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New London head of Wine Australia: ‘there’s been too much theorising, not enough plain English’

Yvonne May, Wine Australia's new regional director for the UK, Ireland and the EU, said she would do everything in her power to improve 'the negative press' Australia was receiving.

Having specialised in Australia for the last 12 years at the pr agency she runs with David Lindsay, she told Decanter.com, ‘Australia is where my heart is.’

She said she was ‘despondent’ about the negative way Australia had come to be seen in the UK. ‘Frankly, I will do anything to improve communications and to re-build the image of the quality end of Australian wine.’

Remarking on the way Directions 2025, Australia’s major pr initiative of the last five years, had been marketed in the UK, she said there was ‘too much theorising and not enough plain English’.

Her first task as head of the London office of Wine Australia will be to persuade the press to take an interest in Australia’s new initiative, A+ Australian Wine, at the major Australian tasting in London in January.

‘This is the consumer-facing leg of Directions 2025, showing the human face of the Australian wine industry – the quality and personality of the people behind the wines.’

Announcing May’s appointment, Wine Australia CEO Andrew Cheesman said she would bring ‘extensive skills and energy’ to the role, which will start in early January 2011.

‘This was an exhaustive search and we are extremely pleased to announce Yvonne as the successful candidate,’ he said.

May has 25 years’ experience in the wine industry, including running Lindsay May PR and Marketing with David Lindsay.

She said, ‘I’m looking forward to collaborating with the many different players involved in the category across UK-Europe to spearhead a communication drive that will help build a sense of colour and excitement that Australian wines offer.’

The post is by no means a sinecure. The holder is responsible for maintaining Wine Australia’s European operation at a time of upheaval and uncertainty within the Australian wine industry.

The previous incumbent, Lisa McGovern, resigned in September after only 18 months in the job.

McGovern’s boss Paul Henry resigned his position at the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation as general manager – market development in October.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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