By Andy Young

Dianne Laurance, the owner and founder of Laurance Wines has said being named the inaugural Champion of Change at the Australian Women in Wine Awards is about her staff as much as it is about her own passion for the wine industry.

The Australian Women in Wine Awards recognise the successes of women in the male dominated wine industry and rather than attend, Laurance chose to watch the awards via live streaming with her staff at her cellar.

"The joy on their faces (and tears) when I was announced as the winner was worth more to me than the award," Laurance told TheShout. "These loyal people are my extended family."

Laurance added: "The Champion of Change category is about changes you make within the wine industry but also what you implement above and beyond what is required of a business in gender equality and diversity.

"The media coverage these awards have received and in particular for me being the only WA winner can only benefit the wine industry. I do believe it will encourage more young women into this exciting industry. We need them. It is extremely male dominated and women will bring fresh new, innovative ideas that will modernise an otherwise very staid industry."

In terms of change Laurance told TheShout that she first introduced a new bottle shape and then screen printed the design, which was initially canned "by the purists and the stalwarts". Since then the bottle has become a collectable item and has been recognised as an innovative concept.

But it's Laurance's attitude towards her staff that really comes across as a strong belief.

She told TheShout: "My passion in life and from a very early age is about equality and empowerment of young girls and women within Australia. 

"I am extremely flexible with my staff but in particular the women. I want my staff to come to work every day with a smile on their face. To achieve this you must be accepting at times their needs require a change in working hours and conditions.

"I educate and pay for any course a staff member wishes to undertake whether it is within the wine industry or not. I know for a fact a person who is learning and growing is a happy person. I give many scholarships to young and mature age students to help them improve their lives and that of their families.

"I have a very firm philosophy with having and keeping the best staff. You must look after them and they will look after you. It's very simple."

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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