Go to top of page

The Board

The Board is established and governed under the Wine Australia Act. It must consist of a Chair and at least five, but not more than seven, other Directors. All members of Wine Australia’s Board are non-executive Directors. The current Chair’s term commenced on 4 July 2020. The current Board other than the Chair has been appointed for a three-year term that ends 30 September 2021.

Resolutions by the Board are made in respect of all contractual commitments exceeding $500,000.

Board members

Dr Michele Allan (Victoria)

Image of Board member and Chair from July 4 2020 Dr Michele Allan
Chair from 4 July 2020
Deputy Chair 28 November 2018 to 20 October 2019,
Director from 1 October 2018 to 20 October 2019.

Michele is an experienced non-executive director and has a strong understanding of agribusiness, public policy and regulation within food and agriculture industries, R&D portfolio structure and management, enterprise risk management and science and innovation.

Michele currently chairs Apple and Pear Australia Limited, Defence CRC Trusted Autonomous Systems, the Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre and is Chancellor of Charles Sturt University. She is also a director of CSIRO, Smart Sat CRC, Dairy Food Safety Victoria, MJ Chicken and CRC Food Agility.

She has previously held chair positions with Meat & Livestock Australia and the Wheat Industry Advisory Taskforce and was a director of Wine Australia and the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation. Other prior board roles include Tasmanian Irrigation, Innovation and Science Australia, Forest and Wood Products Australia, William Angliss Institute, Callaghan Innovation (NZ) and Food Standards Australia and New Zealand.

Michele held executive roles with Amcor Limited, Kraft Foods, Bonlac Foods Limited, ICI, Tasmanian Bioinformatics Centre of Excellence Tasmania, Johnson and Johnson and Nestle.

Michele has a Bachelor of Applied Science from University of Technology Sydney, Master of Management of Technology from Melbourne University, Master Commercial Law Deakin University and Doctorate from RMIT. She is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.

Ms Cath Oates (Western Australia)

Image of board member Cath Oates
Deputy Chair from 5 February 2019 and
Acting Chair 15 April to 3 July 2020
Director from 1 October 2018

Cath’s international winemaking career began after studying business/viticulture at Curtin University followed by oenology at University of Adelaide. Senior industry roles have included Group Winemaker at Mud House Wine Group (NZ) and Chief Winemaker at Plantagenet Estate.

Cath has served as President of Great Southern Wine Producers Association and Margaret River Wine Association. During her time in New Zealand she also served as the winemaking representative on the Advisory Board of Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand.

A keen wine show judge, Cath has judged extensively both in Australia and overseas. Currently, Cath is the owner of Oates Ends Wines making wine from the vineyard on the intergenerational farming property in Margaret River. Cath also runs a consultancy business providing strategic winemaking and wine education.

Ms Catherine Cooper (South Australia)

Image of board member Catherine Cooper
Director from 1 October 2018

Catherine is an experienced non-Executive Director having served on approximately 50 boards. After a professional career as a commercial lawyer, Catherine moved into the business world and developed wide knowledge and experience across a broad range of sectors such as agribusiness, food and health, energy, water, science and technology.

Catherine has been involved in start-ups, small to medium enterprises, public and private sectors, Australian Stock Exchange-listed (ASX), and not-for-profit organisations on a national and international basis. Career highlights include the establishment of national joint venture rural bank, nominated as a Telstra Business Woman of the Year finalist, inclusion in an international management program at GE and winning a position in the Australian Institute of Company Director’s ASX Top 200 Chairman’s Mentoring Program.

Catherine is an experienced Audit Committee Chair and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Among other directorships, Catherine is the Chair of the South Australian Environmental Protection Authority, a director of Australian Eggs, a director of Beston Global Foods Pty Ltd and a director of the Energy CRC RACE for 2030.

Mr Brian Croser AO (South Australia)

Image of board member Dr Brian Croser
Director from 1 October 2015

Brian began his career as a winemaker with Thomas Hardy and Sons in 1969.

In the early 70s, Brian studied for a Masters from The University of California at Davis and went on to establish the Wine Science program at Charles Sturt University.

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 (USA).

Brian served as Chairman of the Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney and Perth wine shows and twice as President of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia. For his service to Australian wine he was awarded an Order of Australia, the Maurice O’Shea award and was the Decanter Man of the Year in 2004.

Brian was Deputy Chancellor of the University of Adelaide from 1999 to 2007 and was made a Doctor of the University for his service, having received a similar honour from Charles Sturt University.

Brian lives at the Tiers Vineyard in Piccadilly Valley and is the winemaker for Tapanappa and Tunkalilla Vineyard in Oregon.

