Opinions wanted now

The Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) has commenced extensive consultations prior to developing the new strategic plan for our Australian Wine Industry. In a recent press release, AGWA Chair, Brian Walsh said, “we are really encouraged by the level of interest from our levy payers the broader wine community and the support we’ve received for our two strategic priorities thus far. Readers of this column may recall a reference to the Discussion Paper published in December to encourage wine-growers, makers and marketers to get involved.

In the introduction Brian said “the Authority will endeavour to create a more prosperous Australian grape and wine community”.

We ARE that community. It can be tempting to think that someone else will take responsibility. Strategic plans can be difficult to construct. Certainly, the management team at AGWA will prepare the document, but they are not wine- growers, makers and marketers. Unless we, the community, inform them of how we think we can achieve that prosperity they will likely get it wrong.

Now is the time to think about what you would do if you were the Captain of the Wine Industry. What would you do to restore confidence in our industry? What would you do to increase the demand for our wine in Australia and overseas? What policies would you alter or what new policies would you set? What would you do first? And a very important question… How would you spend the Research and Development dollars?

Don’t be an armchair expert, after the event. Have you say now. This is our plan. If we get it right, we will lay the foundations for recovery and long term prosperity.

All Riverland Wine members are invited to read the document and think about the questions above. If enough members respond, the Association will arrange a meeting (or two) to capture your thoughts and ensure the AGWA management team is informed.

Feedback is invited on the priorities outlined in the discussion paper. Members can email Riverland Wine or make their own submission to AGWA by February 20, 2015. Alternatively you may contact the office by phone (8584 5816) or email.

The Riverland Wine management committee is meeting with AGWA Board members and management on March 10 to provide feedback on the discussion paper and to offer input to the plan. The plan itself will be finalised and presented to Minister Joyce on April 30.

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