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.

In 2021 the program expanded 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

We are now seeking expressions of interest for MENTORS for the 2022 Program. If you are are interested in joining the program, please complete the Expression of Interest Form HERE and we will be in touch in the New Year.


“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 Program Highlights

Become a Mentor

A high-calibre group of wine industry professionals have joined the program as Mentors over the past 3 years, see below. If you are are interested in being a Mentor in 2022, please complete the Expression of Interest Form HERE 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
  • Jo Adamo, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, SA
  • Simon West, Fullglass, SA
  • Marni Cook, WCA Board Chair/ SA Leadership Academy (OCPSE)
  • Rob Hirst, Tucker Seabrook, NSW
  • Wayne Ellis, Duxton Wines, NSW

Wine Marketing/ Communications

  • Alex Gibbs, Smile Marketing, NSW
  • Andrew Stark, Wine Communicators of Australia, NSW
  • Annabel Mugford, Barossa Grape & Wine, SA
  • Dan Coward, Alkina Wines, SA
  • Georgia Rasmussen, Georgia Rasmussen Consulting, NSW
  • Professor Larry Lockshin, University of South Australia, SA
  • Luke Tyler, Wirra Wirra, SA
  • Michael van der Sommen, Torbreck Vitners, SA
  • Robin Shaw, Wine Tourism Australia, SA
  • Shirley Fraser, Wine Industry Suppliers Association, SA
  • Trish Barry, Mastermind Consulting, NSW      

Wine Retail/Hospitality

  • Alan Nelson, Nelson Wine Co. , VIC
  • Chris Morrison, Event Hospitality and Entertainment (EVT), NSW
  • Mal Higgs, Next Steps 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

  • Jeremy Oliver, Independent Consultant, VIC
  • Gill Gordon-Smith, Tafe SA/Fall from Grace Wine, SA


  • Charles Hargrave, First Growth Wines,NSW
  • Chris Hatcher, Wolf Blass, SA
  • Julian Langworthy, Deepwood Estate, WA
  • Kate Goodman, Penley Estate/Goodman Wines, SA
  • Ken Eckersley, Nicholson River Winery, VIC
  • Mike Brown, Gemtree 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
  • Jim Campbell Clause, AHA Viticulture, WA
  • Liz Riley, Vitibit Pty Ltd, NSW
  • Mike Hayes, Sirromet Wines, QLD 
  • Prue Henschke, Henschke Wines, SA
  • Rob Glastonbury, De Bortoli Wines, VIC


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


Program Partners