Next Crop seeding a new generation of leaders

RD&A News | June 2021
11 Jun 2021
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How do you encourage young viticulturists and individuals from across the regions to take on leadership roles and to build confidence to participate in industry decision making?

An innovative program – a three-way partnership between Wine Australia, Regional Program partners or regional associations and a provider organisation – aims to provide the answer.

Next Crop is a biennial regionally-based professional and personal development program for emerging leaders who want to understand their leadership capacity and gain exposure to concepts of leadership. The aim is to build confidence within individuals and to provide a development opportunity that will keep the future generation engaged and committed to the region and their career in the grape and wine sector.

Two regions that are trialling the program are the Barossa and Langhorne Creek regions – who between them have almost 40 participants.

Barossa Next Crop 2021 participants. From left to right back: Trent Burge, Jack Scholz, Bronson Kies, Callum Powell, Brad Manuel, Tom Bartholomaeus, Haydon Ahrens, Ben Miles, Tyran Haase, Sean Heidenreich, Sean Schrapel, Jake Rosenzweig, Adrian Rohrlach, Matt Neldner. From left to right front: Nicki Robins (BGWA Viticultural Development Manager), Erin Turner, Tyla Schulz, Kate Tracy, Paul Thomas, Steve Baraglia, Sophie Melton, Adam Pietsch, Conrad Pohlinger, Kate Koch and Dani Gaggl.

Nicki Robins, Viticultural Development Officer for the Barossa Grape & Wine Association, said the program was an ideal opportunity for young leaders to step forward and make their mark.

‘Our region is predominately generational farming and in 2021, the average age of a Barossa grapegrower is around 60 years old. So this presents an opportunity for the younger generation, Barossa’s Next Crop, to take charge and implement a range of updated skills into their family or vineyard business.’

Nicki said the Barossa Grape & Wine Association was keen to encourage young growers to take on leadership roles – whether in their own family businesses, or on behalf of the region – and the Next Crop program was an ideal vehicle for this.

Barossa’s program includes monthly workshops held over a nine-month period. Sessions include ‘As it was, as it is now and where to from here?’; The wine sector value chains/resilience and leadership; Doing business in the digital age; Creating resilient landscapes in the Barossa and Getting to know the Future Makers.

‘We’re really excited to see our young leaders emerge and stamp their mark on our region’, Nicki said.

Lian Jaensch, the Executive Officer of Langhorne Creek Grape and Wine Incorporated, said the Next Crop program was a win for both individuals and the community.

Langhorne Creek Next Crop 2021 participants. Left to right: Rhys Fitzgerald, Robyn Follett, Caroline Schaub-Williams, Matt Schmidt, Verity Cowley, Mitchell Cleggett, Tasman Follett, Kate Clapton-Caputo, Jackson Janz, Travis Tombleson. Absent: Nicole Clark, Rebecca (Beck) Burgess.

‘It’s a brilliant opportunity for us’, said Lian. ‘We are a small region in population and this pilot has attracted a great mix to the table. We have winemakers, grape growers, viticulturists, marketers, brand owners, extension officers, vineyard managers/supervisors, cellar door supervisors and business directors – and many combinations of these – taking part in the pilot program. We’ve even been lucky enough to have an even mix of males and females across a range of age demographics.’

The participants will take part in a range of industry training and sessions including The Industry at Work (a meet and greet with heads of the grape and wine sector); A Future Vision (value chain thinking and project planning); Smooth Running (financial and business management and succession); Governance, Media Training and Building Our Community. 

Lian said building industry and community capability was very important to the future of the region.  

‘Of course we want to encourage new levels of engagement and leadership in our association and the local sector, but equally the personal development of participants can be of great value to the community and thereby through to the local industry. Everyone wins.’

Click here to learn more about the Next Crop program.

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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.