Colin Bell brings decades of experience in the vineyard to the Australian Vignerons Board. He has extensive experience in modern agriculture and viticulture which he has gained working in vineyards across Australia and New Zealand.
Colin gave us an insight into why he believes national representation is important for grape growers and the skills he brings to the board of AV.
What is your experience in the wine grape industry?
CB: I began working in the Margaret River wine industry in the late nineties. While most of my time in the wine industry has been in the vineyard, I have also worked two vintages in wineries. To broaden my understanding, I have also worked in New Zealand, Victoria and Tasmania.
Why is it so important for wine grape growers to have representation at a national level?
CB: It is critical that the industry works collectively to utilise our voice. Strong relationships with stakeholders and government can only be built when industry bodies have clear roles and understand their purpose. National bodies offer the best platform to represent our industry on matters that are common to all producers. We can articulate our position to national organisations and the Federal Government in a clear and coherent voice.
The Australian Vignerons board is a skill based board of independent directors. What specific skills do you have that you think will help Australian wine grape growers?
CB: The skills I bring to the Australian Vignerons board are from the vineyard perspective. I have extensive experience in modern agriculture and viticulture. I also can also help with the financial side of a vineyard with applied wine industry financial modelling and benchmarking understanding and experience.
What challenges do you see on the horizon for Australian wine grape growers? How will Australian Vignerons help?
CB: Over the last 25 years, the wine industry has had two macro phases; the boom, followed by a protracted period of low profitability. The next phase is going to offer the industry new opportunities; the challenge will be how we optimise opportunities while managing our ageing assets and demographics.
The role of Australian Vignerons will be to ensure biosecurity measures and clear industry intelligence guide investment and shape policy. Good leadership will allow our members to sustain their operations and prosper.
What’s the most rewarding part of being involved in Australian Vignerons?
CB: Gaining experience and perspective from being part of Australian Vignerons’ independent board. It is a privilege to have a Chair that offers strategic leadership, and a CEO whose focus is industry betterment.
What variety of wine are you enjoying at the moment?
CB: Cabernet Sauvignon; understanding this variety in the vineyard is a life journey.