Wine Industry Mentor Program

The Wine Industry Mentor Program is proudly supported by Wine Communicators of AustraliaThe University of AdelaideWine Australia and the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology

The program is a whole of sector initiative aiming to support and inspire the future generations of wine industry professionals by tapping into the experiences and insights from the best in their field.

This year the program is expanding into all areas of the wine industry including; wine business, wine marketing, media, photography, wine education, winemaking, viticulture and oenology, while keeping a strong connection with wine communications.

The program boasts Australia’s most highly respected and experienced wine sector leaders, who are passionate about wine and the future of the Australian wine industry. These individuals give their time willingly and voluntarily to support and foster the growth of the Australian wine sector.

The program aims to boost both personal and professional development in future generations of wine industry professionals by giving them the opportunity to:

  • Connect with like-minded, ambitious wine professionals
  • Grow their knowledge from respected wine sector leaders
  • Aspire to be the best they can be through greater clarity of career direction and satisfaction within the wine industry.


To be eligible for the Wine Industry Mentor Program, you must:

  • Be an Australian resident for the duration of the program
  • Have gained at least two years’ work experience in the wine industry

How to Apply

  1. Express your interest in the program by completing the form below and submit.
  2. Within 48 hours, you will receive an email with instructions on how to log into the program’s dedicated online platform.
  3. Once logged into the platform, you will need to complete your ‘professional profile’ to be considered for this years program. By completing your profile (in full), you have completed the application process for the 2021 Wine Industry Mentor Program. 
  4. Applications will close on Friday 30 April.
  5. Applications will be reviewed by WCA in consultation with program partners and successful candidates will be matched with a Mentor. 
  6. All applicants will be notified via email no later than Friday 21 May the outcome of their application (i.e. successful or unsuccessful) 

If you have questions about the program or the application process, please start by reading through the Frequently Asked Questions HERE. If you still have questions, please contact us directly via email;

Expression of Interest Form


“When such an amazing group of wine industry leaders is brought together and they have offered their time and their minds to those that wish to follow in their footsteps, it is a really special opportunity. In a year which has featured extraordinary challenges, to come out on the other side feeling like you have gained something special, both professionally and personally, truly is a gift. It is a gift for which I am immensely grateful, and I hope that one day I’ll be able to support others in the same way.”

Leigh Woodrow, Langmeil Wines SA

Leigh Woodrow, Langmeil Wines

“I was fortunate enough to work with and learn from Rob Hirst, a man who has possibly forgotten more about the wine industry than most will ever be able to remember. Rob has provided a very calm and balanced sounding board for me and allowed me to be reassured there is a future in the industry for someone possessing the skills and experiences I have.”

Andrew Schwilk, Cellar Cru, NSW

Andrew Schwilk, Cellar Cru

“It is often hard to get a foothold as you climb your tree of life and I suspect a mentor might just offer one or more of those footholds that get you to the next level; and as a mentor it is a great feeling when you feel you may have contributed even in some small way to someone achieving their goal.”

Gary Baldwin, Wine Network Consulting, NSW

Gary Baldwin, Wine Network Consulting

“The Wine Communicators’ Australia Mentor Program can change lives for the better.

Being a mentor has opened my eyes to the wealth of unaddressed talent just waiting to be recognised and helped early in their careers. I have been fortunate to work with an amazing and talented young woman who has the potential to excel as a wine writer. She has natural talent, a top-rate trained palate, enthusiasm to burn, an intelligent and questioning mind and fantastic writing skills. She’s taking a massive leap of faith, and I see my role as helping her succeed. And she will!”

Jeni Port, Independent Wine Writer, VIC

Jeni Port, Independent Wine Writer

“I recommend the Wine Industry Mentor Program to anyone ambitious and willing to work hard.

My mentor, Max Allen helped my technical writing skills, but also my critical thinking and helped me understand the wine industry even further.

My writing has become really strong and my work is now being published in WBM, Young Gun of Wine + Neue Luxury. I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to achieve through this mentorship and so grateful to my mentor for all his support.”

Mel Gilchrist, Rob Dolan Wines, VIC

Mel Gilchrist, Rob Dolan Wines

“The Mentor program gives you far more back than you put in. We have both challenged each other and from that comes growth and inspiration.”

Gill Gordon-Smith, Fall from Grace, SA

Gill Gordon-Smith, Fall from Grace

2021 Mentors

A high-calibre group of wine industry professionals have joined the program in 2021 as Mentors. We have listed them below based on their primary field of expertise, however many of them can offer mentoring across a range of fields.

If you are are interested in being a Mentor this year or in future years, please complete the ‘Expression of Interest’ form above and we will be in touch.

Wine Business           

  • David Lowe, Lowe Family Wine Co, NSW
  • Darren Oemke , Hydra Consulting, SA
  • Geoff Krieger, Brokenwood Wines, NSW
  • Simon West, Fullglass, SA
  • Marni Cook, WCA Board Chair/ Business Consultant, SA
  • Rob Hirst, Tucker Seabrook, NSW
  • Wayne Ellis, Duxton Wines, NSW

Wine Marketing/ Communications

  • Alex Gibbs, Smile Marketing, NSW
  • Annabel Mugford, Barossa Grape & Wine, SA
  • Dan Coward, Alkina Wines, SA
  • Georgia Rasmussen, Georgia Rasmussen Consulting, NSW
  • Jing Cao, CLCA, SA
  • Professor Larry Lockshin, University of South Australia, SA
  • Michael van der Sommen, Torbreck Vitners, SA
  • Robin Shaw, Wine Tourism Australia, SA
  • Shirley Fraser, Wine Collaborators, SA
  • Trish Barry, Mastermind Consulting, NSW      


  • Jeni Port, Independent Wine Writer, VIC
  • Katie Spain, Wine Writer, SA
  • Max Allen, Independent Wine Writer, VIC
  • Peter Bourne, Peter Bourne ‘The Wine Man’, NSW


  • Milton Wordley, Photographer, SA

Wine Education

  • Gill Gordon-Smith, Tafe SA/Fall from Grace Wine, SA


  • Chris Hatcher, Wolf Blass, SA
  • Jock Harvey, Chalk Hill Wines, SA
  • Julian Langworthy, Deepwood Estate, WA
  • Kate Goodman, Penley Estate/Goodman Wines, SA
  • Mike Hayes, Sirromet Wines, QLD
  • Peter Bissell, Retired/Balnaves, SA
  • Peter Leske, Revenir Winemaking, SA
  • Sam Connew, Stargazer Wines, TAS
  • Sarah Pidgeon, Wynns Coonawarra, SA
  • Wendy Cameron MW, VIC    



  • Brett McClen, Brown Family Wines, VIC
  • Associate Professor Cas Collins, The University of Adelaide, SA
  • Dr Catherine Kidman, Coonawarra, SA
  • Colin Bell, AHA Viticulture, WA
  • Dr Di Davidson, ASVO fellow, SA
  • Liz Riley, Vitibit Pty Ltd, NSW
  • Mike Hayes, Sirromet Wines, QLD 
  • Prue Henschke, Henschke Wines, SA


  • Professor Geoff Scollary, Charles Sturt University, NSW
  • Associate Professor Kate Howell, University of Melbourne, VIC
  • Professor Kerry Wilkinson, The University of Adelaide, SA
  • Dr Paul Smith, Wine Australia, SA
  • Associate Professor Sue Bastian, The University of Adelaide, SA
  • Dr Tony Robinson, AWRI, SA


Program Partners