Professor Peter Høj AC (Queensland)

Image of board member Professor Peter Hoj
Director from 1 October 2018

Peter has been Vice Chancellor and President of The University of Queensland since 2012. He was previously Vice Chancellor and President of the University of South Australia (2007–12), Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Research Council (2004–07) and Managing Director of the AWRI (1997–2004).

He was educated at the University of Copenhagen, majoring in biochemistry and chemistry, and has a Master of Science degree in biochemistry and genetics, a PhD in photosynthesis and Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Copenhagen, Adelaide and South Australia.

Peter is a Director of the Board of Group of Eight (Go8) Universities (and in 2017 was the Chair) and a member of the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board.

He served on the CSIRO Board 2011–14 and was member of the Prime Minister’s Science Engineering and Innovation Council 1999–2004 and 2006–07.

He is a Companion of the Order of Australia, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, a Foreign Member of The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters, and was awarded an Australian Government Centenary Medal for service to Australia through wine research and science.

Peter chairs the RD&E Committee.

Dr Mary Retallack (South Australia)

Image of Board member Dr Mary Retallack
Director from 1 October 2015

Mary is an experienced director, agricultural scientist and third-generation viticulturist who brings a wide range of skills and experience from practical, research, extension and consultancy roles in the global wine sector over the past 25 years. She is Managing Director of Retallack Viticulture Pty Ltd, which offers viticultural and agribusiness consulting services, and is recognised internationally as a Certified Practicing Agriculturist. Mary has tertiary qualifications in conservation and park management, natural resource management, education, arbitration and viticulture. She also holds a PhD in viticulture and plant protection.

She is a member of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) Viticulture Commission, ENVIRO and PROTEC groups, a director of the Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia, a member of the Food Agility CRC, Strategic Investment Council, AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award Alumni advisory panel, and the Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower and Winemaker editorial panel.

Mary is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors course, a Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, a Future Leaders graduate, a past Non-Executive Director of the Australian Grape and Wine Authority, AWRI, Wine Communicators of Australia, and Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation.

Mary’s leadership capabilities and excellence in science have been acknowledged via the AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award (national winner), as a 100 Women in Australian Agribusiness inductee, a Len Evans Tutorial Scholar, a Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame inductee and as a participant in the National Farmers’ Federation inaugural Diversity in Agriculture Leadership program. Mary is an ambassador for PIRSA’s Women Influencing Agribusiness and Regions, and Great Wine Capitals Knowledge Exchange initiatives and is a Stepping into Leadership program mentor.

Mary chairs the Remuneration Committee.

Mitchell Taylor (New South Wales)

Image of board member Mitchell Taylor
Director from 1 October 2018

Mitchell Taylor is third-generation Managing Director and winemaker for Clare Valley family winery Taylors Wines. Mitchell worked in finance and stockbroking in both London and Sydney before joining Taylors Wines in 1988 and later becoming the Managing Director in 2000.

Mitchell currently oversees all aspects of the business. As an experienced winemaker, Mitchell maintains a very hands-on role at the winery, supervising all winemaking activities to ensure the quality and consistency of all Taylors wine is maintained.

His commitment to the Australian wine industry extends to involvement in key industry associations, including his role as a founding and current director of Australia’s First Families of Wine, Director of The Drinks Association and a member of the Wine Australia Marketing Advisory Group. Previous roles include former Director and Vice President of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, Chairman of the National Wine Foundation, Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Alcohol Beverages Australia, and a Founding and Past Chairman of YPO Sydney.

Mitchell is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Mitchell chairs the Marketing Committee.

Outgoing board members

Mr Brian Walsh (South Australia)

Image of board member Brian Walsh
Chair 1 July 2014 to 30 September 2019

Brian lives in the Barossa, working as a wine sector consultant since 2013 following a 24-year career at Yalumba.

He began at Yalumba in 1988 as Chief Winemaker, later joining the Board as Director of Wine, before becoming Director of Strategy and Business Development. His early career was in McLaren Vale working in various winemaking and management positions over a 20-year period.

Brian has held numerous wine sector 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 and Independent Chair of Riverland Wine.

As a strong supporter of the Australian wine show system, Brian has been both Chairman of Judges at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show and Chair of its Wine Committee.

Wine Australia Board meetings 2019–20

Table 12: Wine Australia Board meetings 2019–20

Table 12: Wine Australia Board meetings 2019–20

Date held

5 August 2019

24 September 2019

19 November 2019

4 March 2020

19 March 2020

30 April 2020

16 June 2020

Education and performance review of Directors

The Chair meets periodically and confidentially with each Director of the Board to discuss their performance over the previous 12 months and to agree on any action that may be taken to enable that Director to better fulfil their duties.

If at any time during the year the Chair has reason to be concerned about the performance of a Director, they will discuss the matter confidentially with the Director concerned. If that concern is unlikely to be remedied, they will report the matter to the responsible Minister and recommend a course of action.

