Melanie Gilcrist

Melanie Gilcrist

Graduate Wine Ambassador
Melanie studied Public Relations at Deakin University

What's your job about?

You know those jobs that seem too amazing and far-fetched to be true? When you sit around the dinner table and talk about what you would do if you could have any job in the world? I have one of those jobs.

Pernod Ricard is a co-leader in wine and spirits globally and I work for the wine business. I’m currently doing five months training in South Australia, Sydney, New Zealand, Spain and California to learn everything there is to know about wine, our business and the industry. This includes work in wineries, learning at the cellar door, sales and marketing, and completing globally recognised industry qualifications. The variance is fantastic as I’m learning what business areas interest me the most, and getting to use my creativity and autonomy.

I’m learning so much, and am lucky enough to be on this journey with a group of other like-minded people who are just as passionate about wine, are filled with knowledge and who make this experience a whole lot of fun!

In July, I’ll be taking my knowledge to Montreal to help promote Pernod Ricard’s iconic brands such as Jacob’s Creek, Campo Viejo and Brancott Estate.

The brilliant thing is; how I do this is up to me. I will identify what I can bring to the market and use my new skills to make it happen! This might mean raising the profile of wine within in the office, going to local restaurants and bars to tell the stories behind the products, working with industry associations, or being the face of our brands at events.

What's your background?

I’m a country girl at heart, from Warragul, Eastern Victoria. I studied Public Relations at Deakin University and was very active in networking and blogging. I entered the workforce as a Public Affairs Consultant working in the communications team for a dairy company. I loved working in agriculture and was growing to love wine more and more as a hobby.

One day I got too frustrated not knowing the difference between pinot gri and pinot grigio so I enrolled in a wine appreciation course. But instead of satisfying my enthusiasm, it just continued grow; before I knew it, I’d turned my fitness blog into a wine blog (my readers were very confused!)

I came across this opportunity while looking through wine photos on Instagram. The picture I came across was captioned; “I never dread going to work on a Monday. Today I tasted wines from China, Argentina, and USA!” That certainly got my attention! It only took a couple of minutes research to realise this was my dream job. The application was a three minute video due in just four days, and I managed to pull together something I was able to be really proud of.

The rest is history; I’ve been in the Barossa Valley for 5 weeks now, learning more than I ever thought possible about a product that I’m so passionate about. I can’t wait to head to Montreal at the conclusion of my training to be a Wine Ambassador and educate the team and broader market on our amazing wine portfolio - and of course to watch ice hockey and eat poutine!

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Absolutely! The only prerequisites are a degree and a passion for wine. Our graduate group all come from vastly different backgrounds with various qualifications. What we do have in common is bright and outgoing personalities, a sense of fun, a love of learning and a drive to succeed.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

Hands down, exploring different countries learning about wine! How many people can say they’re paid to do that? I also get to meet the most incredible, talented people in the business, and experience the industry from the grape all the way to the consumer’s hands.

What are the limitations of your job?

It’s certainly not 9-5, hours can differ and you need to be flexible. It can also be interesting living, working and socialising with the same group of people during training! You make very close friends but need to find some space every now and then too.

3 pieces of advice for your teenage self...

  1. Keep at learning languages. This is a huge asset with global businesses and will get you far.
  2. Take opportunities. Attend that networking night; take the person up on the offer to learn more; do that unpaid work for exposure. If you’re proactive and do these things, you’ll often get a lot of value out!
  3. Dream big & believe in yourself. Sounds lame, but it’s very true. I never thought I was going to amount to anything particularly special, yet here I am in the job of my dreams! Once I realised what I was capable of, I had the confidence to chase these goals I never thought possible for myself.