Australia’s largest winegrower co-operative – CCW has notified the industry this week that after 14 years in the chair, one of the region’s best known identities Jim Caddy has stepped down from the top job and been replaced by fellow board member Peter Hill of Loxton North.
Jim has led CCW through a decade of great challenge. The company’s annual turnover, even in these lean times, has been more than $60M. In 2002, around the time the industry peaked, CCW farmgate payments to its Riverland members was more than $130M. During his time as chair, Jim has managed the grower’s co-op relationship with Hardy’s Wines, the world’s largest wine producer Constellation and, for the past four vintages, Accolade Wines. During that time the Australian industry has been impacted by the global oversupply of grapes, high exchange rates and Australia’s worst drought on record. Throughout that time CCW has returned to members, higher than average, Riverland prices, developed a highly respected viticultural advice service and retained the advantage of a 15 year contract, renewed annually.
The organisation has also had to grapple with the reality of global markets where the supply/demand balance in countries like Italy, France, Spain, the USA, Chile, Argentina and South Africa has impacted prices for all Australian winegrowers. In addition to his role at CCW Jim has also served two terms as a board member of the Grape and Wine Research Development Corporation (GWRDC) and two terms as a board member of the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia (PGIBSA).
Most recently, under his guidance, CCW established its own wine brand, Growers’ Gate securing a gold medal last year for its Shiraz and achieving an operating return for the members. Ever the straight talker, Jim said he has no regrets and is confident that with the staff in place the good service to growers will continue. He also commented “I’m looking forward to spending a lot less time sitting behind the steering wheel travelling to and from meetings around the country and a lot more time in the boat with a fishing rod!”
In bound chair, Peter Hill said he is pleased to have the confidence of his fellow board members as he steps into the top job having served as deputy for the past eight years. Peter added “the board is confident that CCW is poised to grow the business on behalf of all our members as the Riverland wine industry enters a new era of grape and wine production. There is no reason we cannot build on these solid foundations and together with the rest of the region’s winegrowers, make our region the preferred supplier of wine for the new emerging world markets.”