Brian Walsh, in his capacity as chair of the Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) together with CEO Andreas Clark, general manager Kate Harvey and program manager Elise Heyes met with the management committees of Riverland Wine (RW) at Banrock Station on Tuesday this week to further develop the five year strategic plan due for submission to Minister Barnaby Joyce by April 30. Marc Soccio, senior analyst for Rabobank attended as a special Riverland Wine invitee as did former Riverlander Chris Proud.
Brian set the scene for the discussion with a clear statement about the role of the statutory authority as defined In the AGWA Act (2013). He also suggested that we use the more familiar name, Wine Australia, when referring to the authority rather than the acronym AGWA, that doesn’t mean much to most members of industry and is a little awkward to pronounce. No problems there.
In a nutshell, its role is:
- to coordinate or fund grape and wine research and development and facilitate extension and commercialisation of R&D outcomes
- control the export of wine from Australia and
- promote the sale and consumption of wine both in Australia and overseas
The Wine Australia team clarified that although the Act requires that they promote the sale and consumption of wine in Australia and overseas they have no wine or brands to sell in their own right. Their role is to work with organisations such as RW to facilitate marketing and selling opportunities for all wine producers including the sixteen that operate in our region. To that end, it was pleasing to notify the visitors that the RW marketing group, under the guidance of Andrew Cheesman has recently concluded a survey of the needs and aspirations of this region’s producers. Andrew has completed a number of recommendations for consideration by the RW management committee. Subject to any final variations this document will be published and made available via the website by early April.
During the discussions the RW members presented a number of recommendations for the Wine Australia group to consider in the new strategic plan. Over the course of the next few weeks these will be refined and formally submitted for consideration as part of the plan. Brian Walsh urged members to continue to provide input saying that although prescribed date for public submissions has expired, the authority continues to welcome ideas and suggestions to help set the scene for the next thirty years. This will mean there may be changes to organisational structures and consideration of how grape and wine levies might be better utilised albeit that the R&D component is absolutely quarantined to ensure that Australia is able to maintain its pre-eminence as the world leader in grape and wine research and development.
If you have missed the opportunity for input, don’t delay, put your ideas and writing and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be sure to pass them on.
Alternatively, submit your suggestions directly to Brian at email@example.com