Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Duncan Harris, Owner of Harris Organic Wine and Spirits, located in Baskerville, Australia.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Owner, distiller, and winemaker Duncan Harris established Harris Organic Wines in 1998, and it is Perth’s only certified organic winery & distillery offering wine and brandy for health-conscious enthusiasts on a rustic working farm.

Tell us about yourself

My ancestors first came to Australia as boat people on the first fleet, landing in Sydney in 1788. They were an entrepreneurial lot, with one, Francois Girard, owning the Sydney Hotel (1828) and another, Michael Hayes, Australia's first accountant, operating one of the first illegal distilleries in Australia in 1805.

I grew up in Tasmania's Tamar Valley, graduating from the Launceston Matriculation College and then studying in Melbourne at RMIT. In my 17 years in Melbourne, I built motorcycle engine prototypes, qualified as a patternmaker, and won several awards.

After finishing a Bachelor of Engineering at RMIT, I transferred to Perth in 1993. While working at an automotive research facility, I bought the Swan Valley property at Baskerville in 1998. While working full-time as an engineer, I spent every spare moment building the dream of a vineyard and natural wine-making facilities in the Swan Valley.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I have been surviving 24 years as a small business operator in a changing environment.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Working seven days per week.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Do your homework.
  2. Who will you sell to?
  3. What is your unique selling proposition?

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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