The 15 members of the Australian wine community who will make up the 2021 Future Leaders program have been revealed.

Comprising members from across the breadth the sector – including viticulturists, winemakers, consultants, scientists, communicators and executives – the Future Leaders 2021 are:

  • Aaron Mercer, Mercer Wines (Hunter Valley, NSW)
  • Amanda Whiteland, Margaret River Wine Association (Margaret River, WA)
  • Briony Hoare, Beach Road Wines (McLaren Vale, SA)
  • Daniel McDonald, The Cutting & Pernod Ricard Winemakers (Barossa Valley, SA)
  • Emily Hay, Barossa Grape & Wine Association (Barossa Valley, SA)
  • Ewan Proctor, Extended Play Consulting (Yarra Valley, VIC)
  • Jean Macintyre, Pernod Ricard Winemakers (Adelaide, SA)
  • Josh Hixson, Australian Wine Research Institute (Adelaide, SA)
  • Kate Sturgess, Brokenwood Wines (Hunter Valley, NSW)
  • Katherine Herd, Domaine Chandon (Yarra Valley, VIC)
  • Lauren Hansen, Penley Estate (Coonawarra, SA)
  • Mavis Zhang, Wine Network Consulting (Melbourne, VIC)
  • Richard Burch, Howard Park Wines (Perth, WA)
  • Steven Faulkner, Oakridge Wines (Yarra Valley, VIC)
  • Victoria Soffer, Coles Liquor (Melbourne, VIC)

Wine Australia Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Future Leaders 2021 selection panel Andreas Clark said the applications this year were outstanding.

“Almost 100 applications were received for this year’s program and it was a highly competitive field. It was exciting to hear more about the incredible skills and diverse experiences of people within our community – and it was difficult to select just 15 people,” Mr Clark said.

“The 15 Future Leaders selected will experience some changes to the program compared to previous years. Over the past 18 months our sector has experienced significant disruption and we recognise that the skills that we need to develop have evolved.

“I look forward to meeting with the Future Leaders group to discuss how we can work towards making lasting differences and support our grape and wine community through ongoing uncertainty.”

On learning of her selection in this year’s program, Kate Sturgess, winemaker at Brokenwood Wines said: “Gaining a place in the Future Leaders program for me means building a pathway towards being able to enact real change within the Australian wine industry to make sure it is wholly inclusive and sustainable for future generations. It also allows me to build a new network of people within the industry to gain insight across all aspects and to be able to better represent everyone involved.”

Steven Faulkner, Senior Viticulturist at Oakridge Wines said he was humbled to be joining Future Leaders: “Being chosen from amongst my peers, gives me confidence in myself and the direction I have chosen in the wine industry. I look forward to gaining leadership skills that I need to impact the wine industry in a positive professional way. I love my career in the vineyard, and I want to share it with others and encourage other people to enter into viticulture.”

CEO of Margaret River Wine Association Amanda Whiteland said she was honoured to be accepted: “Gaining a place in the Future Leaders program is not only a real honour and privilege for me personally, but I also believe it is great news for the Margaret River community and the Western Australia wine industry. What I most look forward to is sharing the learnings and value that this program provides in our regions.”

Future Leaders 2021 is funded by Wine Australia, supported by Australian Grape & Wine and delivered with Pragmatic Thinking. The program – which is run every two years – has identified and developed leaders of the Australian grape and wine community since 2006, with more than 100 graduates of the respected program.

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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