Meet The Team

Dean Taylor

Chief Executive Officer

Originally an architect, Dean established Wine Ark in 2000 a climate-controlled storage business managing over $200m of wine around the country.

In 2003 he launched Wine Exchange an online wine trading platform and The Cellar Club an ultra premium wine club, which were acquired by Cellarmasters in 2009.

In 2010 he founded Cracka Wines a direct-to-consumer marketplace that became one of Australia’s top 50 online retailers. Catering for niche market segments, he also launched Winegrowers Direct and My Wine Guy, before merging those businesses with The Wine Society to form The Wine Collective.

Not one to sit on his laurels, he’s now running WINEDEPOT, a B2B wine trading & logistics platform acquired by DW8 in April 2019.

Named in 50 Stars of Wine and Top 50 People in E-commerce, he’s highly regarded within the wine and online retail communities. His ventures have all been disruptive with a strong technology focus, putting him in an ideal position to lead DW8.

Steven Alexander

Chief Operations Officer

With almost two decades of hands-on operational experience within the logistics and supply chain industry, Steven brings not only extensive general management and operational experience but also significantly bolsters the company’s capability to roll out its innovative supply chain solution both here in Australia and in other global markets.

Steven has held key strategic roles with organizations like Fastway, Damco (part of the A.P Moller Maersk Group) and Americold LLC. Steven holds a Bachelor of Business (Logistics and Supply Chain Management), a Diploma in Logistics Management and is currently completing his Masters of Business Law.

Matthew Johnson

Chief Financial Officer

Matthew is a Chartered Accountant with over 25 years of hands-on accounting and financial management experience in a range of local and international businesses of various scales.

Companies that he has worked for include PBL, British Telecom, Westfield, George Patts, Fairfax and DMG World Media. Over the last 5 years, Matt’s focus has been mostly helping fast-growing SaaS and Fintech businesses including Maestrano, Inlogik and GeoOP (NZA:GEO). Matt’s appointment has allowed us to bring the financial function back in house and establish the structures and systems required to support a rapidly scaling business and provide the real-time reporting regime that is expected in a technology start-up.

Davide Defendi

Chief Technology Officer

Davide is a leader and entrepreneur, experienced in advancing companies from inception through to sale, across several industries.

Originally a certified software engineer it wasn’t long before Davide was looking to disrupt traditional business through innovative technology. From a start-up perspective Davide has been involved with/founded two digital agencies, a technology recycling & service business, an instant messaging business similar to WhatsApp with user growth of more than 15 million users and an IOT based enterprise.

He’s sold technology to and served on the board of both public ASX listed and private companies. He has a proven ability to manage all aspects of business; including negotiating multi-million dollar customer contracts; leading dynamic, multi-functional teams and organisations; and executing innovative strategies to create and deliver value.

Richard Smith

Head of Product (Technology)

Richard has over 15 years of Product Leadership experience across many industries in both SME and large corporates. He has significant experience in B2B products and the Payment industry.

His most recent role was as the Head of Product with Mint Payments, managing the deployment, maintenance and enhancement of 4 core products across 3 markets (AU, NZ and Singapore). Prior to that, he was a Senior Product Manager at American Express Commercial Payments, responsible for products generating over $2b billings per annum. He was also the founder and managing director of NZ Wine Online, an online wine retail business.

Richard’s key responsibility will be overseeing the product development road-map for WINEDEPOT technology platform including the design, testing and launch of the B2B marketplace. Richard holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Harvard Certificate in Leadership Excellence.

Joe Davidson

Junior Product Manager

Joe is passionate about working with people, technology and systems to deliver real value to businesses. His experience extends across a variety of industries such as Retail, Travel & Tourism, Education and Insurance.

After a stint in customer service, he transitioned into product management for an insurtech firm based in Sydney where he managed multiple complex product releases and supported critical time-bound bug fixes.

Joe plays a critical role in the development and management of WINEDEPOT’s technology platform with a strong focus on building innovative solutions for improved customer experience.

Lenka Chadaj

Product Management

Lenka is a vivacious character whose commitment to problem-solving goes above and beyond her title. Combining UX, UI, Product Management with her background in talent solutions and sales, Lenka deep dives into the customer journey and psyche to develop innovative solutions.

Lenka’s background in wine started in Cellarmasters when she moved to Australia from the UK in 2014 – where she was a top biller in the outbound sales team and a key account manager for premium customers.

With a Dip. of Art & Design (Illustration), BA(Hons) in English Literature & Creative Writing, and now about to finish her Post Grad Cert in UX & Web Design, and a passion for Human-Centered Design; Lenka is broadly qualified to drive the user experience from the bottom up.

