The Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA) supports a competitive wine sector by investing in research, development and extension (RD&E), growing domestic and international markets and protecting the reputation of Australian wine.
AGWA brings together the RD&E activities of the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation and the market development and compliance activities of the Wine Australia Corporation in one new entity.
AGWA is funded by grapegrowers and winemakers through levies and user-pays charges and the Australian Government, which provides matching funding for R&D investments.
AGWA is a Commonwealth statutory authority established under the Australian Grape and Wine Authority Act 2013 that commenced on 1 July 2014.
Structure of the Board
The Board is established and governed under the AGWA Act. It must consist of a Chair and at least five, but not more than seven directors. The current Board has been appointed directly by the Minister for an initial term of 12 months which commenced on 1 July 2014.
The Board currently comprises:
Mr Brian Walsh (South Australia) – Chair
Brian Walsh was a non-executive member of Wine Australia Corporation. Brian boasts a 24 year career at Yalumba, spanning roles of Chief Winemaker, Director of Production and Director of Strategy & Business Development as well as 20 years working in winemaking and management positions in McLaren Vale.
Brian has previously held roles including President of the South Australian Wine Industry Association, Chair of the South Australian Wine Tourism Advisory Board, Chair of Barossa Winemakers Committee, Chair of the Wine Innovation Cluster at the Waite Campus, Urrbrae and is currently Independent Chair of Riverland Wine. Brian has been a senior wine judge with more than 30 years' experience and has been both Chairman of Judges at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show and Chair of its Wine Committee.
Ms Eliza Brown (Victoria) – director
Eliza Brown is from a fourth generation wine family from Victoria Australia.
She studied advertising business at RMIT Melbourne and eventually earned a role as account manager at the international advertising firm J. Walter Thompson.
After her years at the firm, Eliza decided it was time for a change of scene and moved to All Saints Estate winery in Wahgunyah to join her father's business.
Currently Eliza is the CEO/ Director of All Saints Estate & St Leonards Vineyards, located in Wahgunyah, Victoria, and a director of Brown Brothers wines. In addition to this Eliza currently serves on the Agricultural Industry Advisory Council and on the board of North East Victorian Tourism Association.
Previously Eliza completed the wine industry’s ‘Future Leader’s’ program and for three years performed the role of chair of the Winemakers of Rutherglen.
When not immersed in wine, she enjoys a competitive game of tennis and a gin and tonic. Eliza currently resides in Wahgunyah with her husband Denis, and their daughters Coco and Charlie.
Mr John Casella (New South Wales) – director
John is the Managing Director of Casella Family Brands and well known for the creation of the successful Yellowtail label.
Mr Brian Croser AO (South Australia) – director
Brian Croser began as a winemaker with Thomas Hardy and Sons in 1969.
In the early ‘70’s Brian attended The University of California at Davis for a masters program and went on to establish the Wine Science program at Charles Sturt.
By 1976 Brian had established Petaluma and in 1978 gave it a home in the Piccadilly Valley and in 1986 established Argyle winery in Oregon.
Brian served as Chairman of Adelaide, Canberra and Sydney wine shows and twice as President of the Winemakers Federation. For his service to industry he was awarded an Order of Australia, the Maurice O’Shea award and was Decanter Man of The year in 2004.
Brian was Deputy Chancellor of University of Adelaide from 1999 to 2007 and was awarded the degree of Doctor of the University for his service.
Brian still lives at the Tiers Vineyard in the Piccadilly Valley and is the winemaker for Tapanappa Wines and Tunkalilla wines in Oregon.
Mr John Forrest (Victoria) – director
John Forrest understands the challenges faced by table, wine grapes and dried vine fruit producers through his experience and consultation with viticulture clients through irrigation development.
Mr Ian Henderson (Queensland) – director
Ian Henderson is founder, CEO and principal vinegar maker at Australian Vinegar.
The son of an Army Officer, Ian grew up in many states of Australia before settling on the Gold Coast and graduating with a Bachelor of Science (Mathematics and Physics) from Griffith University.
