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Saturday 19 November 2022

Meet the Australian wine industry's faces of the future

Fifteen Australian grape and wine sector professionals this week graduated from intensive five-month leadership development program Future Leaders. 

The program was aimed to equip the students with new skills to enhance their contribution to the wine community. 

Future Leaders is co-ordinated and funded by Wine Australia and supported by Australian Grape & Wine. The new 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,” he 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 underlined Australian Grape & Wine’s support of the Future Leaders program, saying “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 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 supported.

Emily Hay, a 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.”

The Future Leaders 2022 are: Aaron Mercer, Mercer Wines; Amanda Whiteland, Margaret River Wine Association; Briony Hoare, Beach Road Wines; Daniel McDonald, The Cutting & Pernod Ricard Winemakers; Emily Hay, Barossa Australia; Ewan Proctor, Vivino; Jean Macintyre, Pernod Ricard Winemakers; Josh Hixson, Australian Wine Research Institute; Kate Sturgess, Brokenwood Wines; Katherine Herd, Domaine Chandon; Lauren Hansen, Penley Estate; Mavis Zhang, Wine Network Consulting; Richard Burch, Howard Park Wines; Steven Faulkner, Oakridge Wines and Zoe Downer, Counter Space. 

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

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