Lawrie Stanford, Executive Director of WGGA, noted that Ben was very well qualified to represent the greater Victorian and Tasmanian winegrape growing community. "As a viticultural consultant for over 15 years, he has expertise in a number of areas from economics and business through to the technical dimensions of viticulture", Mr Stanford said.
Ben grew up in the wine industry and started Performance Viticulture almost 20 years ago. While he still has an active involvement with the family vineyard he also maintains clients throughout Victoria and internationally. Key clients include Barwite Vineyard, Merindoc Vintners and Shelmerdine Wines. Ben is also a rural property valuer.
Damien Sheehan, Chair of Wine Victoria, said that the organisation was delighted to find a candidate of such high calibre to be their representative on the national grape grower organisation. "With all of Ben's commitments, we are thrilled that he has been able to make the time for this important national role", Damien said.
Vic Patrick, the WGGA Chair, was upbeat about the appointment, "Ben will bring a new perspective and fresh ideas to the table". He said that Ben's appointment was positive news for the organisation, after the sad loss of Kym Ludvigsen, the previous greater Victoria / Tasmania representative, in a tragic farm accident late last year.
Ben's first Executive Committee meeting for WGGA will in Mildura, on Wednesday and Thursday the 27th and 28th of August, where topics for discussion will include arrangements for next steps in WGGA's biosecurity program, reforms underway to the Australian Wine Industry Code of Conduct between growers and wine companies, WGGA's program to make proven, safe and reliable agricultural chemicals available to winegrape growers and the on-going campaign to improve commercial practices between growers and wine companies that will yield better results for both winegrape growing businesses and the wine sector as a whole.
A PDF copy of this Media Release can be downloaded from the WGGA website.