He then pursued a 10-year career in the public and private sectors specialising in the areas of large scale IT management.
In 1999, Ian and wife Robyn, a daughter of a third-generation wine family, undertook a tree-change to the Granite Belt region of South-East Queensland. He joined Ballandean Estate Wines as assistant winemaker before taking on responsibility for domestic sales. His role expanded to include export sales where he consolidated markets in Europe and established new outlets in North America and Asia.
In 2003 Ian completed an Associate Degree in Winegrowing from Charles Sturt University graduating with distinction.
He identified an opportunity to diversify operations into vinegar production and in 2005 established LiraH Vinegar, later re-named as Australian Vinegar. The following year Ian was awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to study vinegar making in Europe. He completed a Vinegar Making Diploma Course in Austria before furthering his studies in Italy and Spain.
Ian has enjoyed a long association with the wine show circuit as Chief Steward at the Australian Small Winemakers show for five years and a committee member for 15 years.
He and Robyn have two teenage children. When not working, Ian tends five acres of Nebbiolo grapes on his private vineyard or plays poor to ordinary golf with passion.
Ms Janice McDonald (Western Australia) – director
Since completing the Bachelor of Wine Science from Charles Sturt University in 1986, Janice McDonald has spent considerable time making wine and brewing beer. She is the Senior Winemaker at Burch Family Wines.
Burch Family Wines is the largest family owned winery in Western Australia with vineyard holdings and wineries in the Great Southern and Margaret River, crushing 4,000 tonnes of premium to super premium grapes for the brands of Howard Park, Marchand & Burch, Jete Methode Traditionelle and Madfish.
Before Burch Family Wines, Janice was the winemaker and creative force behind Stella Bella Wines. A leading producer of Margaret River wines which she started as a single vineyard production of 200 cases in 1997 and grew to its current production of 40,000 cases with a directorial responsibility for grape growing, wine making, packaging, and marketing. Between 1992 and 2000 she held the position of Senior Winemaker/Winery Manager at Devil’s Lair Winery, Margaret River.
Janice’s brewing exploits include Head Brewer and Brewery Manager of the Matilda Bay Brewing Company, from 1985 to 1990, producing 5 million cases of speciality beer and as the contract, commissioning Brewer of Little Creatures Brewing in Perth in 2000. She continues to brew today for the Margaret River Ale Company in her spare time.
Mr Kim Williams AM (New South Wales) – director
Kim Williams has had a long involvement in the arts, entertainment and media industries here and overseas and has held various executive leadership positions since the late 1970s including as Chief Executive at each of News Corp Australia, FOXTEL, Fox Studios Australia, the Australian Film Commission, Southern Star Entertainment and Musica Viva Australia and also as a senior executive at the ABC.
Mr Williams was the Chief Executive of FOXTEL for the decade up until November 2011. At FOXTEL he pioneered many of the major digital broadcast innovations in Australia and received the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Australian subscription television association ASTRA for his diverse contributions.
Mr Williams has also held numerous Board positions (and Chairmanships) in commercial and public life over more than three decades including as Chairman of the Australian Film Finance Corporation (which he founded in 1988; Chairman of MCN – the subscription television industry’s major advertising sales company; Chairman of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and of Musica Viva Australia; and most recently as the Chairman of the Sydney Opera House Trust from 2005 until 2013.
He was appointed as a Member in the Order of Australia in June 2006 for his services to the arts and public policy formulation in the film and television industries. In October 2009 he was awarded a Doctorate of Letters (Honoris Causa) by Macquarie University for his contribution to the arts and entertainment industry in Australia and internationally. He is a previous recipient of the Richard Pratt Business Arts Leadership Award from the Australian Business Arts Foundation and the Australian Writers Guild’s Dorothy Crawford Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession. He is a current board member of the University of Western Sydney Foundation, the State Library of NSW Foundation and the Myer Foundation. He is also a commissioner of the Australian Football League.