AWRI Board announces two appointments, including next Chair

Professor Kiaran Kirk and Louisa Rose. Image courtesy AWRI

The Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) Board has today announced the appointment of two Directors, Prof. Kiaran Kirk and The Hon. Sarah Courtney, effective from 1 November.

These two Directors were appointed through a new process put in place following changes to the AWRI Constitution in 2022. A nominations committee, chaired by former Director Dr John Harvey, conducted a rigorous and independent recruitment process, which recommended the appointment of Prof. Kirk and Ms Courtney to the Board. This recommendation was accepted at the most recent Board meeting on 20 September.

The Board also resolved that Prof. Kirk will take on the role of Chair from 1 January 2023, following the conclusion of current Chair Louisa Rose’s term on 31 December 2022. Prof. Kirk and Ms Rose will work closely together between now and the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition.

In announcing the appointments, AWRI Chair Louisa Rose said she was delighted that the new processes had resulted in two such excellent appointments to the Board.

“Kiaran has been a valued member of the Board since 2017. His deep connections to the Australian wine industry combined with his exceptional research and research administration experience make him uniquely suited to the role of Chair,” she said.

“Ms Courtney brings an outstanding record of skills and achievements in finance, engineering, viticulture, governance and government, all of which will contribute greatly to the ongoing success of the AWRI.”

Prof. Kirk commented that he was looking forward to taking up the role of Chair.

“The AWRI is a unique research organisation, with a talented and dedicated team working for the benefit of the Australian grape and wine industry. It will be an honour to serve as its 16th Chair,” he said.

“I’d like to acknowledge the exceptional leadership Louisa has provided to the Board, and in the wine industry more broadly, over the past eight years. She leaves big shoes to fill.”

Prof. Kirk has served on the AWRI Board since 2017. Based in Canberra, he is Dean of the College of Science at the Australian National University and Chair of the Board, Clonakilla Wines. Prof. Kirk has published extensively in the field of biochemistry and has more than twenty-five years’ experience in the Australian research and education sector.

Courtney was the member for Bass (Tasmania) between March 2014 and February 2022. She held a range of ministerial portfolios in the Tasmanian Government between March 2018 and February 2022, including serving as Minister for Primary Industries and Water.

She holds degrees in commerce, chemical engineering and viticulture and worked in the finance sector prior to her career in politics. Ms Courtney is also the founder, owner and director of Fish Hook Wines, a boutique Pinot Noir vineyard in the Tamar Valley.

The AWRI also announced that nominations are open for two levy payer-elected Director positions on the AWRI Board to take office on 1 January 2023.

The first position is newly created following the recent updates to the AWRI Constitution and is nominated/elected by Grape Research Levy payers.

The second position is for the large category of Wine Grapes Levy payers. This is an excellent opportunity for interested candidates to become involved in the Australian grape and wine industry’s own R&D organisation.

Nomination forms and further information are available from the AWRI website ( or by contacting Shiralee Dodd, the Returning Officer, at [email protected]. Nominations close on Friday, 21 October 2022 at 5:00 pm CST.


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