Wine Industry Mentor Program

The Wine Industry Mentor Program is proudly supported by Wine Communicators of AustraliaThe University of AdelaideWine Australia, Wine Industry Suppliers Association 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.

The program offers mentoring in most areas of the wine industry including; wine business, wine marketing, media, communications, wine education, winemaking, viticulture and oenology and wine supply management.

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.

Download the program overview HERE


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

If you still have questions about the program, please download our FAQ’s fact sheet HERE. 


Applications have now CLOSED for the 2022 program. Scroll down to view the list of successful applicants. 

If you are interested in being part of the 2023, please complete the Expression of Interest Form HERE and we will be in touch. The formal application process will commence in March/April next 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

“A terrific program that provides advice, sounding, motivation and drive to achieve whatever it is within the wine industry.”

Ben Dolan, Rob Dolan Wines, VIC

Ben Dolan, Rob Dolan Wines

“This program is amazing and champions inclusivity and diversity like no others. I now feel that I can make a positive impact to the wine industry thanks to people believing in my capabilities. It has literally changed my life, and in that I’ve not just found an exceptional mentor, but also a friend for life.”

Lisa Cardelli, Terroir Selections, VIC

Lisa Cardelli, Terroir Selections

“My mentor played an integral role in me gaining new employment within the industry. He worked closely with me to help rebuild my confidence and understand my mindset and the value of my unique skillset.”

Naomi Verdonk, Wine Australia, SA

Naomi Verdonk, Wine Australia

“I’m a small wine business owner, who will now progress my business in both viticulture and production as a result of being part of the program. My mentor is a great man and we’ll definitely keep in touch.“

Sam Pfeiffer, Whistler Wines, SA

Sam Pfieffer, Whistler Wines

2022 Program Participants

Congratulations to the successful applicants who have been paired with an industry expert for the 2022 Wine Industry Mentor Program. The program partners wish you all the best with your professional and personal development journey over the coming months.

The Mentees

  • Lachlan Aird, FABAL, SA
  • Kate Akmentins, Petrichor Wines, TAS
  • Brydie Allen, Food & Beverage Media, NSW
  • Andres Aragon, Jackson Family Wines, 
  • Andrew Butler, Handpicked Wines, NSW
  • Gabrielle Castelluccio, Accolade Wines, SA
  • Simon Cordery, ightfood Wines, SA
  • Simon Cotrell, Coles 
  • Carolyn Coventry, The Randall Wine Group, SA
  • Karly Craik, Lecondfield Wines, SA
  • Marcel D’Angelo, Brown Family Wine Group, VIC
  • Alessio Di Nanna, Project Wine, SA
  • Grace Eglit, Briar Ridge Vineyard, VIC
  • Sam Evans, Bickfords Group, SA
  • Emily Fitzgerald, Samuel Smith & Son, SA
  • Amanda Flynn, D’Angelo Estate Vineyards
  • Adriaan Foot, Ferngrove Wine Group
  • Dylan Fowles, McLaren Vitners, SA
  • Congling Fu, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, NSW
  • Nicholas Guglielmino, Mino & Co Wines, NSW
  • Kate Horstmann, SAWIA/XO Wine Co, SA
  • Andrew Jamieson, Andrew Jamieson Wine Merchants, NSW
  • Maggie Jarrett, NSW DPI, NSW
  • Phil Jones, Fine Wine Cellars, NSW
  • James Kilmartin, Jóval Wine Group, NSW
  • Jonathan Leeming, Taylors Wines, NSW
  • Madeleine Legoe, Accolade Wines, NSW
  • Michelle Li, Project Wine Pty Ltd, SA
  • Tim Lowe, Australian Vintage Ltd, VIC
  • Connor Mahon, Farmers Leap Wines, NSW
  • Rachel McBryde, Katnook Estate, SA
  • Mercedes Mendoza, Saltire Estate, NSW
  • Andrea Miranda, Winestock, NSW
  • Harriet Morre, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, NSW
  • Maya Nash, Wine Class Australia, NSW
  • Sara Newberry, Shottesbroke Vineyards, QLD
  • Alicia Noble, Eldorado Road Wines, SA
  • Adele Nowakowska, Accolade Wines, NSW


