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The annual WEA Conference and Exhibition is a significant and unique event on the wine calendar. The Conference concentrates on all aspects of wine production and is aimed at engineering staff, maintenance staff, winemakers, CEO’s and winery suppliers whose goal is to make better wine more efficiently. After travelling to Mildura in 2007, this year’s Conference will be held at the Wolf Blass Winery Visitors’ Centre in the Barossa Valley over 18–19 June.
David Clark, WEA Speaker Program Coordinator – Australia, said the conference is important to the wine industry because it keeps key operational staff up to date with the latest global technological advancements therefore ensuring that the Australian wine industry retains its competitive edge wherever possible.
The 2008 national conference is themed Improving Winery Performance Clark said presentations and exhibitions will focus on reducing production losses and costs via the introduction of improved performance techniques involving both operational systems and the latest advancements in equipment.
“Another area of focus will be environmental sustainability which will include raising the awareness in understanding and dealing with carbon footprinting.
“Key speakers will address these issues over two days of presentations and workshops which will provide opportunities to share and improve knowledge for the entire winery team. The variety of presentations and workshops will provide many choices for the conference delegates’ interests and a research paper section will provide information on the latest R&D.
“During the last Conference held in Mildura in excess of 300 people attended with 50 sponsor display areas, this year the number of exhibitors will increase to 60 and it is expected that the number of conference delegates will also increase.
“An integral part of this annual event is the great display of products and services available from Australian and international providers.
“With the conference and associated exhibition being one of the few that is run on an annual basis it provides an excellent opportunity for annual face-to-face networking amongst key operational staff. Visitors range from small boutique operations to those representing large multi-national wine companies.
“The number and quality of trade exhibitors gathered in one place at the same time also provides a similar opportunity to have face-to-face discussions with people who are experts in their field and willing to help,” Clark said.
After a tumultuous beginning to 2008 in the wine industry with several highly publicised workplace accidents, the Conference has taken a proactive stance and introduced several keynote presentations to raise awareness of workplace safety topics. These speakers include Carl Sachs, director, Workplace Access & Safety; and Peter Wong, chief advisor — engineering, Workplace Services SA.
Another highlight of the Conference is the annual presentation by the recipient of the WEA’s sponsored Travel Award. This year, Ken Johnson, winery engineer with Yalumba, will discuss winery operations and equipment that he encountered during his WEA-sponsored trip to Spain and Italy.
For all your information on the 2008 WEA National Conference and Exhibition, visit www.wea.org.au