Australian Women in Wine Awards

It’s a big day here at The Fabulous Ladies’ Wine Society as together with the AWIWA Advisory Board we announce the finalists of the 2016 Australian Women in Wine Awards! Woo hoo!

There were six awards on offer this year, up from four in 2015, and the number and strength of the entries received exceeded all expectation. AWIWA Advisory Board member, wine writer, and long-time advocate for women in wine Jeni Port, said she found it heartening to see such an outstanding response from across Australia in this, the second year, of the awards.

“The number of entrants has increased considerably from last year. We have had entries from those working in big wine companies and small, in isolated regions and wine areas that roll a little easier off the tongue, then there have been those contributing to truly world-class research and science that places Australia at the forefront of international wine knowledge and, importantly those women – and men – actively striving for gender equality and fairness in the workplace,” said Ms. Port.

“Our finalists announced today represent the cream of what is truly a magnificent bunch of Australians in wine.”

Brian Walsh, Chair of Wine Australia, who joined the AWIWA Board this year, said that the judging process was both onerous and inspiring.

“There was an amazing depth of talent across the entries and everyone had a different story to share – from seasoned contributors to those who who are rapidly making their mark. Many have only reluctantly entered at the urging of their peers and loved-ones, modestly believing that they are just normal women in wine. I think super-normal is more appropriate,” observed Mr. Walsh.

The breadth of the wine community was well represented within entries – from wine tourism to distribution, and from PR to winemaking – demonstrating that although still in their infancy, these awards are reaching and recognizing women right across the value chain.

The finalists in each of the six award categories are (in alphabetical order):   

Winemaker of the Year – sponsored by Wine Ark
Jo Marsh, Emma Norbiato, Anna Pooley, Alexia Roberts

Viticulturist of the Year – sponsored by Wine Australia
Jennifer Doyle, Prue Henschke, Kate Strachan

Owner / Operator of the Year – sponsored by Halliday
Eliza Brown, Sarah Collingwood, Jenny Semmler, Kim Tyrer

Workplace Champion of Change – sponsored by Vinomofo
Irene Hatzigeorgiou, Lyndey Milan, Iain Riggs

Researcher of the Year – sponsored by Lallemand
Dimitra Capone, Roberta De Bei & Cassandra Collins (team), Kerry Wilkinson

Cellar Door Person of the Year
Rebecca Barr, Renee Brown, Kara Hood, Peta Serafin


Awards Night – Tuesday 15 November 2016

Once again, the Australian Women in Wine Awards has shunned the ‘grand gala night’. Instead, to maximize the reach and inclusiveness of these awards, the winners will be announced via a live stream broadcast on Tuesday 15 November at 7:30pm AEDT. Each wine region and city is being encouraged to host their own gathering to celebrate the announcement, and can register their event online via the awards website.

WA Wine Industry WET Rebate Position Paper

In the 2016 Federal Budget, the Government announced changes to the WET Producer Rebate (WET Rebate). Wines of WA (WoWA) supports the policy objectives behind the changes, namely addressing integrity concerns, better targeting support, and tightening eligibility for the WET Rebate. However, following extensive consultation with local industry, WoWA is very concerned about the direct and indirect consequences of the announced changes for regional growth and development, and regional communities. These consequences, which we believe are unintended, will have significant negative social and economic impacts in Australia’s regional communities in which wine producers are based.

Industry consultation included:

• A survey of producers conducted by RSM Australia.
• Industry “town-hall meetings” facilitated by Wines of WA and WA Members of the Federal Government. These meetings formed part of an informal consultation process by the Federal Government. Senator Anne Ruston visited most wine producing states in June 2016. The process included 4 meetings in the following regions and towns: Mt Barker, Pemberton, Busselton and Swan Valley.
• Extensive written and verbal communications with Regional Wine Associations. The positions documented in this paper have been ratified by all fine wine regions in WA.

Please see link here the resulting position paper outlining the results of this consultation process.

The paper has the endorsement of all WA Regional Wine Associations.

It outlines:
• the negative impacts on WA producers that will result from the proposed changes and;
• alternative amendments that will achieve the same revenue outcomes for government while re-focusing the rebate back to its original purpose of supporting small and medium wine producers in regional and rural Australia

The paper will be distributed to all state and regional associations in Australia and to all relevant government, opposition and cross-bench members and will inform all discussions supporting the position of WA growers and producers.

For further information, contact Redmond Sweeny - 0419 487 427

Nominations Open for AWRI Board of Director Positions

The Australian Wine Research Institute Ltd has announced on the 11 July 2016, that nominations are sought for three Levy Payer-elected Director positions on the AWRI Board, which will become vacant on 31 December 2016.

Nomination forms and further information has been sent to all Wine Grapes Levy payers today. A copy of the notice sent to levy payers is linked below for your information, it includes instructions on how to nominate and links to the nomination form.

AWRI website

Margaret River's Jo Perry Wins Young Gun Award

Jo Perry was named this year’s Riedel Young Gun of Wine at an event held at the POW Kitchen & Bandroom in Melbourne on Friday 2nd July.

