Dr Martin Cole a food scientist has been appointed CEO of Wine Australia

The engagement of a new CEO will provide certainty for the organisation after a period of significant challenges, including COVID-19, drought and bushfires and a red card from China. Dr Cole will commence in the position as the new CEO of Wine Australia on 15 November 2021.

Under Dr Cole’s leadership, Wine Australia is expected to deliver on its mission to support a competitive wine sector, growing domestic and international markets and protecting the reputation of Australian wine.

Demand for Aussie wine continues to grow both here and overseas, and Wine Australia is crucial in promoting Australian wine internationally as some of the safest, most sustainable and highest quality wine in the world.

Dr Cole was head of Agriculture, Food and Wine at the University of Adelaide and brings a wealth of scientific and leadership experience to the position. It is expected he will continue to support the organisation on its journey toward the wine industry’s Vision 2050 which guides the sector’s focus over the next three decades.”

The former CEO was Andreas Clark who finished in July 2021 after 15 years of service to Wine Australia, including 8 years as CEO.

Mr Clark led the organisation through its transformation from the Wine Australia Corporation and its merger with the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, in 2014.

During his time as CEO, Mr Clark provided leadership to deliver strong growth in the value of wine exports through the $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package, while also responding to significant challenges including drought and the 2020 bushfires.

Wine Australia Chair Dr Michele Allan said, “We are delighted to welcome Professor Cole to this role, after what’s been a highly competitive recruitment process.

“With his broad range of skills and experience, we know he’ll be a great asset to the Australian grape and wine community, and we look forward to continuing to deliver results for our levy payers under his leadership,” Dr Allan said.

“I’d also like to join the Minister in thanking Steven Weinert for his work as the Acting CEO following Andreas’ departure. He has provided significant support to the Board during this time and it’s been greatly appreciated”.

About our wine industry

·         Australia’s wine grape growers, winemakers and wine tourism operators contributed over $45 billion to the Australian economy in 2019-20, including $2.8 billion in wine exports, and aim to contribute $100 billion to the economy in 2050.

·         In 2019-20 there were an estimated 6,251 wine grape growers with a vineyard area of 146,244 hectares and a gross value of farm gate production totaling $1.15 billion.

·         In 2019-20 there were an estimated 2,361 winemakers, who produced 1.2 billion litres of wine

·         The 2020-21 grape harvest was the biggest on record, producing a total of 2.03 million tonnes of wine grapes with an estimated farmgate value of $1.56 billion.

·         In 2019-20 the wine industry directly employed an estimated 69,000 people and indirectly employed 163,790.