As Australian Vignerons’ board of directors find their feet in an invigorated organisation, we spoke to Joanna Andrew, Independent Chair for her thoughts on how a board chosen for their skills will benefit Australian wine grape growers.
Why is it so important for wine grape growers to have representation at a national level?
JA: A lot of the issues that directly impact wine grape growers are national issues. For example the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET), Water, Biosecurity...these are all national issues so it is important to have a national body to represent grower interests.
To achieve results we need to create a path of least resistance. The best way to work with the Federal Government is to work together through one national representative body rather than every state and territory separately adding to the narrative. Assistant Minister Ruston has repeatedly said that a united voice is key to progress.
Why has Australian Vignerons chosen to develop a skills based board of independent directors?
JA: Holding a position on board of Australian Vignerons is an important role. By developing an independent, skills based board we are ensuring that the people in that role have the appropriate skills to represent growers.
Having an independent board also ensures that we avoid unconscious bias in decision making.
What challenges do you see on the horizon for Australian wine grape growers? How will Australian Vignerons help?
JA: 1. The first challenge I see for growers is business viability. Australian Vignerons has a strong voice in advocating at a national level for better commercial practices, and working towards greater profitability across the entire wine sector. In recent times AV has been meeting with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to protect growers in this area.
2. Biosecurity will always be a challenge for growers. Australian Vignerons is signatory to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD) and we take our obligations seriously. We’re also at the forefront of collaborating with other industry bodies to share knowledge and manage biosecurity risks.
3. The third challenge I see for grape growers is access to market. As the peak body for grape growers it’s important for us to provide the best avenues to market for our members’ grapes. Australian Vignerons has played a key role in securing the recent $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package and this is just one way to improve market access. I’m looking forward to seeing the benefits this package will provide to grape growers.
What’s the most rewarding part of being involved in Australian Vignerons?
JA: Definitely the people. The wine and grape industry is without doubt the most welcoming, down to earth people I have been involved with. It’s such a warm collegiate of people and very rewarding to work for.
What variety of wine are you enjoying at the moment?
JA: Depends on the season! This winter I have been enjoying a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Coonawarra or Margaret River. As the weather warms up I’m looking forward to enjoying a Clare Valley Riesling or a sparkling from the Yarra Valley.
Much like a vineyard, the past 12 months at Australian Vignerons has been a case of nurturing, guiding and watching hard work come to fruition.
In late 2016 the future of Australian Vignerons was in doubt. A combination of financial restraint and continued support from you, our members, has led us to become financially secure for the future.
So what does the future of Australian Vignerons look like? Very positive. We have welcomed a new independent board. Each member of the board has been chosen for their specific skills which will be put to work representing our members in their core areas of concern. Be sure to keep an eye on our social media pages as we profile the board members over the coming months.
The small team at Australian Vignerons is hard at work amplifying the voice of Australian wine grape growers. We have been a key part of the Export and Regional Wine Support Package (read more about this below) and the recent biosecurity concerns surrounding Grapevine Pinot Gris Virus (GPGV). We are also increasing awareness of what we do and are committed to working for the benefit of our members and the wine sector as a whole.
We are here to represent and work for the benefit of all who grow and make wine in Australia. I encourage members to get in touch if you have an idea, issue or concern. Let's work together to enhance the Australian wine industry.
Chief Executive Officer
0403 520 242
A new generation of leaders will be launched into the wine sector today. Sixteen young members of the Australian wine sector’s Future Leaders program have graduated after an intensive schedule that will prepare them to be the next generation of leaders in Australian wine.
The program is a joint initiative of Wine Australia, Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) and Australian Vignerons (AV) that gives emerging leaders, from early to mid-career, an opportunity to develop their leadership, business and marketing skills.
Over a six-month period, the graduates heard from thought leaders both within and beyond the wine sector, including some of Australia’s best speakers on the topics of innovation, leadership and culture, and connected with people from across the grape and wine community, including Future Leaders alumni.
Wine Australia Chair Brian Walsh said, ‘Since the first program in 2006, there had been seven intakes, including the latest vintage. Now there are over 100 alumni, many already making significant contributions to the sector, through their own companies, sector committees, company boards and in research’.
