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Adelaide Hills Wine Region appoints Sarah Carlson as new Executive Officer

Newly appointed AHWR EO Sarah Carlson. mage courtesy Adelaide Hills Wine Region

Adelaide Hills Wine Region (AHWR), the membership body that represents wineries and grapegrowers in the region, has appointed a new executive officer: Sarah Carlson.

Carlson took the role following over two years as grower engagement officer and after six years as a contractor on environment and sustainability projects for the organisation.

Carlson has studied and worked in the wine industry for over 16 years, primarily in the Adelaide Hills.

Having grown up in the US and spent time working in publishing in the UK, Carlson moved to Australia in 2005 and dedicated her career to wine.

She obtained an MA in Wine Business at the University of Adelaide and worked with several wineries in the Adelaide Hills in marketing and communications.

Passionate about sustainability, she consulted to AHWR for six years to first support the roll-out of its Environmental Management Plan and then facilitate adoption of the Sustainable Winegrowing program, before taking on a permanent role as grower engagement officer.

Carlson takes up the executive officer role with immediate effect, having undertaken the role in an interim capacity since November.

AHWR is a membership body established in 1988 which represents wineries, grapegrowers and associated businesses in the Adelaide Hills.

A not-for-profit body, it works with members to represent their collective interests, to grow brand equity to ensure long-term sustainability of the grape, wine and tourism industries in the region, and promote the Adelaide Hills brand locally, nationally and worldwide.

It also provides up to date insight into viticulture conditions and runs training programs to upskill members and ensure they reach their potential.

The role of AHWR executive officer will evolve to encompass Carlson’s existing portfolio of grower engagement and sustainability while also having oversight over marketing, events, policy and advocacy.

She will be supported by a small in-house team to manage roll-out of events, marketing and communications, projects and member services.

Having established strong relationships with members and key stakeholders over the years and having a thorough understanding of the issues they face, Carlson will be strongly placed to ensure all areas of regional activities and member services – from vineyard to cellar door – are well integrated.

Key to the role is providing the leadership to strengthen the region’s identity and build resilience at every level of members’ business, from grape-growing to sales and hospitality.

“Along with all members of the Board, I am thrilled that Sarah is stepping into this role,” Alex Trescowthick, president of Adelaide Hills Wine Region said.

“We undertook a thorough recruitment process to ensure transparency and a level-playing field but it was clear that she was the ideal candidate.

“She fully understands the issues affecting members, from the impact of growing conditions and government policy on grape-growers, to the importance of enhancing the visitor experience and promoting a coherent regional brand.

“Being the head of a not-for-profit member-funded organisation involves a lot of juggling and consideration of various perspectives, and Sarah not only has the expertise, but is very much a ‘people-person’, with the sensitivity and pragmatism to make informed decisions.

“She also has a genuine passion for the Hills which shines through and positions her as the ideal advocate to drive us forward, and ensure we grow our reputation as one of Australia’s most exciting premium wine regions.”

 

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