Murray Valley Winegrowers executive officer Mike Stone leaving role

Murray Valley Winegrowers executive officer Mike Stone will be retiring from the role in June.

Stone has had two stints as EO of the Mildura-based body. His first period in the job spanned 2001 to 2010. He returned to the position in March 2014.

MVW provides advocacy and viticultural extension services to winegrape growers in the Murray-Darling and Swan Hill regions of New South Wales and Victoria. These two regions comprise the second-largest production zone in Australia, contributing around 20 per cent of the fruit that makes wine for several Australian and international brands.

At the start of his first stint, the Australian wine industry was achieving record prices and expanding rapidly. This gradually gave way to grape over-supply, plunging prices, and drought and water restrictions. On returning to the job in 2014, prices were at all-time lows, but signs of recovery from a decade-long downturn became evident in 2016 and have since strengthened.

Stone says MVW will continue to make an important contribution to the winegrape sector, regionally and through its membership of the Inland Wine Regions Alliance.

“We provide a voice for growers on a range of issues that impact on profitability and vineyard management,” Stone said.

“We’ve long been very active in strengthening commercial relationships between growers and wineries. As well, we monitor the issues and developments that have the potential to benefit and/or undermine growers’ businesses. Often, a regional response is called for and we provide that on behalf of growers.”

The process of appointing a successor to Stone has commenced. Other changes to the MVW leadership ranks were announced last week, with Peter Crisp elected as chair, replacing Brian Englefield who retired from the position.