‘I have every confidence that this group has the nous to embrace all it has learned and implement this knowledge in rewarding and positive ways’, Mr Walsh said.
WFA President Sandy Clark said, ‘I am delighted that we have this extraordinarily talented group of young women and men who are prepared to take the industry challenges head on and make a positive difference for the whole sector.’
AV Independent Chair Jo Andrew said the experiences over the past months would ‘contribute to a graduation group who had the skills to influence businesses, regions and the greater sector, and the confidence and contacts to do so’.
The 2017 Future Leaders program, conducted by Pragmatic Thinking, explored new avenues in business, innovation, culture, marketing and governance, and how global economics was shaping the future. Participants looked at new technologies and contemporary approaches to people leadership and business success. They were exposed to the latest thinking in behavioural science, neuro science, and cutting-edge leadership thinking.
The program offered opportunities to develop connections between participants and with WFA, AV, and Future Leaders’ Alumni, in addition to Wine Australia.
The 16 graduates are:
As part of their leadership challenge, the graduands were asked to put together some of their thoughts on leadership, which have been compiled into a book.
Each selected their own topic – based on what they saw as pressing issues for them, their organisation or the sector – sometimes spanning all three of those areas. There are thoughts around management and leadership, innovation, growing and making as well as marketing and brand awareness. From crowd funding to penetrating the US market, to family succession planning and challenging the norm.
Wine Australia invests in the Future Leaders program as part of its policy of investing in sector leadership. In the same vein, it supports the Nuffield Australia scholarship program, travel bursaries and post-graduate scholarships.
In recent weeks, symptoms similar to those of Grapevine Pinot Gris Virus (GPGV) have been reported in Tempranillo, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Viognier and Cabernet Sauvignon vines.
These cases have been reported to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline, on
1800 084 881.
Note that test results are pending and presence of GPGV has not yet been confirmed.
Grapevine Pinot Gris Virus symptom: stunted shoots.
Source: Dr. Pasquale Saldarelli, Senior Scientist/Virologist, Istituto per la Protezione Sostenibile delle Piante, Bari, Italy.
Growers are strongly encouraged to check vines for symptoms of possible GPGV as soon as possible. New information suggests that the best time to observe symptoms of GPGV is when shoots are between 5 and 18 cm long. After this time it may be more difficult to detect.
Growers are strongly urged to take the following action:
Grapevine Pinot Gris Virus symptoms: leaf mottling and deformation.
Source: Dr. Pasquale Saldarelli, Senior Scientist/Virologist, Istituto per la Protezione Sostenibile delle Piante, Bari, Italy
More information is available from the AWRI’s fact sheet on GPGV.
For any questions, contact Andrew Weeks, CEO of Australian Vignerons on 0403 520 242.
Australian Vignerons has recently completed work on forming the framework for a national phylloxera management plan, carried out by Retallack Viticulture, and with the assistance of Vinehealth Australia. This work was made possible with a federal government grant from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR).
At the time of this update, this project has reached the stage of completing the initial written work, and the next stage of regional consultation is set to begin. The final result will be a 'living document' located on the Australian Vignerons website, and will be accessible to all, and will be updated as required. This will ensure that the latest, most relevant information is available to all grape growers.
The grape and wine sector has welcomed today’s launch of the Australian Government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon Barnaby Joyce, and Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston.
Australian Vignerons, the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia and Wine Australia have worked in close consultation with the Australian grape and wine sector to develop the business plan for the Package, which will be delivered over three years.
The Package comprises four distinct programs that aim to transform the sector by enhancing and showcasing the nation’s wine tourism offering while driving further demand for Australia’s growing wine exports.
Australian Vignerons Independent Chair Jo Andrew praised the manner in which all parties had supported the opportunity provided by the Package. ‘This funding allows Australian growers and makers of wine to build on the excellent recent results in both domestic and international markets. This is a great outcome from the collaboration between the wine sector, Wine Australia and the Federal Government.’
Winemakers’ Federation of Australia President Sandy Clark said, ‘The $50 million Package provides a once in a generational opportunity to grow demand for Australian wine. It will benefit all winemakers and provide a lasting platform for profitability throughout the supply chain, and I would like to thank all those who have got behind this initiative. It is now up to us to maximise the opportunity’.
