Vincent O’Brien brings a customer focus to the board of Australian Vignerons. Throughout his career he has focused on increasing the demand and premiums paid for agricultural products through a customer centred approach.
We spoke to Vincent to find out how his ideas and role on the board of Australian Vignerons can help grape growers obtain a larger proportion of profit shares at the point of sale.
What is your past experience in the wine grape industry?
VO: I started working in the wine sector 14 years ago as the Technical and Engineering Manager of a consulting firm before moving onto the role of Commercial Services Group Manager. I then became the General Manager of Business Development at the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) before recently moving on to establish Ancoeur Global, a company that develops high-end food and beverage offerings.
Why is it so important for wine grape growers to have representation at a national level?
VO: A prosperous wine grape growing community underpins the whole wine sector. Policy, regulation and research priorities generally established at a national level, directly impact the viability of the wine grape grower community. It is important to have representation from the grower’s perspective to ensure effective outcomes.
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?
VO: I have an expertise on how to improve profitability through effective innovation in business, products and service offerings. I also have expertise in establishing and delivering R&D outcomes that support business needs and, most importantly, translating R&D outcomes to generate commercial benefits.
What challenges do you see on the horizon for Australian wine grape growers? How will Australian Vignerons help?
VO: The biggest challenge I see is growing business profitability in a global economy with Australia’s high labor costs and regulatory heavy production environment.
Australian Vignerons is working hard to help growers capitalise on the increased wine consumption in emerging markets. AV is also aware of the trend towards reduced alcohol consumption per capita and premiumisation of consumption by consumers in existing markets. I believe there are opportunities to help all producers shift away from price based sales criterion and vertically integrate to obtain a larger proportion of profit shares generated at the point of sale.
What’s the most rewarding part of being involved in Australian Vignerons?
VO: Doing what I can to support the business interests of our stakeholders and participating in the industry’s fantastic collegiate spirit.
What variety of wine are you enjoying at the moment?
VO: I like sparkling wines when the weather warms up.