WISA to celebrate 21 years with whole-of-sector wine industry event

Image: WISA executive officer Shirley Fraser

Wine Industry Suppliers of Australia (WISA) will mark its 21st year with a celebration dinner to be held at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide next month. WISA recently came of age, with the national association marking 21 years since its establishment in July 2000.

“In speaking with members, we felt the need to bring together all businesses and their teams working across the Australian wine sector value chain,” said WISA executive officer Shirley Fraser.

Supported by gold sponsor Seaway Logistics and silver sponsors MGA Insurance and Pernod Ricard Winemakers, the event’s master of ceremonies will be esteemed wine industry strategist and advisor Peter Hayes AM.

One of the founding committee members, Hartley Higgins of Winetitles Media, recalls WISA had a clear strategic goal from its inception.

“WISA was formed to nationally represent and promote wine industry suppliers and to offer a full range of benefits and services to support the viability of the supply sector,” said Higgins.

The association’s inaugural chair Don Woolman further explained that WISA was established as “an authoritative supplier’s voice to provide lobbying strength in its negotiation with governments on policy issues”.

Another initial focus of WISA was to provide opportunities for effective dialogue between suppliers and the production sector related to planning, management and future industry growth. This collaborative approach continues to guide the organisation.

The launch of WISA 21 years ago received the support of state and federal government departments and was widely backed by the broader industry, including the grape and wine producers to whom the new association’s members provided essential products and services.

Part of this cooperative approach was the development of the WineTech trade exhibition in 2003. This is now delivered every three years in partnership with the Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference (AWITC) and Expertise Events.

In its founding year, the association’s inaugural committee was comprised of chair Don Woolman (Precision Labels), and committee members Hartley Higgins (Winetitles Media), Geoff Schahinger (Schahinger Coopers), Graeme Lowe (F. Miller and Company) and Peter Fuller (Peter Fuller and Associates).

Schahinger succeeded Woolman as chair in 2002 and he was later followed in the role by Louise Fraser, Chris Pfeiffer, Steve Dorman, Matthew Moate, Darren Oemcke, David Evans, Paula Edwards and now Jason Amos. Executive officers have included Philippa Myers, Carol Haslam, George Willcox and Matthew Moate.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many large-scale events such as conferences and in-person awards being cancelled or postponed, WISA has given a commitment to deliver its Wine Industry Impact Awards (WIIA) and Wine Industry Impact Conference (WIIC) again in 2022.

Both of these events were not held this year, as it wasn’t possible for all members to attend in person due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Next month’s 21st year celebration dinner in Adelaide will reflect on the needs of suppliers, provide an opportunity to thank WISA’s teams and contributors and recognise the continuing support of partnered wine companies across the country.

WISA chair Jason Amos says the next two vintages in particular will hold many challenges for the sector.

“Market access, international freight cost and availability, changing technology, limitations to base materials and the impact of vintage yields with full tanks, will have impact on every part of the supply chain,” said Amos.

“Essentially, WISA is an enabler of amplified wine sector value chain engagement and is the only association focused on the suppliers that are the glue for grape growers and winemakers to create their magic and tell their stories globally, continuing to provide a collective voice for suppliers to have market access and a strong influence for the shared themes impacting us all into the future,” added Fraser.

“We value inclusion, diversity, collaboration, learning and relationships, as we partner with our cohort that buy from and sell to us. It takes all kinds, from agtech software to hardware, machinery, packaging dry goods, oenological inputs, oak, engineering, transport, corporate services, consultants, and education.

“We are all in the same boat, with a diverse range of products, skills, and offerings. We welcome all wine industry businesses and professionals to join together in a celebration of camaraderie and cohesion, where the challenges faced ahead will be more easily solved together, with open communication and an ongoing innovative spirit.”

The WISA 21st year celebration dinner will be held at the National Wine Centre on Wednesday 10 November 2021.

More information about the event can found online:


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