a full menu plan and ideas for a wine pairing) that he was the kind of chef who could take our vision of a bush food inspired menu to the next level.

Tom creates simple and elegant food, designed to let the true flavours of the ingredients shine.

His approach to food is a lot like our approach to winemaking: he takes the best seasonal produce and combines it to create dishes that speak for themselves. He’s also a keen forager – and can tell you where the best local bounty can be found.

Tom is a classically trained chef who has worked at leading restaurants, both at home and abroad. The experience has given him a strong ethos in regard to produce, technique and work ethic, but it also left him keenly aware of the toll gruelling schedules can have on chefs and their families.

Like all of us here at Pauletts, he’s committed to family and his values gel perfectly with ours: he wants to make great food that people enjoy. “We want people to have a good time together. We want them to enjoy the wine and the food and just enjoy the experience.” We couldn’t agree more!

Clare Valley Paulette Wines
Clare Valley Paulette Wines

Belinda Pink

Sales and Marketing Manager

“I love my job. I love the team. I love what I do. I love the product and what it stands for. Quality runs from the vineyard, right through every vintage of Pauletts wines. Marketing the world’s best Riesling is a great job to have.”

More than 20 years ago, Belinda said goodbye to her travel agent career in Adelaide and moved to the Clare Valley for love. Once she arrived, she discovered a passion for the wine industry that has guided her career for the past two decades.

Belinda was drawn to the family values at Pauletts and she joined the team in 2020.

She admits that the quality of Pauletts wine and the shared family values across the team makes it easy for her to do her job. This is a product she loves and believes in.

It’s also easy to be part of a team that is much like a family. From the moment she stepped into Pauletts, she was warmly welcomed with open arms.

Belinda’s passion for good wine isn’t the only thing that she loves about the wine industry. “It’s the excitement of being part of an industry that is constantly evolving to new and greater heights. I love building relationships with customers and distributors. And Pauletts wine is an amazing product to sell.”

Outside of work, Belinda keeps busy running around after her twin teenage daughters or catching up with friends over dinner.

Alli Kocsis

Cellar Door and Restaurant Manager

“I’ve worked in hospitality for my whole career and I’ve never seen another business like Pauletts. To work with people who are so humble and passionate is a joy. 100% of their heart goes into the food and wine we produce, and to be part of that success is amazing.”

Alli Kocsis has been part of Bush DeVine since it opened. In that time, she has built a team of other passionate foodies who love food and wine as much as she does.

As the Cellar Door and Restaurant Manager, Alli interacts with most of the visitors to Pauletts.

She wants everyone who visits us to have the same wonderful experience, whether they eat at Bush DeVine or visit the cellar door for a wine tasting experience.

“We’ve had some amazing awards, which is so humbling. But I’m always focused on providing that same level of service to every Pauletts visitor. Everyone should have that same award-winning experience.”

When Alli found a 30-year-old photo of her parents drinking a bottle of Polish Hill River Riesling, she had a full circle moment. Her parents had been drinking Pauletts wine for three decades and now here she is working at the winery. It was clearly meant to be.

Clare Valley Paulette Wines

A wonderful dining experience and great customer service

A wonderful 3 course lunch with beautiful wines out on the deck. The customer service was fabulous and friendly. We will be back to try more from the menu. The stand-up dish was the wagyu rump with tataki. The succulents they used in the dish were so delicious. It definitely wasn't a pretty dish once you startedwith squid ink Mayo being a little deadly if you got it on anything, my napkin looked like a war zone- BUT so tasty. Great views on a cold day.

A wonderful dining experience 👌

22 November 2022

Excellent food wines, service plus great views.

Excellent food wines and service. We had the 5 course degustation with matching wines, and let the chef choose the courses. Best decision! Some subtle dishes with delicate flavours, especially Australian bush flavours, and some unique courses that challenge and delight your preconceptions. If you are in the Clare Valley, set aside a day, arrive early and leave late after savoury the food, the view and, last but not least, the excellent service.

6 November 2022

Exceptional Lunch

This was the standout meal of our 5 day visit to the Clare Valley. My wife and I had a great lunch preceded by a wine tasting at our table which was very well done. We both ordered the large plate roasted barramundi with a side of triple cooked chips, all was delicious and washed down with a bottle of Polish Hill Riesling. Friendly efficient service and a great experience, highly recommended.

18 October 2022

Food lovers heaven

This was a highlight of our visit to Clare. The setting is superb, on the covered deck overlooking the rolling green landscape beyond. We were welcomed with warmth and attentiveness. Our baby was catered for and fussed over and never made to feel an inconvenience. The staff were so cheerful and friendly that it helped set us up for an enjoyable experience. We had the three shared plates and the non-driver had the paired wines. The glasses or wine were generous, as were to food servings. We enjoyed the beetroot and haloumi to start and then the delicious lamb dumplings and finally the barramundi. Each dish had such deliciously complementary flavours and each were mouth watering. It was a bleak rainy day but inside was all cheer and good food. A wonderful choice!