Wine Australia Chair Brian Walsh said, ‘Our thanks to Deputy Prime Minister Joyce and Minister Ruston for their enduring commitment to supporting the growth of the Australian grape and wine sector and their ongoing engagement with our regional communities throughout the development of this Package.
‘We have convened a 9-person expert Marketing Advisory Group drawn from different parts of the sector to provide advice on the strategy and activities to be considered for Program 1 - accelerating growth in international demand. This program, which focuses on the United States and China markets, aims to grow both demand for our wine exports and showcase Australia’s wine tourism offering and we will continue to work with Tourism Australia to leverage opportunities.
‘Program 1 is in addition to Wine Australia’s existing activities, through which there is unwavering commitment to continued investment into the full breadth of Australia’s export markets. We have already received sector approval to commence some early activities this year including Australian Wine Week in San Francisco and New York and involvement in the Hong Kong Wine and Dine Week in October.
‘Wine Australia will be spending the next few months developing materials for the capability and capacity building portions of Program 2, with a view to delivering the first workshops, forums and online tools early next year.
‘Consultation with the sector on the draft guidelines for the grants schemes under Programs 2 and 3 is expected to start soon. We are committed to keeping our grape and wine community actively involved throughout this initiative and I encourage all to visit the Wine Australia website where we will have further information, including grants guidelines and how to get involved, as it becomes available.’
To read the full media release click here.
Thank you to all of you who have contacted Australian Vignerons in response to the GPGV statement issued on 8th August.
What is being done to address this problem?
AV is satisfied that the risk of spread is contained. State and commonwealth jurisdictions are working on a surveillance plan to gather more information.
Does GPGV only affect Pinot Gris?
No, GPGV affects many other grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot.
What should I do if I’ve seen these symptoms before?
Monitor the vines closely at budburst. If you see symptoms that could be GPGV, call 1800 084 881. A biosecurity expert will discuss the options with you.
I am about to start planting / grafting, how does GPGV affect me?
GPGV is transmitted in grapevine propagation material (e.g. potted vines, cuttings, rootlings, bud wood etc.). Ensure all planting/grafting materials have been virus-tested, preferably prior to receipt. Details of testing facilities are available in a fact sheet here.
How do I know if I am in a region that has GPGV?
This information is confidential at this stage. Growers in all regions are encouraged to monitor vines for symptoms at budburst.
Why is some information about the GPGV detection confidential?
The details of exotic pest incursions are managed under strict codes of conduct and are not released until the extent of the issue is well understood.
If this information was released before the full extent of GPG was understood, property owners may be unwilling to report serious incursions in future. This would compromise containment and eradications strategies, and the potential risk of economic damage including unjustified trade barriers and dissuasion of future reporting of biosecurity risks could be higher.
Wouldn’t information about the affected locations and varieties help us to manage the risk of GPGV? The critical issue is that further spread of GPGV is avoided. Australian Vignerons is satisfied that the risk of spread from the small number of known infected vines is being well managed.
What is the role of Australian Vignerons in managing GPGV?
Australian Vignerons is representing the wine industry and working with state and federal governments and their agencies, including Vinehealth Australia, to guide further action.
What surveillance is being done?
State government biosecurity agencies are developing surveillance plans in their respective affected states and will communicate these activities.
Where do I get more technical information about GPGV?
AV is working closely with the AWRI who are in communication with international virus experts. The AWRI fact sheet has been updated and will continue to be updated as new information is received.
Want to know more?
Contact Australian Vignerons CEO, Andrew Weeks on 0403 520 242.
Australian Vignerons is delighted to announce that a combination of financial restraint and continued support from its member base has led it to become financially secure for the future…….
Click here to read the full media release.
Grapevine Pinot Gris Virus (GPGV) has been detected for the first time in Australia.
Measures have been taken to ensure that no spread will occur from the vines in which the virus has been detected.
To read full article please click here.
More information about GPGV symptoms, sampling, diagnostics and actions following a positive test can be found in the GPGV fact sheet, accessible here.