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Walsh, Croser and Casella to head-up Australian wine industry revamp

Leading industry figures Brian Walsh, Brian Croser and John Casella have been appointed to the board of the new Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA), which begins operations today (1 July).

Yalumba veteran Walsh will be acting chair of the new body, which merges Wine Australia and the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC).

With a budget in its first year of A$34.7m, the organisation will provide centralised marketing, export regulation and research and development support to the country’s A$3.4bn wine industry.

The new structure comes after the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA) finalised a three-year, A$33.75m action plan late last year, aimed at rejuvenating the Australian wine industry, including funding increases for marketing and a tie-in with Tourism Australia.

Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce said AGWA would aim to increase returns for grape producers and winemakers, improve market access and reduce the regulatory burden.

The interim board of acting directors has been appointed for three months to help establish AGWA, after which final appointments will be confirmed.

As well as Walsh as chair, directors include former WFA president Croser and Casella, MD of Yellowtail creator Casella Wines.

Also on the board are Eliza Brown, CEO of Peter R Brown Family Vineyards and the first female director of Brown Brothers Wines; and Burch Family Wines chief winemaker Janice McDonald.

Written by Richard Woodard

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