 
 
 
 

Aaron Brasher

Head of Business Development

Aaron has over 25 years’ experience in the wine sector working for some of Australia’s most well-known brands including Penfolds, Petaluma and Robert Oatley Vineyards. He also spent a number of years as the Regional Director for the peak industry body Wine Australia.

A wine graduate of Roseworthy Agricultural College (University of Adelaide), Aaron has spent most of the last two decades in senior roles within major wine distribution businesses, he brings with him a wealth of knowledge, experience and deep industry relationships.

Aaron is a graduate and panel judge of the Australian Wine Research Institute’s Advanced Wine Assessment Course and was a participant in the 2002 Len Evans Tutorial Scholarship, designed to further develop the industry’s most gifted wine palates. He is also a graduate of the Winemakers Federation ‘Future Leaders’ program.

Influential UK wine writer Matthew Jukes named Aaron as one of the top 50 Young Leaders of the Australian Wine Industry and the highly respected publication Wine Business Monthly named him as one of the ‘Top 50 Stars’ of Australian wine in their annual review.

Nick James-Martin

Business Development Manager | Margaret River, WA

Nick has been deeply immersed in the wine industry for almost two decades, gaining invaluable experience across a broad range of roles in well-known wine businesses such as Vasse Felix, Stella Bella, d’Arenberg, Pernod Ricard and Rosemount Estate. 

Roles that he has held include global brand ambassador, export sales manager, winemaker, wine writer & presenter. A graduate of Bachelor in Wine Marketing, he also holds a Masters in Oenology, WSET Level III and has been a guest lecturer in Oenology at University of Adelaide. 

He is also the founder and maker of ‘Wines of Merritt’, a boutique Margaret River based Winery making low intervention wines. Nick’s appointment provides WINEDEPOT with a highly respected member of the Margaret River winemaking community, to service customers located in and around this market.

Matthew Talbot

Business Development Manager | Yarra Valley, VIC

Matt is a highly successful sales, marketing and operational professional with extensive experience in wine distribution, winery management, hospitality management, brand management, warehousing & logistics and importing and exporting. 

Matt spent seven years with the Joval Wine Group (Red+White), one of Australia’s largest distributors, where he managed both domestic and export sales for a portfolio of brands including Catalina Sounds, Nanny Goat & Sticks. Prior to this he was a Sales Manager with the group selling and marketing key brands such as Giant Steps, Shaw+Smith, Felton Road, Roederer, Vietti and Domaine Ott. 

Matt currently lives on the outskirts of the Yarra Valley and his most recent role was managing Coombe Yarra Valley, a beautiful and chic winery/restaurant, located in the former home of opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. His appointment provides WINEDEPOT with a dedicated resource based in one of Australia’s most well-known wine regions, with a very strong network in the Victorian wine and hospitality industries.

Ashton Ireland

Business Development & General Manager | Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Ash is a seasoned wine industry executive with a strong background in business management, having launched, built and recently successfully exiting one of New Zealand’s fastest growing and successful wine brands Hãhã. 

Prior to that he was the General Manager of Craggy Range Vineyards, an internationally recognised winery, responsible for brand advocacy and ambassadorial representation for their Wild Rock brand across domestic and all international markets. Before entering the wine industry he leveraged his Bachelor of Business Studies Degree from Massey University working as a Financial Controller in an import / export and retail business. 

His strengths include strategic development, brand building, product management and development, financial management, delivering revenue, sales leadership, international business, systems development, and relationship management. Ash will leverage his strong relationships within the New Zealand wine industry contacts to help WINEDEPOT establish and rapidly develop a presence in that market.

Ron Raymond

Head of Customer Success

Ron’s experience spans across a range of industries and roles covering Customer Success, Account Management, Business Development, E-commerce, Engineering.

Founder of Webdeals Direct, a popular dropshipping marketplace, Ron’s experience will help owners grow their business online and through technology. 

With over 10 years experience in customer success – focusing on online marketplaces; Ron has a proven track record in increasing customer retention and satisfaction. His passion is to engage and enhance customer experience with WINEDEPOT and he is committed to ensure that our growing list of wine, spirits and beverage customers, make the most of our end-to-end fulfilment model.

Simon Meilak

Head of Customer Service

Simon is a highly skilled and successful customer experience executive with over 18 years of contact centre experience in maximizing customer satisfaction, through effective leadership and proactive strategies. 

