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New vintage of Future Leaders ready to take charge

Future Leaders 2022
17 Nov 2022

Fifteen grape and wine sector professionals have today graduated from the intensive five-month leadership development program Future Leaders equipped with new skills to enhance their contribution to the community.

The program supports a new generation of grape and wine sector leaders to develop skills, sharpen decision-making abilities, build networks, and form a nucleus of knowledge and enthusiasm to take the sector forward, in good times and bad.

Future Leaders is coordinated and funded by Wine Australia and supported by Australian Grape & Wine. Today’s graduates join more than 100 alumni of the program, which launched in 2006. 

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Dr Martin Cole said effective and well-trained leaders are an invaluable asset across all areas of the Australian grape and wine sector. 

“Both Australian Grape & Wine and Wine Australia continue to value the way in which the Future Leaders program fosters agile and resilient leadership behaviours. It supports and celebrates the diversity of thought from the emerging leaders across our sector,” Dr Cole said.

“One of the strengths of our sector is its people, and I am delighted that Future Leaders has nurtured the enthusiasm of this talented group of people who are willing to contribute solutions to the challenges facing our community and make a difference for everyone.”

Australian Grape & Wine Chief Executive Officer Lee McLean confirmed Australian Grape & Wine’s support of the Future Leaders program, adding “the calibre of graduates from this program is truly impressive and fills me with confidence about the future of our sector.”

The Future Leaders were tasked with formulating visionary and innovative responses to the grape and wine sector’s challenges. These thought leadership pieces have been compiled into a book that was launched at their graduation and incorporates topics for how the sector should respond to climate change, long-term sustainability, marketing, exports, business structures and market diversification as well as ensuring the sector’s greatest asset – its people – are genuinely supported.

Future Leaders 2022 graduates Emily Hay, Steve Faulkner and Katherine Herd reflected on their experiences through the program.  

Emily Hay, marketing and communications professional at Barossa Australia said, “It's hard to adequately describe the transformational power of the Future Leaders program. No 'paint by numbers' here, it's raw and real, taking you beyond the standard rhetoric and tactics to tap into leadership in your own way. With the confidence and strength this has unlocked in us all, we'll successfully navigate the turbulent times our sector continues to face.” 

Steve Faulkner, Senior Viticulturist at Oakridge Wines said, “The learning and real-life application of that learning has been invaluable. I recommend applying for Future Leaders, just do it. Personal development and leadership skills for life lie ahead if you are successful.”

Katherine Herd, Production Manager with Domaine Chandon said, “This program is like no other, an experience that has been truly transformative, with an exceptional curated line-up of sessions, speakers and experiences. One specific phrase, attributed to Shar Henderson, continues to resonate with me – ‘to be twice the person you can be, you need to leave half of yourself behind’.”

The graduates of Future Leaders 2022 come from all parts of the grape and wine value chain – from viticulture and winemaking to marketing, sales and export, ecommerce and market development, managers, regional associations, research, and production. The Future Leaders 2022 are:

  • Aaron Mercer, Mercer Wines (Hunter Valley)
  •  Amanda Whiteland, Margaret River Wine Association (Margaret River)
  • Briony Hoare, Beach Road Wines (McLaren Vale)
  • Daniel McDonald, The Cutting & Pernod Ricard Winemakers (Barossa Valley)
  • Emily Hay, Barossa Australia (Barossa)
  • Ewan Proctor, Vivino (Yarra Valley) 
  • Jean Macintyre, Pernod Ricard Winemakers (Adelaide)
  • Josh Hixson, Australian Wine Research Institute (Adelaide)
  • Kate Sturgess, Brokenwood Wines (Hunter Valley)
  • Katherine Herd, Domaine Chandon (Yarra Valley) 
  • Lauren Hansen, Penley Estate (Coonawarra)
  • Mavis Zhang, Wine Network Consulting (Melbourne)
  • Richard Burch, Howard Park Wines (Perth)
  • Steven Faulkner, Oakridge Wines (Yarra Valley), and
  • Zoe Downer, Counter Space (Adelaide). 

Applications to join the next Future Leaders program opens at the end of January 2023.

For media enquiries please contact or phone 08 8228 2000

About Wine Australia

Wine Australia supports a competitive wine sector by investing in research, development and adoption (RD&A), 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 RD&A 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.