Wine Australia introduces its latest vintage of Future Leaders

May 13, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Fifteen dynamic and skilled members of the Australian wine community have today joined the roll call of the grape and wine sector’s professional and personal development program, Future Leaders.

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,” he 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.”

Placement in the Future Leaders program is highly sought after. It is a program designed for the next crop of those who are ready to step up and take their businesses and the wine sector to the next level. Its breadth goes beyond the individual as it looks to mature and evolve the industry for now and into the future.

Participants in the biennial program learn from speakers on topics such as innovation, leadership and culture and from professionals across the Australian grape and wine community, including our Future Leaders Alumni.

The Future Leaders 2021 are comprised of members from right across the spectrum of the wine industry, including viticulturists, winemakers, consultants, scientists, communicators and executives:

  • Aaron Mercer, Winemaker, Mercer Wines (Hunter Valley, NSW)
  • Amanda Whiteland, Chief Executive, Margaret River Wine Association (Margaret River, WA)
  • Briony Hoare, Winemaker, Beach Road Wines (McLaren Vale, SA)
  • Daniel McDonald, Managing Director, Portfolio Management, Head of Australia & New Zealand, The Cutting & Pernod Ricard Winemakers (Barossa Valley, SA)
  • Emily Hay, Marketing and Communications Manage, Baroosa Grape & Wine Association (Barossa Valley, SA)
  • Ewan Proctor, Wine Consultant, Extended Play Consulting (Yarra Valley, VIC) 
  • Jean Macintyre, Project Manager, Wine Innovation, Pernod Ricard Winemakers (Adelaide, SA)
  • Josh Hixson, Research Scientist, Australian Wine Research Institute (Adelaide, SA)
  • Kate Sturgess, Winemaker, Brokenwood Wines (Hunter Valley, NSW)
  • Katherine Herd, Production Manager, Domaine Chandon (Yarra Valley, VIC) 
  • Lauren Hansen, Winemaker, Penley Estate (Coonawarra, SA)
  • Mavis Zhang, Winemaker, Wine Network Consulting (Melbourne, VIC)
  • Richard Burch, Sales Director, Howard Park Wines (Perth, WA)
  • Steven Faulkner, Senior Viticulturist, Oakridge Wines (Yarra Valley, VIC) 
  • Victoria Soffer, Category Manager Premium & Specialty Wine, Coles Liquor (Melbourne, VIC)

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.

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