22 September 2022

Sensational food with great native ingredients

We stopped by for some lunch and we’re blown away by the wine and food. They have mastered the art of incorporating Australian native ingredients. Such a sensational mix of flavours. The staff were warm and approachable. Would love to come back.

9 September 2022

Paulett’s- highly recommended lunch

Had the most amazing wine tasting and lunch at Paulett’s today. We chose 3 plates to share- sashimi, lamb and beef served with fresh, home baked bread. The service was superb- friendly and professional. The food was unbelievable- deliciously cooked and served using interesting Australian bush flavours. And of course washed down with a glass of Paulette’s own red wine. Lovely views overlooking the valley. Congratulations to all at Paulette’s. It was a beautiful afternoon on the deck.

21 August 2022

Meals are delightful

Really enjoyed our visit, so good we went back a coup[le of months later. Staff are very good & of course the wine and food are excellent

10 August 2022

Most memorable dining establishment in Australia

This is the second time we've dined at Pauletts, and we enjoyed our lunch as much as we did the first time, a few years ago. When we were in the area last time, we tried a number of well known and highly rated restaurants, but Pauletts was imprinted in our minds as the absolute standout, and we have a couple of chefs in our group. This restaurant was a must for us to return to, and it didn't disappoint. All the staff are lovely and welcoming, the position is gorgeous, the pirice for the quality is sooooo reasonable, and the style, presentation, and taste of all the dishes served was once again exceptional. We did the $44.00 3 course feed us option, and was served the peaches (delectable), the gnocchi (a real taste of Italy), followed by the beef (cooked perfectly, with flavours to savour), and a complimentary tomato salad (absolutely awesome). The wine is so well priced at under $10 a glass, and the homemade sour dough bread was so good, that my husband asked if the chef wouldn't mind giving him a couple of spoons of his sourdough starter (as my husband forgot his starter, and we've just begun a 5 month trip around Australia), which the chef kindly did. Just another reason to put Pauletts at the top of our "must experience" dining list. Pauletts bush divine winery restaurant in Polish Hill (part of the Clare Valley) is 5 star all the way. Experience food the way it should be served, with fresh crisp flavours, quality produce, and edible natives you've never seen before ... what's not to love about this place!

March 2022

A lunch at Pauletts is surely a "must do" for a clare valley visit.

The 5 course degustation where the chef chooses the courses is a gastronomic delight with subtle flavours superbly balanced with accompanying wines, and the occasional course hich challenges your senses and preconceptions Eg whipped Gorgonzola desert. Each of 5 courses matched with wine. Is there any better way to enjoy a wine tasting and laze away an afternoon with good food, good wine, good views and good service. (Dont try this in less than 3 hours) Very attentive and thoughtful staff. Perhaps the highlight of dining around Oz, including some other highly awarded restaurants.

November 2022

Staff were impeccable

We experienced the Tasting Flight when in the Clare Valley recently. We tasted 5 glorious wines, each paired with absolutely delicious canapes. The presentation was stunning. The service and attention of staff was impeccable!

September 2022


Amazing! Incredible location, with kind and attentive staff who were great to chat with. The canape tasting was divine, with an amazing selection of wine that I had never heard of. Highly recommend anyone to give them a visit!.

September 2022

WOW, blown away.

Wow! I was blown away by the food. Three of us had one of the solo mains each and were not disappointed. I think I won with the Beef Cheeks but that just started an argument as to who had the best meal :) The service was excellent but our mains were late, no doubt due to us deferring our mains order so we could savour the wine tasting flights and the restaurant filling rapidly. This minor problem was more that compensated for by a free Piccolo each of their excellent Sparkling Shiraz. Well done and we'll back!

September 2022

We are coming back for sure

The gorgeous staff at Paulett fit us in for a tasting at the bar and it did not disappoint. The lady who served us had us laughing,enjoying ourselves and the wines were beautiful. Will recommend Paulett to anybody who listens. We are coming back for sure!

September 2022

The best I've experienced in Australia

PAULETT wines and their tasting experience I rate as the best I've experienced in Australia. Our waitress,Jade, gave us superb service! As opposed to the standard choice of only 5 wines, we could taste ALL wines on their list. The cheese platter was hands-down the best I've ever tasted. There's also a special offer on at the moment. 12 bottles fir 90 AUD! Fabulous afternoon!

July 2022

5 stars

How can anyone give this anything but 5 stars? The food and service is flawless! Best meal and affordable. Would return for round 2.

September 2022

Probably the best wine tasting ever ...

Thoroughly agree with all the other positive reviews ... from the minute we walked in, all the staff were warm, friendly and couldn't have done more to make it a fabulous experience. What we had thought would be a quick stop turned into a three hour, thoroughly enjoyable lunch topped with stunning views. The wine flights matched with canapes are highly recommended, made all the more enjoyable by the knowledgable team who took the time to answer all our questions without ever making us feel rushed. A big thanks to all from the front of house ladies to the chefs, and everyone else who helped make this such a lovely afternoon - we'll be back!

April 2022