Mardi Longbottom brings an academic perspective to the board of Australian Vignerons. She has studied Viticulture up to PhD level and combines her extensive knowledge with practical experience in the vineyard. Read on to discover how her role at the AWRI helps the board make decisions based on the latest information.
What is your past experience in the wine grape industry?
I began my career in viticulture in the early 1990s when I helped establish my family’s vineyards in the Limestone Coast. This led me to study viticulture at the University of Adelaide at undergraduate, Masters and PhD level. I have also gained extensive technical and vineyard management experience in Australia and the USA.
My current role is Senior Viticulturist at the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) where I am responsible for managing Australia's sustainability program, Entwine Australia, biosecurity and providing extension and technical support through the AWRI Helpdesk.
Why is it so important for wine grape growers to have representation at a national level?
Many of the issues we face are a national issue. It is important that we have one clear voice advocating for grape growers across Australia. In the case of biosecurity, it is important that we have a swift response to any concerns. Australian Vignerons, as the national body, plays an integral role in disseminating biosecurity information and working with growers and government to ensure minimal impact.
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?
As a Senior Viticulturist at AWRI I am exposed to the latest research and information for grape growers. My role with Australian Vignerons means I can make sure the board makes decisions based on the most up-to-date and relevant information.
I also bring extensive knowledge to the table. Best practice for viticulture is an ever-evolving field of knowledge. I hope to help grape growers by relaying the latest information to apply to their vineyards in a practical manner. If I can provide one tip or suggestion to a grower that saves them time, money or effort, that is a win.
What challenges do you see on the horizon for Australian wine grape growers? How will Australian Vignerons help?
Our changing climate and weather conditions is an ongoing challenge for grape growers. I have led a number of climate change projects related to the Australian wine industry and we are working hard to minimise the impact of our changing climate.
Australian Vignerons will play a key role in helping manage the impact of climate change on grape growers. Climate change is a global issue that is constantly in the spotlight in Canberra. Our presence at the table ensures that grape growers are acknowledged and included in the debate.
What’s the most rewarding part of being involved in Australian Vignerons?
I love being part of an organisation driven by one goal which is to help grape growers be the best that they can be. There are many facets to the wine industry and it’s hard to keep across all of them. Being a part of an organisation that aims to be the unifying voice for grape growers is exciting.
What variety of wine are you enjoying at the moment?
I am a sucker for Australian sparkling wines, Arras, Josef Chromy, Croser