  • Rhys Parker, Vallee du Venom, WA
  • Elka Parsons, Elk Wines, SA
  • Andrew Potter, Castelli Estate, WA
  • Melissa Raymond, Garden & Field Wines, SA
  • Ellie Roberts, University of Adelaide/Alkina Wines, SA
  • Rochelle Schlank, University of Adelaide, SA
  • Candice Scott, Deep Planet, SA
  • Emanuel Skorpos, Southern Flinders Vineyards, SA
  • Karja Thiele, Jóval Wine Group, NSW
  • James Thomas, Heifer Station Wines, NSW
  • Ally Thomson, Santolin Wines, VIC
  • Pierre Toumanoff-Kostinsky, Stay n’Sip, NSW
  • Kate Tracey, Advanced Viticulture & Management, SA
  • Hugh Waterman, Jackson Family Wines, VIC
  • Jo Watkins, Watkins Family Wines, SA
  • John White, Coatsworth Farm, VIC
  • Benjamin Williams, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, SA

The Mentors

  • Caroline Bailey, Woodend Wine Store, VIC
  • Gary Baldwin, Wine Network Consulting, NSW
  • Pete Bissell, Broken Windmill Vineyard, SA
  • Nick Blair, Vision Wine Partners, NSW
  • Stuart Bourne, Soul Growers , SA
  • Paul Bowyer, Blue H2O Filtration, SA
  • Aaron Brasher, Kaddy, NSW
  • Mike Brown, Gemtree Wines, SA
  • Lucy Clements, Accolade Wines, SA
  • Sam Connew, Stargazer, TAS
  • Dan Coward, Alkina Wines, SA
  • Mike DeGaris, mdg Wine Consulting, NSW
  • Wayne Ellis, Duxton Vineyards, VIC
  • Michael Every, Vision Wine Partners, NSW
  • Adrian Fiocchini, Seguin Moreau, SA
  • Shirley Fraser, Wine Industry Supplier Australia, SA
  • Alex Gibbs, Smile Marketing, SA
  • Rob Glastonbury, DeBortoli Wines, NSW
  • Kate Goodman, Goodman Wines, SA
  • James Hall, Magnum Wine Solutions, VIC
  • Sue Henderson, Schild Estate Wines, SA
  • Paul Henry, Wine Hero, SA
  • Mal Higgs, Next Steps Consulting, NSW
  • Rob Hirst, Tucker Seabrook, NSW
  • Angus Hughson, Winepilot/The Vintage Journal, NSW
  • Luke Jolliffe, Stella Bella Wines, WA
  • Jim Kirkpatrick, Trellis Wine Consulting, SA
  • Catherine Kidman, Wynns Coonawarra Estate, SA
  • Geoff Krieger, Brokenwood Wines, NSW
  • Annette Lacey MW, Solotel, NSW
  • Peter Leske, Revenir Winemaking, SA
  • Ali Lockwood, Department Trade & Investment, SA
  • Amanda Longworth, Barossa Australia, SA
  • David Lowe, Lowe Wines, NSW
  • Andrew Margan, Margan Wines, NSW
  • Kym Milne MW, Global Wine Solutions, SA
  • Annabel Mugford, Barossa Australia, SA


  • Catherine Oates, Oates Ends Wines, WA
  • Daniel Parrott, Laithwaites Business, VIC
  • Sarah Pidgeon, Wynns Coonawarra Estate, SA
  • Georgia Rasmussen, Georgia Rasmussen Consulting, NSW
  • Iain Riggs, Riggs Winemaking, NSW
  • Samantha Scarratt, Accolade Wines, SA
  • Steven Scott, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, SA
  • Liz Schoen, Liz Schoen Consulting, SA
  • Robin Shaw, Wine Tourism Australia, SA
  • Katie Spain, Wine Writer, SA
  • Andrew Stark, Stark Advisory/ WCA, NSW
  • Jared Stringer, The Lane Vineyard, SA
  • Luke Tyler, Wirra Wirra, SA
  • Michael van der Sommen, Torbreck, SA
  • Shanteh Wale, Quay Restaurant, NSW
  • Matt Wenk, Smidge Wines, SA
  • Mal Williams, Young and Rashleigh Wine Merchants, NSW
  • Leigh Woodrow, Langmeil Wines, SA


Program Partners