He joins us after spending the last 4 years at Pet Circle, an extremely successful startup that has become Australia’s 3rd largest e-commerce business and Australia’s largest online pet store with over 500,000 repeat customers. Under his stewardship, their customer service team grew from 3 to over 120 agents both on and off-shore, delivering world-class service levels to the 50,000 plus contacts per month the business had across various communication channels. Prior to that, he held Sales Operations Management and Contact Centre Operations Management roles at SpinTel another startup that delivers bespoke Telco services to consumers and businesses. 

Simon will leverage his experience in establishing and operating world-class contact centres to build WINEDEPOT a resource capable of supporting the rapid growth of the business.

Anna Donald

Demand Planning & Inventory Manager

With more than 10 years’ experience across operations, account management, buying, customer service and supply chain management within wine and FMCG industries.

Originally from New Zealand, Anna cut her teeth in the industry working for Laithwaite’s, an internationally renowned wine merchant. Her role included overseeing the deployment of the application across the companies divisions in Australia, Hong Kong and the USA. 

She then spent 3 years in supply chain management working for Adhesif Labels before joining Graysonline, one of Australia’s largest online wine businesses. As one of their buyers, her role included managing key supplier accounts such as Moet-Hennessy, Pernod Ricard, McWilliams, Treasury Wines, Accolade and De Bortoli to name a few.

Recognising her skills and experience, she was soon promoted to the position of Sales Operations & Third-party Logistics Manager where she oversaw the procurement, picking, packing and delivery of literally millions of bottles per year.

Passionate about wine and innovation for the industry, Anna has a track record of optimising and solving complex operational and business functions through the use of technology.

Riste Stankovski

Final Mile Manager

Riste is a seasoned supply chain operative with over 30 years’ experience in front-line operational management of national multi-node distribution and transport networks. His extensive experience covers elements such as storage, warehousing, kitting, international logistics, inventory control, transportation (rail, air, road and express final mile) and distribution across various channels to market. 

He joins WINEDEPOT from Gerard Lighting Group, Australia’s largest manufacturer and distributor of lighting products and accessories with an annual turnover of $400m employing 800 people nationally. As their National Logistics & Distribution Manager he supervised 9 distribution centres, 120 warehouse personnel, a product range of over 40,000 unique SKU’s and their 3PL relationships. 

His role as Final Mile Manager at WINEDEPOT is to oversee and optimise our 3PL carrier network ensuring that they meet our customers’ service level, delivery time and productivity expectations. He commenced on 3 August 2020. ​

Rachel Kim

Digital Marketing Strategist

Rachel is an experienced Digital Marketing Strategist with a solid background in marketing strategy, project management, copywriting, content creation and social media marketing. She also has over 5 years of hands-on experience in B2B marketing and lead generation. 

She joins us after spending the last two years working for Wise Up Marketing Solutions, a full-service marketing agency. Prior to that, she held roles with a strategic B2B lead generation agency and as an in-house marketing manager for a hospitality group. 

In addition to her marketing experience, she has strong financial, analytical and statistical skills holding a B.A. Economics from UNSW with a double major in Financial Economics and Marketing. 

As the first member of our in-house marketing team, Rachel will be instrumental in leveraging the fantastic case studies and testimonials that the business has managed to generate so far to build deeper brand awareness and acquire new customers. 

Angelina Kachan

Digital Marketing Assistant

Angelina is a creative thinker who breathes content, aesthetics and engagement.

With a wealth of knowledge & hands-on experience in popular social media platforms, she has an eye on all the emerging trends and demonstrates a strong understanding of do’s and don’t’s in the ever-evolving social media game.

As a journalist in the past, Angelina has a zest for storytelling and filmmaking that continues to be a driving force in content strategies and visual assets she creates. Starting from various video experiments and a successful documentary, she keeps pushing creative boundaries and evolves her skill set with motion design and fashion styling.

Through digital growth, Angelina provides WINEDEPOT with an interactive expression and contributes to the development of a forward-thinking brand identity that meets the expectations of a modern customer.

Jessica Song

Junior Graphic Designer

Jessica is a budding designer with experience in branding, content creation and social media marketing. She graduated from UTS with a bachelor’s degree in Design in Visual Communications where she gained an in-depth understanding of the foundations of design and built her practical skillset.

She has previously worked as a junior designer at a branding studio where she further developed her design skills and gained experience working closely with a range of clients from different industries. The role allowed her to be involved in all aspects of the branding process, from the ideation phase to rolling out the finalised brand assets.

As the junior graphic designer and a member of the marketing team at WINEDEPOT, she will be utilising creative thinking to produce designs across all platforms, ensuring that assets follow the brand guidelines in order to establish a strong visual identity and push the brand forward.

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