Mentee applications for the 2020 Wine Industry Mentor Program are closing soon, and all interested persons are urged to take this final opportunity to apply. 

The program from Wine Communicators of Australia (WCA), in conjunction with the Adelaide Business School at The University of Adelaide, is designed to foster growth in the Australian wine sector. It aims to boost the career trajectory of the next generation of wine communicators, with mentors who: “facilitate the learning and development of the mentee, to advise and provide knowledge and an experienced perspective on their chosen career paths.”

A 2019 mentee said: “This program has really changed the way I think about my future. It’s allowed me to ask myself some hard questions and find out exactly what it is I want in my career.”

WCA extended the deadline for mentees to apply for the program until this Friday, 27 March, due to high demand around the current unprecedented pandemic situation. They have also assured that the pandemic will have no impact on the program itself, as it is already “perfectly placed” to be done online. 

In a recently released statement, WCA said: “Building strong communities such as the Wine Industry Mentor Program will help to break down the toll that social distancing may impact on individuals. The Wine Industry Mentor Program is a perfect opportunity to ensure you have someone and something to look forward to over the next 6 months.”

Further, WCA said they are aware the current environment has many people focused on the short term as it’s near impossible to predict what will happen next. The program is a chance to secure something for the longer-term for their career, as they can self-improve while maintaining social distancing. 

This second year of the program will see mentors and mentees paired up to promote Australia’s wine industry in careers surrounding public relations, marketing and communication. 

Eligibility criteria and information about how to apply as a mentee is available on the WCA website here.

Applications for mentors have closed, however you can register your interest for the 2021 program by emailing 

See a list of this year’s mentors so far below. 

  • Max Allen, Independent Wine Writer
  • Gary Baldwin, Principal Consultant & Director, Wine Network Consulting Pty Ltd
  • Jing Cao, Managing Director, CLCA
  • Marni Cook, WCA Interim Chair of Board, McLaren Vale Grape and Wine Association Chair of Board
  • Armando Maria Corsi, Associate Professor, University of South Australia – Business School
  • Shirley Fraser, Independent Consultant, Wine Collaborators
  • Alex Gibbs, CEO, Smile Marketing and WCA Board Member
  • Gill Gordon-Smith, Co-ordinator Wine & Spirit School TAFE SA, Winemaker/Owner Fall from Grace
  • Rob Hirst, Chairman, House of Fine Wines, Tucker Seabrook and WCA Board Member
  • Geoff Krieger, General Manager, Brokenwood Wines
  • Ali Lockwood, Manager Stakeholder Engagement, Wine Australia and WCA Board Member
  • Tony Love, Freelance wine writer, presenter, consultant
  • David Lowe, Managing Director, Lowe Family Wine Co
  • Annabel Mugford, Food & Beverage Export Hub Manager – Food South Australia and Strategic Projects Adviser – Barossa Grape & Wine Association
  • Nick Ryan, Wine Writer, Speaker, Wine Judge, Nick Ryan Wines
  • Judy Sarris, Editor, Gourmet Traveller WINE
  • Robin Shaw, Founder and Lead Consultant, Wine Tourism Australia
  • Katie Spain, Journalist, Wine Writer and Author
  • Michael van Der Sommen, Direct Sales and Brand Manager, Torbreck
  • Richard van Ruth, Business Development Manager, Wine Direct
  • Catherine Wansink, Commercial Business Advisor, NZ Trade & Enterprise
  • Milton Wordley, Photographer

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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