Australian wine industry seeking future leaders

SUBSCRIBE to our fortnightly email newsletter to receive more stories like this. Wine Australia's crop of Future Leaders from 2015.

Jointly funded by Australian VigneronsWine Australia and the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, the Future Leaders program, now in its tenth year, aims to help the Australian wine community “prepare for the challenges of tomorrow by building today the capabilities of the next generation of leaders”.

The program involves successful industry leaders sharing “decades of wisdom” and “street-smarts” with participants to accelerate their development, with graduates encouraged to take on leadership roles at regional, state and national levels.

In the past decade, the Future Leaders program has generated 91 alumni, including winemakers, grape growers and viticulturists, business managers, marketers, suppliers and researchers who have demonstrated “the leadership and vision required to position Australia as a fine wine leader on the global stage”, states Wine Australia in a January 2017 press release.

According to Wine Australia’s Global Knowledge and People Development Manager Anne Duncan, who will oversee the 2017 program, one of the biggest risks the sector faces is an impending ‘leadership drought’.

“The international and domestic wine markets are highly competitive and that’s not going to change,” she contends.

“To ensure our sector’s future success, we need the next generation of leaders to be ready to take us forward. We need leaders who can be catalysts for innovation, who can adapt to the inevitable changes that our sector will face in the future, and who can drive the continual evolution of the Australian wine story, be they winemakers, grape growers, export managers or researchers.”

Pinot grigio grapes on the vine prior to harvest: the Australian wine industry's Future Leaders is a mentoring program for the next gen of industry movers and shakers.

Future Leaders 17

This year, Future Leaders program has been rejigged so as to align more closely with ‘pragmatic thinking’ – important in a dynamic and evolving sector such as the wine industry.

This year’s leadership program will explore new avenues and opportunities for those in the Australian wine industry in in the areas of business, marketing and governance; and how global economics will impact and shape the future of the sector.

Future Leaders 17 participants will explore:

  • new agricultural technology and how it might be applied productively by Australia’s wine sector;
  • how best to build on the innovative thinking already occurring within the sector; and
  • contemporary approaches to ‘people development’ and to commercial success.

They’ll hear from leading Australian speakers on topics such as innovation, leadership and culture, and get opportunities to network with people from across the nation’s grape-growing and wine-making community, including Future Leaders alumni.

The Future Leaders program is open to grape growers, winemakers, marketers, researchers - anyone working towards a leadership role in Australia's wine sector.

Why apply?

One former participant in the Future Leaders program, Jason Amos, now Commercial Director at Lallemand, says the learning experience was invaluable.

“Future Leaders is an investment in yourself and the sector as a whole,” says Amos. “It’s a unique opportunity to learn and understand the dynamics, the people and skills [that] make up our Australian grape and wine community.

“Participating in the Future Leaders program gave me the tools to effectively manage change, conflict and diversity beyond my normal day to day role.”

How to apply

If you’re ready to “be challenged, step up and help shape the future of Australia’s grape and wine community”, go to the Future Leaders website to apply. Applications close on Monday 9 March 2017.

And if you know anyone you reckon is up for the challenge and meets the criteria, encourage them to check out te opportunity online using #FL2017 and, if they’re interested, submit an application.

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