If the Chair becomes aware that a Director has committed a breach of subsection 20(4) of the Wine Australia Act or has contravened Subdivision A of the PGPA Act in relation to the Authority, the Chair must immediately report the matter to the responsible Minister.

Board Directors acknowledge that in accordance with section 30 of the PGPA Act, only the responsible Minister has the power to terminate the appointment of a Director and, in doing so, the Minister must adhere to the requirements set out in section 30(2) of the PGPA Act that include providing the Director with a statement of reasons for the termination that must be tabled before each House of Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the day the responsible Minister gives the notice to the Director.

In the event that the Chair makes a report to the responsible Minister about the performance of any Director, they will, at the earliest opportunity, advise the Director concerned of the report and the reasons for the report.

Periodically, the Deputy Chair meets with the Chair to discuss the Chair’s performance over the previous 12 months; and to advise the Chair on any action that may be taken to enable the Chair to better fulfil their duties.

Board Committees

Subsection 45(1) of the PGPA Act requires authorities accountable for all Commonwealth entities to ensure that the entity has an Audit Committee.

Audit and Risk Committee

In 2019–20, the Audit and Risk Committee comprised:

  • Dr Michele Allan (Chair)
  • Catherine Cooper, and
  • Mitchell Taylor.

Dr Allan stepped down from November 2019, Cath Oates chaired the November meeting.

Following an external governance review, the remit of the Audit Committee was extended to include risk from January 2020. To ensure the highest levels of governance and probity an external chair Mr Geoff Knuckey was appointed. Mr Knuckey’s skills and experience are detailed on Wine Australia’s website together with those of Board Directors.

The functions of the Audit and Risk Committee includes reviewing:

  • financial reporting
  • performance reporting
  • system of risk oversight and management, and
  • system of internal control.

Marketing Committee

The Marketing Committee from July 2019 to September 2019 comprised:

  • Mitchell Taylor (Chair)
  • Brian Croser AO
  • Catherine Oates, and
  • Brian Walsh.

Mr Walsh stepped down in September 2019 when he retired as Board Chair.

The Marketing Committee’s objective is to advise on the directional strategies and priorities of marketing activities by:

  • providing input that assists in determining the long-term marketing needs for the Australian wine sector
  • providing input that assists with the development of the marketing strategic plan, including advice on investment priorities
  • using market intelligence, identify areas in which new growth opportunities exist for the Australian wine sector, and
  • advocating for various marketing opportunities that encourage sustained growth of the Australian wine sector.

Remuneration Committee

From July to September 2019 the Remuneration Committee comprised:

  • Brian Walsh (Chair), and
  • Catherine Cooper.

When Mr Walsh retired as Board Chair in September 2019, Dr Mary Retallack assumed the role of Chair.

The Remuneration Committee’s objective is to ensure the appropriate oversight and approval of human resources and remuneration policies and practices. In particular, the Remuneration Committee makes recommendations on:

  • the oversight of organisational design and human capability of Wine Australia commensurate and consistent with its strategic goals including:
    • its recruitment strategies and practices
    • the identification of talent including training and development
    • retention and success, and
    • diversity.
  • the behavioural and cultural framework, and practices of Wine Australia
  • the human resources and remuneration strategies, policies and practices of Wine Australia
  • the remuneration framework for all employees, and
  • performance management practices and outcomes.

Research, Development and Extension Committee

From July 2019 to November 2019, the RD&E Committee comprised:

  • Prof. Peter Høj AC (Chair)
  • Dr Michele Allan
  • Brian Croser AO, and
  • Dr Mary Retallack.

Dr Allan stepped down in November 2019.

The objectives of the RD&E Committee are to provide advice to Wine Australia on the appropriate investment of the Grape Research Levy and the R&D component of the Wine Grapes Levy in R&D in accordance with the Wine Australia Act by:

  • providing input that assists Wine Australia in determining the long- term RD&E needs of the Australian wine sector
  • providing input that assists with the development of the Strategic Plan of Wine Australia including advice on R&D investment priorities and the assessment of their progress, and
  • advocating for RD&E opportunities that encourage sustained growth of the Australian wine sector.
Table 13: Attendance at board and committee meetings

Table 13: Attendance at board and committee meetings

Board meetings

Audit and Risk Committee

Marketing Committee

Remuneration Committee

RD&E Committee

Eligible

Attended

Eligible

Attended

Eligible

Attended

Eligible

Attended

Eligible

Attended

Michele Allan

2

2

1

1

1

1

Catherine Cooper

7

7

5

5

2

2

Brian Croser

7

7

5

5

5

5

Peter Høj

Catherine Oates

7

7

1

1

5

5

2

2

Mary Retallack

7

7

1

1

5

5

2

2

Mitchell Taylor

7

6

5

3

5

5

Brian Walsh

2

2

1

1