Perry, who makes wine under her own brand Dormilona in Margaret River, took out the top award after a year-long search for the top 12 finest and most innovative young winemakers in Australia.

Mark Baulderstone of Riedel Australia said Jo Perry was a “terrific winner”.

Read More

More about Jo Perry

Halliday Wine Companion Australian Cabernet Challenge as part of the Langton's 2016 Margaret River Wine Show

2016 will see the establishment of the annual Halliday Wine Companion Australian Cabernet Challenge as an extension to the Langton’s Margaret River Wine Show!
This is a truly thrilling initiative and provides an opportunity for those Australian producers of Cabernet Sauvignon to participate in a varietal challenge of great national and international interest.
Not only will the Halliday Wine Companion Australian Cabernet Challenge highlight to the world the quality of our Cabernet Sauvignon it will simultaneously reflect the uniqueness of our wine regions and their respective terroirs showcasing the distinctiveness to consumers and greater wine community alike.
In addition we are pleased to announce that James Halliday AM has agreed to be Patron of this new initiative and in doing so has said, “Cabernet Sauvignon has suffered a thousand cuts between 2004, when its crush was 319,955 tonnes, and 2015, when it had fallen to 202,672 tonnes.  The silver lining is that much of the drop was of commercial grade grapes, and that there is a rapidly emerging shortage as the Chinese dragon roars for even more of our best Cabernet.  So the Halliday Wine Companion Australian Cabernet Challenge, of which I am happily the Patron, comes at a crucial time, and I urge producers everywhere who are proud of their Cabernet to support this Challenge.”
From the outset the Association would like to readily acknowledge that it has borrowed heavily from the very successful James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge and their assistance along with the Yarra Valley Wine Show is greatly appreciated.
Naming rights partner of the Margaret River Wine Show, Langton’s, said that “They are delighted to support this most worthy extension to the Margaret River Wine Show.  Under the Patronage of James Halliday this challenge to all will undoubtedly provide a unique platform for showcasing Australia’s most exceptional Cabernet Sauvignons…. and perhaps, Australia’s most exceptional wine?”
With the addition of the Halliday Wine Companion Australian Cabernet Challenge the venue for judging will move to the world class Wyndham Resort in Dunsborough to accommodate increased entries and their support here in agreeing to be the host for the next 3 years is also gratefully acknowledged.
Edward Tomlinson of Lenton Brae and Margaret River Wine Association Chair said, “We trust wine producers of varietal and blended Cabernet Sauvignon throughout Australia will find the creation of the annual Halliday Wine Companion Australian Cabernet Challenge of great interest.  The Margaret River Wine Association looks forward to showcasing on a national and global stage the depth and breadth of Australia’s finest regional Cabernet offerings.”
The Halliday Wine Companion Australian Cabernet Challenge will take place alongside the Langton’s 2016 Margaret River Wine Show from the 31st October to 3rd November 2016 with results announced online in mid November.
Further information on the Halliday Wine Companion Australian Cabernet Challenge can be found at the soon to be live with entries opening mid July 2016.

For further information, please contact: Edward Tomlinson Margaret River Wine Show Chair (08 9755 6255); Nick Power, CEO, Margaret River Wine Association (0400 516 555) and Clayton Buffoni, National Business Development Manager, Langton’s (0404 221 587).

Response to 2016 Budget WET Rebate Reforms

Wines of Western Australia (WoWA) welcomes the introduction of WET rebate integrity measures that reflect our core principles for WET reform. We believe the new measures will address market distortions surrounding the rebate.

We note also that the Government has listened to WoWA by allocating a portion of the $50 million marketing recovery plan to regionally based wine tourism activities. We look forward to continued dialogue on this allocation.

We reinforce our support for the new measures, including:

  • Maintaining the rebate under WET legislation and not a burdensome grants scheme.
  • $50 million dollars over 4 years to support growing export demand for Australian wine and promoting regional wine tourism. Wines of WA advocated strongly for a portion of these funds to be delivered directly to regional marketing and are pleased to see this included in the budget.
  • Introduction of stronger anti-avoidance provisions to remove access to the rebate from contrived arrangements;
  • Tightening the eligibility criteria in line with the rebate's original intent to support small regionally based winemakers with branded product who have made significant, ongoing investments in regional Australia and removing the rebate for bulk and unbranded wine.

The WA wine industry looks forward to further consultation on the finer details of eligibility criteria for small producers. We are encouraged that this process will occur to ensure genuine small wine producer participants who are delivering ongoing investment and jobs in regional Australia are not excluded. It is imperative that this consultative process is completed as soon as is practicable to provide investment certainty for industry.

The Government has elected to reduce the cap back to its original rebate level of $290,000 by July 2018.  We do not and did not support this. A discussion about a fairer and simpler taxation mechanism is now required. Preliminary estimates indicate WA will be disproportionately affected by this measure with 60 to 70 producers now worse off. We will be providing further economic data to the Government in due course to support our position that the cap should remain at $500,000. We request that the government should remain open minded to our position on delivering the full $500,000 rebate to small winemakers in regional areas as we transition from the mining boom. When we couple this with the legal inability to solve the rebate going to New Zealand, our continued dialogue with government will examine this issue of equality. With the full rebate in place, WA’s fine wine producers will contribute significantly to the government’s national economic plan announced on Tuesday night.

