Australia kicks off industry overhaul

Leading figures from Australia’s wine industry have been appointed to the board of the new Australian Grape & Wine Authority, which comes into operation today.

australian-wines-1Acting directors including consultant Brian Croser, Wine Australia’s Brian Walsh and Yellowtail founder John Casella will oversee the AGWA’s AUD$34.7 million budget for this year, which will be used to provide centralised support for the industry’s marketing, export regulation and research & development.

The Adelaide-based AGWA replaces the country’s Wine Australia Corporation and the Grape & Wine Research & Development Corporation, bringing their various functions under a single authority.

A total of eight industry representatives will hold the post of acting directors for an initial three month period before the final board is confirmed.

Alongside Walsh, who will chair the board, Casella and Croser, the other members are Eliza Brown, the first female director of Brown Brothers Wines; John Forrest, a viticultural consultant; Ian Henderson, CEO of Australian Vinegar; Janice McDonald, chief winemaker at Burch Family Wines in Western Australia; and Kim Williams, former CEO of News Corp Australia.

Announcing this interim team, Australian minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce said: “I’m confident that this board of directors are the right people for the job, representing a blend of experience necessary to lead the new organisation through its infant stage.”

Highlighting the AGWA’s “important role in enhancing the profitability and sustainability of the wine sector to create real returns at the farmgate and cellar door”, Joyce said: “I expect they will work closely with wine grape growers, wine producers and exporters to identify and maximise areas where the financial investment can leverage best returns.”

He concluded: “Forming a new single authority demonstrates the government’s commitment to delivering real reforms to agricultural industries without adding further costs.”

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