Inca Lee begins roles as chief executive of SAWIA

The South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) has today welcomed Inca Lee as its new chief executive, taking over from Brian Smedley who is retiring in July.

Lee’s appointment was announced in April. She is well known to the South Australian grape and wine community, having spent the past seven years as CEO of Vinehealth Australia where she was responsible to a board of seven directors and to the South Australian Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development for the provision of timely and strategic counsel to manage biosecurity for the grape and wine industry in South Australia.

“I’m proud that Vinehealth Australia is now recognised as a leader in biosecurity for the wine industry,” Lee said.

“As an independent statutory authority, it was always a balancing act between managing the expectations of industry and government, but at the end of the day, protecting the health of South Australia’s rich tapestry of vine material was the driving force.

“Conversations with vineyard owners, as the sole investors in Vinehealth, were vital in providing insights to guide operations to prepare for, prevent and respond to pest threats.”

Prior to joining Vinehealth, Inca spent nearly 20 years working for global wine and spirits company Pernod Ricard Winemakers, performing roles across the supply chain, from viticulture and wine technical operations to research and development, communications, corporate social responsibility, and public relations. She holds a Masters of Viticulture and a Bachelor of Science and is  also a graduate of the Company Directors course run by the Australian Institute of Company Directors.”

“I am honoured to now lead South Australia’s peak wine industry organisation and, together with the team, continue delivering outstanding services to members and robust advocacy to improve industry conditions,” Lee said.

SAWIA president Kirsty Balnaves said Lee’s extensive experience and diverse skill set made her perfectly suited to take on the role of chief executive of SAWIA.

“Inca is highly capable at working with individual wine businesses, stakeholders and industry organisations, and she has a strong understanding of government agency operations and an established network within the SA government and political landscape,” Balnaves said.

“Most importantly, Inca is passionate about the future of the South Australian wine industry and the contribution she can offer. The SAWIA executive and team is excited about the future under Inca’s leadership.”