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New vintage of Future Leaders

11 Oct 2017

A new generation of leaders will be launched into the wine sector today. Sixteen young members of the Australian wine sector’s Future Leaders program have graduated after an intensive schedule that will prepare them to be the next generation of leaders in Australian wine.

The program is a joint initiative of Wine Australia, Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) and Australian Vignerons (AV) that gives emerging leaders, from early to mid-career, an opportunity to develop their leadership, business and marketing skills.

Over a six-month period, the graduates heard from thought leaders both within and beyond the wine sector, including some of Australia’s best speakers on the topics of innovation, leadership and culture, and connected with people from across the grape and wine community, including Future Leaders alumni.

Wine Australia Chair Brian Walsh said, ‘Since the first program in 2006, there had been seven intakes, including the latest vintage. Now there are over 100 alumni, many already making significant contributions to the sector, through their own companies, sector committees, company boards and in research’.

‘I have every confidence that this group has the nous to embrace all it has learned and implement this knowledge in rewarding and positive ways’, Mr Walsh said.

WFA President Sandy Clark said, ‘I am delighted that we have this extraordinarily talented group of young women and men who are prepared to take the industry challenges head on and make a positive difference for the whole sector.’

AV Independent Chair Jo Andrew said the experiences over the past months would ‘contribute to a graduation group who had the skills to influence businesses, regions and the greater sector, and the confidence and contacts to do so’.

The 2017 Future Leaders program, conducted by Pragmatic Thinking, explored new avenues in business, innovation, culture, marketing and governance, and how global economics was shaping the future. Participants looked at new technologies and contemporary approaches to people leadership and business success. They were exposed to the latest thinking in behavioural science, neuro science, and cutting-edge leadership thinking.

The program offered opportunities to develop connections between participants and with WFA, AV, and Future Leaders’ Alumni, in addition to Wine Australia.

The 16 graduates are:

  • Alexia Roberts, Galvanized Wine Group (Penny's Hill)
  • Richard Angove, Angove Family Winemakers
  • Sarah Collingwood, Four Winds Vineyard
  • Chris Dent, Viticulturist
  • Claire Doughty, Brand Warrior Communications
  • Paula Edwards, Winegrapes Australia
  • Shirley Fraser de Zolt, Byrne Vineyards
  • Mary Hamilton, Hugh Hamilton Wines
  • Simon Killeen, Simão & Co. Wines
  • Richard Leask, Leask Agriculture
  • Chris Morrison, Consultant
  • Gwyneth Olson, Pepper Tree Wines
  • Wes Pearson, Australian Wine Research Institute
  • Natalie Pizzini, Pizzini Wines
  • Anthony Robinson, Treasury Wine Estates
  • Marc Soccio, Agfinity

As part of their leadership challenge, the graduands were asked to put together some of their thoughts on leadership, which have been compiled into a book.

Each selected their own topic – based on what they saw as pressing issues for them, their organisation or the sector – sometimes spanning all three of those areas. There are thoughts around management and leadership, innovation, growing and making as well as marketing and brand awareness. From crowd funding to penetrating the US market, to family succession planning and challenging the norm.

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 Nuffield Australia scholarship program, travel bursaries and post-graduate scholarships.


For media enquiries please contact

Hannah Bentley – Wine Australia
Communications Manager
Phone: 08 8228 2027 / 0428 930 865

About Wine Australia

Wine Australia supports a competitive wine sector by investing in research, development and extension (RD&E), growing domestic and international markets and protecting the reputation of Australian wine.

Wine Australia is funded by grape growers and winemakers through levies and user-pays charges and the Australian Government, which provides matching funding for RD&E investments.

Wine Australia is the trading name of the Australian Grape and Wine Authority, a Commonwealth statutory authority established under the Australian Grape and Wine Authority Act 2013.

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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.