Welcome to Sileni Estate


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Our Team

Meet the Team

Meet some of the talented team behind our Sileni Wines and Cellar Door

James Hillard


James Hillard

James started his studies in wine in the early 1990s at Charles Sturt University after being beguiled by a particularly good bottle of Penfold’s Kalimna Shiraz and thirst for knowledge about wine. He served his apprenticeship under John Cassegrain at Cassegrain Wines in the Hastings River region of NSW and established strong links with Az. Agricola Ricci Curbastro, making fine sparkling wines in the Franciacorta region of Italy.

An excellent opportunity presented across the ditch in early 2004 to run what was then Tairawhiti Polytechnic’s Certificate in Wine and managing its vineyard and winery operations and wine labels- Waimata Vineyards and Cognoscenti Wines. Further vintages at Ricci Curbastro and Giant Steps wine in the Yarra Valley ensued before starting at Indevin in Gisborne in time for 2012 harvest and moving to Hawke’s Bay in 2017 overseeing winemaking operations as Production Winemaker. In July 2022 James started in his role as Winemaker at Sileni and has been involved in a range of domestic and International Wineshows since 2005.

Cellar Door Manager

Dom Quilichini

Meet Dom, our cellar door manager and expert on all things wine. Dom loves his role, being able to share his passion and knowledge of wine with customers every day.

Dom has a rich history in the wine industry, having worked in it for over 11 years and being originally from the South of France, coming from a family of viticulturists. "It was only natural for me to fall in love with NZ wines."

From the vineyards to the cellar door and sales consulting, he has studied over 400 wineries in NZ. He loves sharing the stories behind all his favourite wines while helping guests discover their own.

When asked about his favourites, "Sileni Peak Syrah and Lodge Chardonnay are my go-to wines. I feel fortunate to live here in Hawke's Bay surrounded by beautiful vines and spectacular wine."

Dom Quilichini