This report presents findings from a qualitative study of the Australian Grape and Wine Authority’s “mentoring circles” in Barossa and McLaren Vale. Focus group interviews were conducted with members of both groups in June 2015 to explore participants’ experiences with group-based mentoring during the circles’ first year of activities.
The study results demonstrate the benefits of diverse group membership (i.e., a range of ages, backgrounds, and organisational contexts) and a strong mentor to guide participants’ thinking about a range of business decisions. The benefits to participants’ personal and career development, including the extension of personal industry networks, are key outcomes of the group-based mentoring activities.
In July 2014 the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) launched pilot projects in Barossa and McLaren Vale to provide unique mentoring opportunities for winemakers and growers in each region.
The application form described the mentoring circle as “a knowledge-sharing platform that encourages critical thinking and promotes innovative business practices.” This report outlines key findings related to the activities of the first year of mentoring circle activities, including the value of:
Discussing issues in a mutually-respectful, diverse group of colleagues, to enhance personal career development;
Informal sharing and group problem-solving, rather than a highly structured or project-based set of activities;
Strong and supportive mentors, who create a positive and supportive atmosphere that fostersgroup learning in a safe environment; and,
Having a strong, collective voice that can influence industry decision-making, while developing individual leadership skills.