Victoria’s wine body opts for new name and constitution

The Victorian Wine Industry Association has changed its name and adopted a new constitution in an effort to attract more participation and endorsement from the state’s wineries.

At the association’s annual general meeting, held last week in Melbourne, members voted unanimously to change the name of the association to Wine Victoria Incorporated.

Members also voted for the existing VWIA constitution to be replaced with a new constitution, which will give a new regional council the power to elect a three-person selection panel to select board members outside of the association.

In the previous constitution, board members could only be elected if they were members of the VWIA. The new constitution is designed to give the association the ability to recruit board members from a wider range of experiences and professional expertise.

Nominations for the new regional council, which will comprise elected delegates from the 21 Victorian wine regions, will be accepted until the end of this month.

The regional council will act as a strong shareholder group and formulate policy, while retaining the power to remove board members.

Meanwhile, the board – expected to be in place by the end of the year – will establish the business plan and oversee the day-to-day operations of the organisation.

The changes to Wine Victoria Incorporated come in light of the association’s struggle to attract members earlier this year.

One of the main priorities of the new association will be to address the membership model.

Those who attended the AGM thanked former VWIA executive council members Chris Pfeiffer, Laurie Martin and Kym Ludvigsen, as well as Alister Purbrick, for their management of the VWIA and their efforts in preparing the new structure.

Yarra Valley Wine Growers Association and Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association are yet to confirm their endorsement of a new structure association.

Winemakers’ Federation of Australia chief executive Stephen Strachan attended the AGM, and explained WFA’s plans to review industry representation at a regional, state and national level.