The core principles for WET Rebate reform set out in the attached pre-budget media statement remain the position of the WA wine industry.

For further information, contact:

Redmond Sweeny
President Wines of WA
08 9284 3355

WET Rebate – Core Principles for Rebate Reform

WET Rebate – Core Principles for Rebate Reform
 For the 2016 budget, the Federal Government has made clear it will be introducing WET rebate reforms that apparently will be “well designed and sustainable”.
Wines of WA, the nine fine wine regions of Western Australia and individual industry participants were part of an extensive consultative process instigated in 2013 by the national body Winemakers Federation of Australia.
This resulted in a pre-budget submission in May 2015 that proposed integrity measures to return the rebate to its original policy intent being ‘… recognition of the substantial financial hardship faced by small rural and regional wineries and aimed to support the viability and consequent capacity to generate employment wealth in local communities.’
Accordingly, the Western Australian fine wine industry again reinforces these core principles with respect to WET reform:
1. The WET rebate has been instrumental in delivering long term benefits to the wine industry and tourism in regional Australia.
2. Any reforms that tighten eligibility must continue to deliver on original policy intent; to support small wine producers in rural and regional Australia.
3. The total available rebate is maintained and as a rebate not as a grant.
4. We support an Industry/Government collaboration in growing the export demand funded from the WFA integrity measure savings.
5. The Government should continue to monitor the use of the rebate to ensure it meets its original policy intent. 

For further information, contact Wines of WA:

Redmond Sweeny, President Wines of WA
T – 08 9284 3355

Wine Industry APC Update

Industry APC Update

The inaugural meeting of the WA wine industry APC Committee was held on Friday 11th March at Technology Park, Bentley. All Committee members attended. A summary of the proceedings follows:

• APC Chairman Dr William Ryan welcomed the incoming Committee and provided a brief overview of the APC and the purpose of a Producers’ Committee
• APC Executive Officer Ingrid Smith provided an induction on Committeeprocedure and governance

The Committee then continued independently to determine the following:

• Jeff Burch appointed Chair of the Committee
• Wines of WA requested to provide secretariat services for the Committee
• Summary of all meetings will be forwarded to Regional Associations and producers
• Meeting summaries and Committee contact details to be archived at the APC website on dedicated Wine Producers’ Committee page - details to be forwarded when page is live
• Association budgets and Fee For Service (FFS) should be forwarded to secretariat by 8th April 2016
• Next meeting Friday 15th April 2016

The APC Implementation Timeline Going Forward

• Regional Associations and WoWA develop budgets and identify appropriate FFS rates through consultation with producers
• Association budgets and FFS forwarded to Producers’ Committee (via secretariat) for review by 8th April.
• Committee meets on 15th April to discuss submitted budgets
• If approved, budgets and FFS forwarded to Commissioners for approval
• Once approved by Commissioners, budgets and FFS forwarded to Minister for Agriculture for approval
• FFS gazetted mid-May
• Producer compliance information sent 1st June 2016
• Producer’s return form lodgement due 30th June 2016
• FFS payment due 30th July

Regional Association Action List

  1. Finalise 2016/17 Budget and FFS.
  2. Send to Wine Producers’ Committee c/o by COB Friday 8th April 2016

Contact Larry Jorgensen for further information.
E –
M – 0448 884 161

Wine Industry APC Committee Members Selected

The establishment of the APC Wine Producers’ Committee is progressing to schedule. To date, the following requirements have been completed:

·       A Producers’ Committee has been appointed by the APC Commission. See below for a list of the members. As there were 10 individuals who applied, the Commissioners determined that it was appropriate that all 10 should be appointed. The appointees provide a good representation of industry with regard to region, scale of operation and position in the value chain. The resulting (randomly occurring) structure of the Committee closely reflects the requirements of the WoWA Board under an APC: 5 regional representatives; 3 for scale of production ( < 150 tonnes, 151 – 1000 tonnes, >1000 tonnes); and grower representation.

An initial meeting date for the Committee has been set – Friday 11th March, 1pm – 3pm
·       Regulations specific to the wine industry are at second draft. These reflect the method of collection defined through our industry ratification process as noted below:

-          Fee paid by the owner of fruit at the crusher
-          Fee for service to paid based on tonnes of fruit processed

The schedule going forward is:

·       Regional Associations and WoWA to develop budgets and identify appropriate fee for   service rates through consultation with producers
·       Budgets and FFS rates presented to Committee for approval. 
·       Upon Committee approval, budgets/FFS rates presented to Commissioners for approval
·       With Commissioner approval, FFS charge is submitted to Minister for Agriculture for approval. FFS charge will be gazetted / published at least 14 days before date of commencement of charge.
·       FFS collection to commence on the date specified in the gazetted notice ( more detail on this to be provided when regulations have been approved)

See here for further information on the WA wine industry APC Producers' Committee, or contact Larry Jorgensen on:
E -
M - 0448 884 161