WFA AGM & Ambassadors pride in Australia

I note the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) annual general meeting (AGM) is coming up (November 15). Part of the proceedings will be the announcement of the appointment of WFA president and directors for 2016-17. President since 2012 has been Mr Tony D’Aloisio AM. Will he be reappointed? And does he want to be reappointed? The same questions can be asked of the rest:

Large winemaker representatives:

  • Angus McPherson, Treasury Wine Estates (chair)
  • Georgia Lennon, Accolade Wines
  • Helen Strachan, Pernod Ricard Winemakers Pty Ltd
  • Libby Nutt, Casella Family Brands

Medium winemaker representatives:

  • Mitchell Taylor, Taylors Wines Pty Ltd (chair)
  • Robert Hill-Smith, Yalumba Wine Company
  • Andrew Kay, Wirra Wirra
  • Anthony Wilkes
  • Victoria Angove, Angove Family Winemakers (permanent alternate)

Small winemaker representatives

  • David O’Leary, O’Leary Walker Wines (chair)
  • Corrina Wright, Oliver’s Taranga Vineyards
  • Colin Campbell, Campbells Wines
  • Redmond Sweeny, Snake and Herring
  • Nicole Esdaile, NE Wine Services (permanent alternate)

More intriguing is the position of CEO. Paul Evans left the post in February and Tony Battaglene took over as acting CEO, combining this with his role as general manager, strategy and international affairs.

Battaglene told me he would apply for the position and I’m sure others also have, but it’s been the best part of a year. Why no new person or Battaglene in the full-time role of CEO? According to Battaglene there will be a formal announcement at the AGM. We take the view that if anyone other than Battaglene were in line for the job it would already have been announced.

3-fruity-gordoIn 2014, as ambassador to the US, Kim Beazley charged taxpayers $3420 for 12 bottles of Penfolds Grange. The headlines were damning. What a whingeing, whining nation Australia is becoming.

Should our ambassadors only offer cans of Foster’s, XXXX or VB, none of which are Australian owned, or a five-litre, bag-in-box fruity gordo?  I hope our ambassadors around the globe show Australia to be a truly great wine-producing country, and I hope they offer more than Penfolds Grange.

One could ask how the ambassador got hold of a case of Grange for just $285 a bottle.

A recent article in Decanter reports on a train departing Lyon in France for China carrying 16,000 bottles of wine. The wine is one aspect to this story, but more interesting is the plan is to have 5000 trains a year between China and Europe by 2020. The journey takes 35 days but it’s a route that appears to be successful.

In the UK 55 per cent of a price of a bottle of wine is tax, and 74 per cent of the cost of a bottle of spirit goes into government coffers. For the 12 months to the end of September wine contributed £4.04 billion ($6.5 billion) to the Exchequer. Spirits (six months) increased the government horde by £1.48 billion.

The year is passing and for some of us passing very quickly. I think a quiet weekend is required, along with tasty food and good wine. I wish the same for you.


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