When this phrase was first used in the 17th century, it referred to a jury composed of trustworthy men: ‘he was convicted by a jury of 12 good men and true. Not a wino in the lot’. In those days the word ‘good’ implied distinguished rank or valour. These days, people are not required to be valiant or of high rank, in order to be part of a jury or in this case, one of the Riverland’s highest achieving industry committees, The Riverland Vine Improvement Committee (RVIC).
Last week, this column featured ‘Gems of the Riverland’, referencing six of the region’s outstanding wines, recently presented in a masterclass at the London International Wine Fair.The RVIC is another of this region’s gems. Established over 40 years ago the committee is a not-for-profit organisation specialising in the supply of Vinifera and rootstock cuttings and grafted vines. Mostly operating ‘below the radar’, RVIC is regarded as one of Australia’s largest, most reliable sources of quality vine material. The 80 hectare ‘source’ vineyards at Monash have obtained vines from local trials, recognised collections throughout Australia and overseas imports. The range of varieties and clones available to growers through RVIC is a result of many years of extensive clonal selection and breeding undertaken by numerous individuals, companies, industry groups and Government agencies in Australia.
There was a recent ‘changing of the guard’ at the RVIC AGM held in Renmark, with Steve Critchely replacing Lindsay Dowley as chairman. Lindsay, who will continue as a committee member, served as Chair for 12 years. He will continue as a committee member. Other ‘quiet achievers’ on the committee are: David Nitschke (Manager), Peter Duggin (Vice Chair), Peter Arnold (Treasurer), Nick Bakkum, Harvey Drabsch, Peter Jones, Luke Lory, Ian MacRae, Joe Meek, Michel Sewell, Peter Szabo and Andrew Thomson.
Steve has been involved with RVIC for over 30 years, initially as Auditor, then Treasurer and as a committee member. Although no longer the auditor, Steve’s financial knowledge and experience will be invaluable as RVIC continues to grow in stature and service to the industry and the region. He is also the Chair of Australian Grapevine Foundation Planting Service, the National Vine Improvement Group, and has been instrumental in overseeing the successful transfer of the germplasm from Kapunda to Monash.
The region is indeed fortunate to have a committee so dedicated to achieving towards world’s best practice in every aspect of the enterprise and its operation.
The RVIC Committee of 2016/17, Back (from left): Nick Bakkum, Peter Jones, Andrew Thomson, Ian Macrae, Joe Meek, Peter Arnold (treasurer), Stephen Critchley (Chairman). Front: Peter Duggin (vice chairman), David Nitschke (manager), Harvey Drabsch, Lindsay Dowley, Peter Szabo. Absent: Michael Sewell and Luke Lory