Wine Australia Chair steps down

09 September, 2019 by Andy Young

The Chair of Wine Australia, Brian Walsh, has revealed he plans to step down from the role at the end of this month.

The Wine Australia Board thanked Walsh for his contribution to Australia’s grape and wine sector as the inaugural Chair of Wine Australia.

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“Over the past five years, Brian has made an unparalleled contribution to the Australian grape and wine community as Chair of Wine Australia at the most critical moment of its modern history,” said long-term Board Director Brian Croser.

“Faced with a retreating sector after the global financial crisis and the challenge of merging two statutory organisations, he has led a consensus Board and motivated Wine Australia’s executive team to meet the challenges.

“Largely due to his considered and considerate leadership, with very capable execution by the executive, Wine Australia has been highly effective in elevating Australia’s fine wine image in global markets, advancing quality and competitiveness through research and innovation, and protecting the reputation of Australian wine through diligent application of regulation.

“The Australian grape and wine community is enjoying a revival as the dynamic and successful contributor to Australian life it has the potential to be and Brian has been a key architect of this revival.

“For me, the Board and the executive, it has been a pleasure and privilege to work with Brian. We will miss him,” Croser said.

Walsh was appointed Chairman of Wine Australia following the merger of the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC) and the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation (AWBC) in 2014.

“As Chairman of Wine Australia, Brian has overseen the merger and provided strong leadership over the past five years. His extensive wine industry experience and consultative nature have been vital ingredients in the directions taken by, and the success of, Wine Australia across compliance, marketing and R&D,” said Sandy Clark, Chairman of Australian Grape and Wine Incorporated.

“I have worked closely and collaboratively with Brian over the past three years and would like to acknowledge his enormous contribution.”

There’s was also political acknowledgement for Walsh, with Minister for Agriculture, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie congratulating Walsh on his time as Chair.

“Since Brian started as Chair five years ago he has overseen a huge increase in the value of Australian wine exports’, Minister McKenzie said.

“In 2014, when Brian started, Australian wine exports sat at $1.8bn which has since climbed to $2.8bn, which is a massive 57 per cent increase.

“Brian has also been instrumental in overseeing a growing demand for Australian wine in the Asian market and promoting Australian wine internationally as some of the safest, most sustainable and highest quality wine in the world.

“I thank him for his years of service to Wine Australia and wish him all the best for his future.”

Minister McKenzie is expected to announce Mr Walsh’s replacement shortly.