Our Board

The Board is established and governed under the Wine Australia Act 2013. It has a Chair and between five and seven directors. The current Chair has been re-appointed for a three-year term that ends 30 June 2020. The current Board has been appointed for a three-year term that ends 30 September 2021.

Our Board comprises eight non-executive members appointed by the Minister.

Mr Brian Walsh (South Australia) – Chair

Brian lives in the Barossa, working as a wine sector consultant since 2013 following a 24-year career at Yalumba.

He began at Yalumba in 1988 as Chief Winemaker, later joining the Board as Director of Wine, before becoming Director of Strategy and Business Development. His early career was in McLaren Vale working in various winemaking and management positions over a 20-year period.

Brian has held numerous wine sector roles, including President of the South Australian Wine Industry Association, Chair of the South Australian Wine Tourism Advisory Board, Chair of Barossa Winemakers Committee, Chair of the Wine Innovation Cluster and Independent Chair of Riverland Wine.

As a strong supporter of the Australian wine show system, Brian has been both Chairman of Judges at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show and Chair of its Wine Committee.

Dr Michele Allan (Victoria) – Deputy Chair

Michele is currently Chair of the Boards of Apple and Pear Australia Limited, Charles Sturt University and Meat and Livestock Australia. She is a non-executive director of Wine Australia, CSIRO, Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre, CRC Food Agility, Nuffield Australia, Dairy Food Safety Victoria and Grain Growers Limited.

Her prior board roles include Tasmanian Irrigation, Innovation and Science Australia, Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, Forest and Wood Products Australia, William Angliss Institute, Callaghan Innovation (NZ) and Food Standards Australia and New Zealand. Michele held executive roles with Amcor Limited, Kraft Foods, Bonlac Foods Limited, ICI, Tasmanian Bioinformatics Centre of Excellence Tasmania, Johnson and Johnson and Nestle.

Michele has a Bachelor of Applied Science from University of Technology Sydney, Master of Management of Technology from Melbourne University, Master Commercial Law Deakin University and Doctorate from RMIT. She is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.

Mr Brian Croser AO (South Australia)

Brian began his career as a winemaker with Thomas Hardy and Sons in 1969.

In the early 70s Brian studied for a Masters from The University of California at Davis and went on to establish the Wine Science program at Charles Sturt University.

By 1976 Brian had established Petaluma and in 1978 gave it a home in the Piccadilly Valley; and in 1986 established Argyle winery in Oregon (US).

Brian served as Chairman of the Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney and Perth wine shows and twice as President of WFA. For his service to Australian wine he was awarded an Order of Australia, the Maurice O’Shea award and was the Decanter Man of the Year in 2004.

Brian was Deputy Chancellor of the University of Adelaide from 1999 to 2007 and was made a Doctor of the University for his service, having received a similar honour from Charles Sturt University.

Brian still lives at the Tiers Vineyard in Piccadilly Valley and is the winemaker for Tapanappa and Tunkalilla Vineyard in Oregon.

Ms Catherine Cooper (South Australia)

Catherine is an experienced non-Executive Director having served on approximately 50 boards. After a professional career as a commercial lawyer, Catherine moved into the business world and developed wide knowledge and experience across a broad range of sectors such as agribusiness, food and health, energy, water, science and technology.

Catherine has been involved in start-ups, small to medium enterprises, public and private sectors, Australian Stock Exchange-listed (ASX), and not-for-profit organisations on a national and international basis. Career highlights include the establishment of national joint venture, Rural Bank, being a Telstra Business Woman of the Year finalist – twice, inclusion in an international management program at GE and winning a position in the Australian Institute of Company Director’s ASX Top 200 Chairman’s Mentoring Program. Catherine is an experienced Audit Committee Chair and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Professor Peter Hoj AC (Queensland)

Professor Peter Høj AC has been Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of Queensland since 2012. He was previously Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of South Australia (2007–12), Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Research Council (2004–07) and Managing Director of The Australian Wine Research Institute (1997–2004).

He was educated at the University of Copenhagen, majoring in biochemistry and chemistry, and has a Master of Science degree in biochemistry and genetics, a PhD in photosynthesis, an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Copenhagen and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of South Australia.

Professor Høj is a Director of the Board of Group of Eight (Go8) Universities (and in 2017 was the Chair) and a member of the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board.

He served on the CSIRO Board 2011–14 and was member of the Prime Minister’s Science Engineering and Innovation Council 1999–2004 and 2006–07.

He is a Companion of the Order of Australia, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, a Foreign Member of The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, and was awarded an Australian Government Centenary Medal for service to Australia through wine research and science.

Professor Høj chairs the RD&E Committee.

Ms Cath Oates (Western Australia)

Cath’s international winemaking career began after studying business/viticulture at Curtin University followed by oenology at University of Adelaide. Senior industry roles have included Group Winemaker at Mud House Wine Group (NZ) and Chief Winemaker at Plantagenet Estate.

Cath has served as President of Great Southern Wine Producers Association and Margaret River Wine Association. During her time in New Zealand she also served as the winemaking representative on the Advisory Board of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand.

A keen wine show judge Cath has judged extensively both in Australia and overseas. Currently Cath is the owner of Oates Ends, wines from the vineyard on the intergenerational farming property in Margaret River. Cath also runs a consultancy business providing strategic winemaking and wine education.

Ms Mary Retallack (South Australia)

Mary Retallack is an experienced director, agricultural scientist and third-generation viticulturist who brings a wide range of skills and experience from practical, extension and consultancy roles in the global wine sector over the past two decades. She is currently Managing Director of Retallack Viticulture, which offers viticultural and agribusiness consulting services throughout Australia and is recognised international as a Certified Practicing Agriculturist.

Mary has tertiary qualifications in conservation and park management, natural resource management, education, arbitration and viticulture and is a PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide, studying the use of native insectary plants to boost predatory arthropod populations in vineyards.

She also is a member of the Adelaide University Wine Alumni Steering Group, and the Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower and Winemaker editorial panel.

She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors Diploma course, a Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, a Future Leaders graduate, a past Non-Executive Director of the AWRI and Wine Communicators of Australia, Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, a past member of the South Australian Wine Industry Council, and a past founding member of WGGA’s Decision Support Network and the ‘Women of the Vine’ Global Symposium advisory board.

Mary’s leadership capabilities and excellence in science have been acknowledged via the RIRDC Rural Woman of the Year (national winner), as a 100 Women in Australian Agribusiness inductee, a Len Evans Tutorial Scholar, a PIRSA’s Women influencing agribusiness and regions ambassador, and a Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame inductee.

Mr Mitchell Taylor (New South Wales) 

Mitchell Taylor is third-generation Managing Director and winemaker for Clare Valley family-winery, Taylors Wines. Mitchell worked in finance and stockbroking in both London and Sydney before joining Taylors Wines in 1988 and later becoming the Managing Director in 2000. 

Mitchell currently oversees all aspects of the business. As an experienced winemaker, Mitchell maintains a very hands-on role at the winery, supervising all winemaking activities to ensure the quality and consistency of all Taylors wine is maintained.

His commitment to the Australian wine industry extends to involvement in key industry associations, including his role as a founding and current director of Australia’s First Families of Wine, Chairman of the National Wine Foundation, Director of The Drinks Association and a member of the Wine Australia Marketing Advisory Group. Previous roles include former Director and Vice President of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Alcohol Beverages Australia, and a Founding and Past Chairman of YPO Sydney.

Mitchell is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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