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A boost for the wine industry

A new national wine industry-leadership program designed for people working at the local and regional level will be delivered in nine regions across Australia over the next three years. The first regions to benefit from the training will be Central Victoria, North-East Victoria and Gippsland from February 2007.

It is a three day course aimed at encouraging people to take control following a difficult period for the wine industry with recent smoke damage from fires, frost last October and the long-term issue of product oversupply.

Central Victorian winemaker Stephen Shelmerdine, from Shelmerdine Vineyards Heathcote, was excited by the course and believes it will boost the skills and confidence of many who have not had the chance to attain such expertise.

“This training will help growers, managers, winemakers, cellar-door staff and regional marketing personnel gain valuable skills in business planning, decision-making, working in teams and networking,” Mr Shelmerdine said.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for our wine industry to better plan for the future, build sustainable businesses and foster new ideas to develop and promote the region.”

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Grapecheque Facilitator, Cynthia Mahoney, said consultation with wine personnel in the three Victorian areas participating in the first year gave the project team an excellent insight into the type of training needed for these areas.

“We wanted to know from those working in the regions, such as winemakers like Stephen Shelmerdine, what skills they needed to be better prepared to stay and prosper in the industry long-term,” Ms Mahoney said.

“The response led us to focus on training that would build people’s leadership skills and encourage them to take on key roles within the business or local area.”

“As a positive step toward their future, we expect many will take up this opportunity to receive excellent training specific to their individual needs,” Ms Mahoney said.

The program is funded by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, as part of a wider initiative to build the next generation of wine industry leaders, as well as the Victorian State Government. Consultation with other regions throughout Australia will occur in years two and three, prior to workshop delivery, to ensure that each course is tailored to meet local needs.

Developed by Jill Briggs of Rural Training Initiatives (RTI), the course will feature experienced speakers and trainers.

The course is $99 per day for FarmBis eligible participants and will be run over 3 days from 8.30am to 5.30pm in the following locations:

Central Victoria – Heathcote 13th February, 20th February and 8th May 2007 North-East Victoria – Wangaratta 12th February, 19th February and 7th May 2007 Gippsland – Traralgon 16th February, 23rd February and 4th May 2007

For a course brochure or to register please contact Jill Briggs, RTI, on (02) 6035 7284 or Cynthia Mahoney, DPI, on (03) 9296 4628.

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