The latest intake of 15 innovators and trailblazers from across Australia’s grape and wine sector have graduated from their five-month Future Leaders program today.

Future Leaders, which is coordinated and funded by Wine Australia and supported by Australian Grape & Wine, aims foster the individual talents of each of the participants and enhance their leadership skills for the benefit of the greater Australian grape and wine community.

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer Dr Martin Cole said bold ideas and brave minds would pave a path forward for a sector facing major challenges.

“The standard of applicants this year was exceptional; the diverse range of people and expertise clearly demonstrates the wide range of talent that our sector needs,” Dr Cole said.

“It’s times where our community is facing major hurdles that we need to attract and retain the future leaders of our sector. This group is well-positioned to embrace change and bring new ideas in what’s been an incredibly changing operating environment.”

Australian Grape & Wine Chief Executive Officer Lee McLean added: “It’s exciting to see the diverse array of talented people in the Future Leaders cohort this year. With leaders like this stepping up in their businesses, regions and associations, we are well placed to drive progress and success in our sector in the years ahead.”

The Future Leaders for 2023 are:

  • Amy Blackburn, AVL Wines (Sunraysia)
  • Andrew Duff, Briar Ridge Vineyard (Hunter Valley)
  • Andrew Shedden, Endeavour Drinks Group (Melbourne)
  • Belinda van Eyssen, The Cutting (Barossa)
  • Bodhi Edwards, Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA (Adelaide)
  • Caitlin Davies, Jericho Wines (Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale)
  • Eloise Jarvis, Cape Mentelle Vineyards (Margaret River)
  • George Taylor, Treasury Wine Estates (Barossa)
  • Jamie Pike, Pikes Wines (Clare)
  • Katie Spain, Wine journalist and feature writer for Good Food, WBM, and Gourmet Traveller (Adelaide)
  • Kendall Clements-Virag, Pernod Ricard Winemakers (Adelaide and Barossa)
  • Lucy Etheridge, Yarrawalla Vineyards (Yarra Valley)
  • Monica Gray, See Saw Wines (Orange)
  • Ray Ruiming Chen, Endeavour Drinks Group and Rongo Wines (Melbourne and Yarra Valley), and
  • Steven Paul, Oakdene Wines (Geelong).

Speaking about her experience in the program, Yarrawalla Vineyards General Manager Etheridge said: “Having the opportunity to be among such an inspired group of people, who I wholeheartedly now consider friends, has been a privilege.

“The program has helped me realise, and be comfortable with, my value as a leader within the Australian wine sector and beyond.”

Fellow graduate Davies added: “I am grateful to the wine industry for supporting the delivery of the Future Leaders program through Wine Australia. Future Leaders has skyrocketed my professional development through engaging modules delivered thoughtfully through Pragmatic Thinking.”

These thought leadership pieces have been compiled into the book Thought Leadership volume 4, which will be launched at today’s graduation. Topics include how the sector should respond to climate change; long-term sustainability; marketing; exports, business structures, and market diversification.

Applications to join the next Future Leaders program open in late January 2025.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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