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10 Nov 2023

Fifteen innovators, thinkers and trailblazers from across the grape and wine sector have today graduated from the intensive five-month leadership development program Future Leaders. 

This program aims to foster the individual talents of each of the participants and enhance their leadership skills for the benefit of the greater Australian grape and wine community.

Future Leaders is coordinated and funded by Wine Australia and supported by Australian Grape & Wine. This year’s cohort joins a community of more than 100 graduates who have taken part in the program over its more than 15-year history.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Dr Martin Cole said bold ideas and brave minds would pave a path forward for a sector facing major challenges.

“The standard of applicants this year was exceptional; the diverse range of people and expertise clearly demonstrates the wide range of talent that our sector needs,” Dr Cole said.

“It’s times where our community is facing major hurdles that we need to attract and retain the future leaders of our sector. This group is well-positioned to embrace change and bring new ideas in what’s been an incredibly changing operating environment.” 

Australian Grape & Wine Chief Executive Officer Lee McLean echoed Dr Cole’s thoughts and reiterated the Australian wine sector’s support for the program, emphasising the importance of investing in the sector’s emerging talent.

“It’s exciting to see the diverse array of talented people in the Future Leaders cohort this year. With leaders like this stepping up in their businesses, regions and associations, we are well placed to drive progress and success in our sector in the years ahead,” Mr McLean said.

As part of the program, the Future Leaders drew upon their experience and expertise to create considered responses to the sector’s immediate and future challenges. 

These thought leadership pieces have been compiled into the book Thought Leadership volume 4, which will be launched at today’s graduation. Topics include how the sector should respond to climate change; long-term sustainability; marketing; exports, business structures, and market diversification. 

Graduates Lucy Etheridge, Bodhi Edwards and Caitlin Davies reflected on their experiences through the program.

“Having the opportunity to be among such an inspired group of people, who I wholeheartedly now consider friends, has been a privilege,” said Yarrawalla Vineyards General Manager Lucy Etheridge. “The program has helped me realise, and be comfortable with, my value as a leader within the Australian wine sector and beyond.”

“The program has exceeded my expectations, enhancing my leadership skills through self-discovery and providing me with a whole new industry perspective,” Senior Industry Advisor at Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA Bodhi Edwards added.

“I am grateful to the wine industry for supporting the delivery of the Future Leaders program through Wine Australia. Future Leaders has skyrocketed my professional development through engaging modules delivered thoughtfully through Pragmatic Thinking,” said Caitlin Davies, Sales and Marketing Coordinator, Jericho Wines. 

The graduates of the Future Leaders 2023 program represent all aspects of the Australian grape and wine sector, from viticulture and winemaking through to marketing and sales. 

The Future Leaders for 2023 are:

  • Amy Blackburn, AVL Wines (Sunraysia)
  • Andrew Duff, Briar Ridge Vineyard (Hunter Valley)
  • Andrew Shedden, Endeavour Drinks Group (Melbourne)
  • Belinda van Eyssen, The Cutting (Barossa)
  • Bodhi Edwards, Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA (Adelaide)
  • Caitlin Davies, Jericho Wines (Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale)
  • Eloise Jarvis, Cape Mentelle Vineyards (Margaret River)
  • George Taylor, Treasury Wine Estates (Barossa)
  • Jamie Pike, Pikes Wines (Clare)
  • Katie Spain, Wine journalist and feature writer for Good Food, WBM, and Gourmet Traveller (Adelaide)
  • Kendall Clements-Virag, Pernod Ricard Winemakers (Adelaide and Barossa)
  • Lucy Etheridge, Yarrawalla Vineyards (Yarra Valley)
  • Monica Gray, See Saw Wines (Orange)
  • Ray Ruiming Chen, Endeavour Drinks Group and Rongo Wines (Melbourne and Yarra Valley), and 
  • Steven Paul, Oakdene Wines (Geelong).

Applications to join the next Future Leaders program open in late January 2025.

For media enquiries please contact or phone 08 8228 2000. 

About Wine Australia

Wine Australia supports a competitive wine sector by investing in research and innovation (R&I), growing domestic and international markets, protecting the reputation of Australian wine.

Wine Australia is an Australian Commonwealth Government statutory authority, established under the Wine Australia Act 2013, and funded by grape growers and winemakers through levies and user-pays charges and the Australian Government, which provides matching funding for R&I investments.

About Future Leaders

Future Leaders is a professional and personal development program that encourages innovative, collaborative and change-making behaviours in the Australian wine sector. It encourages those who have demonstrated leadership potential to dare to ask ‘Why’ and ‘What if…?’

Future Leaders creates a network of confident, committed individuals who will ‘be next’ to contribute to the future success of the Australian grape and wine community. Future Leaders is funded by Wine Australia and supported by Australia’s major wine sector body Australian Grape & Wine. Future Leaders is designed and delivered by Pragmatic Thinking, using contemporary leadership thought practices grounded in behavioural science and psychology. 

Wine Australia invests in the Future Leaders program as part of its policy of investing in sector leadership. In the same vein, it supports the Next Crop regional leadership program, the Wine Industry Mentor Program and research scholarships.

About Australian Grape & Wine Inc

Australian Grape & Wine Inc is the national association of grape and wine producers. We address issues across the supply-chain that impact on the profitability and sustainability of the sector. We lead and advocate public policy that enhances the ability to responsibly produce, promote and enjoy Australian wine in moderation.

Australian Grape & Wine is recognised as a representative organisation for winegrape and wine producers under the Wine Australia Act 2013, and is incorporated under the SA Associations Incorporation Act 1985. We work in partnership with the Australian Government to develop and implement policy that is in the best interests of winegrape growers and winemakers across Australia.


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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.