It came like most shocks, unexpectedly! Following the December departure of the former head of Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA), the national growers’ body got busy and in a surprise manoeuvre zeroed in on Riverland Wine champion Andrew Weeks. Andrew was somewhat taken aback but the recruitment panel were very convincing and after several weeks of careful consultation and deliberation with his Riverland colleagues, he accepted the offer. He will start with the WGGA in early February. Andrew has served as the Riverland representative on the federal body since 2012 and has been very prominent in much of the policy work around wine taxes, national biosecurity issues and reshaping the industry’s representative capabilities. He has been a member of the joint Policy Forum of winegrowers and winemakers.
I’m sure all our readers will join with the Riverland Wine Management Committee in wishing Andrew all the best and thanking him for his contribution to industry over many years. He said, “I’ve given the matter lots of thought and I can easily think of a dozen reasons why I’m approaching this turning point with great trepidation. I’ve been reluctant to relinquish my role with Riverland Wine but my experience as the Riverland representative at WGGA has given me real insight into the operation and the demands of the national role and I feel privileged now to have this opportunity to put my stamp on it. I firmly believe we can develop the right strategies to restore balance and profitability to the industry but we will only achieve that if we find ways to work in harmony with the winemakers of Australia. On balance, and after talking with my colleagues and my family, I feel it’s an opportunity I might live to regret unless I embrace it and give it a red-hot go.”
Riverland Wine EO Chris Byrne said, “Weeksy’s knowledge, his experience and his superb contribution to Riverland Wine will be greatly missed. On the other hand, it will be terrific for this region to have such a strong connection with the WGGA and other peak industry bodies. We will support him in every way as he makes the transition and we will continue to provide ongoing input and support as he immerses himself in his new role. We will move quickly to cover this loss.”