Jonathan Lord is a proud member of our board of volunteer independent directors. He brings a wealth of knowledge about the wine industry to the board and has worked in roles right across the wine industry. Read on and discover why Jonathan believes it is so important for growers to have representation at a national level.
What is your past experience in the wine grape industry?
My first job during university was at a Vintage Cellars. When I started I only knew the difference between red and white wine and not much else. My favourite wine was a Padthaway Cabernet Merlot...it’s safe to say that most customers walked out with a bottle of that, even if they were looking for a sparkling wine!
Once I started to learn about wine, something inside of me clicked and a passion for the industry was ignited. I was fortunate enough to join Rosemount Estate as one of my first ever jobs outside of university and from there it has grown.
I have worked in various roles across the industry, from finance to strategy, planning and product development. I’ve also worked vintages in Marlborough and Sonoma to gain hands on experience.
I am currently the CEO for Winemaking Tasmania. I lead a great team of people who craft 250 different wine and ciders on behalf of clients. Our goal is to be Tasmania’s best producer of premium alcoholic beverages with a specific focus on wine and cider. I’m very fortunate that what I do for a living is what I would do for free everyday!
Why is it so important for wine grape growers to have representation at a national level?
Grape growers are the largest part of the wine industry. By circumstance, wine grape growers are the start of the supply chain and as a result there is a tendency from large corporations to take advantage of this position. It is important for growers to have their voice heard and ensure that their livelihood is not taken advantage of.
Australian Vignerons is there for growers to seek advice, gain support and amplify the voice of many growers into one clear message.
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?
I am a generalist. Over the past 20 years I have seen all aspects of the wine industry and I bring a well-rounded set of skills. As CEO of a wine making business I understand both sides of the equation. I know how much effort it takes for growers to get their grapes to the winery, the costs involved and the importance of a good year. I also understand the perspective of a winery and the logistics involved. I believe this holistic view gives me a great perspective to help Australian wine grape growers.
What challenges do you see on the horizon for Australian wine grape growers? How will Australian Vignerons help?
I see the challenges for wine grape growers to be consistent across all regions. While there might be different values and demand for grapes in every region, there’s always large players exercising onerous conditions or not operating on a fair playing field.
Mutually beneficial relationships are vital to sustaining the Australian wine industry. Australian Vignerons helps level the playing field. Growers can lean on us for advice or engage us to lobby on their behalf. Advocacy on behalf of growers is a positive aspect of a healthy wine industry.
What’s the most rewarding part of being involved in Australian Vignerons?
Everyone on the board of Australian Vignerons is a volunteer and we all devote significant time and energy to the role. For me, just being involved is a rewarding experience. The board is a passionate group of people who care about wine grape growers and the wider wine industry. I enjoy being a part of that and working together to achieve better outcomes for growers.
What variety of wine are you enjoying at the moment?
Tasmanian chardonnay is my choice at the moment. We have some fantastic growers down here that are producing amazing grapes. I enjoy the variety and diversity of the wines from the different regions of Tassie.