Wine Victoria was formed in late 2011 as the successor to the Victorian Wine Industry Association.
As the peak body representing the Victorian wine industry our main aim is to advocate to the Victorian government, responding to the issues that impact our members.
Where appropriate the association also supports Australian Grape and Wine at a national level.
Our aim is to ensure that the industry can grow sustainably and that we have the right economic, community and policy frameworks in place to support that growth for our members. Each election cycle we develop a three-year strategic plan that is then updated annually and is informed by engagement with industry and government stakeholders at a state and federal level.
We operate under a constitution with a volunteer skills-based board elected by members at our Annual General Meeting and have robust governance structures in place for the design and delivery of all programs which include Project Control Boards; with Wine Victoria Board, Industry and specialist representation as required. Our staff includes a Chief Executive Officer; a Secretariat who is the primary point of contact for all industry enquiries; and a contracted General Manager, Projects.
Board Members & Executive Team
Wine Victoria is governed by a board of nine members and an Executive Team. The Board collectively brings together expertise in a range of areas including Viticulture, Communications, Research and Development, Wine Tourism and Estate Management.
Stephanie has over 20 years wine industry experience across strategic marketing, consumer and trade research,brand management, innovation, tourism and stakeholder engagement. Starting her career in the wine industry in New York, she has had roles working across the US, Canada, UK, China and Australia. Stephanie established the Australian and New Zealand operations for global wine insights agency Wine Intelligence and has held roles with Kobrand Corporation NY, Decanter UK, Rathbone Wine Group and Yabby Lake. She is also the Founder and Managing Director of consumer insights and strategy consultancy, Food and Wine Insights. A National board member of the Wine Communicators of Australia since 2018, Stephanie has been a regular guest speaker and keynote presenter on consumer insights and industry trends, a columnist on trends for Gourmet Traveller Wine and a judge of the Wine Communicators of Australia awards.Growing up on her family farm and vineyard, Stephanie has always been passionate about the representation of regional Victoria and the promotion and long-term health of our industry.
Dan BuckleDeputy Chair
Dan began his career in wine working in vineyards on the Mornington Peninsula over 35 years ago, gradually migrating into winemaking (via hospitality) in 1995.
Dan is a graduate of Charles Sturt University and has over 30 vintages of experience in several Victorian wine regions. He also has an MBA from RMIT University with a focus on business strategy, innovation and marketing. Dan has been a wine show judge for over 18 years, holding chair positions at several regional shows across Victoria, as well as panel chair positions at the Melbourne Wine Awards.
Today, Dan is Winemaking Director at Chandon Australia, where he oversees all aspects of wine production, style and elaboration of traditional method sparkling wine.
Kim ChalmersBoard Member
Kim Chalmers began her career in music composition and teaching at the Elder Conservatorium but returned to her viticulture roots in 2005. Kim manages the wine operations at Chalmers, making wines from heat and drought tolerant southern-Italian grape varieties. In 2006, Kim trained with Al Gore as a Climate Project presenter and continues to be involved in working to educate and prepare Australian winegrowers for climate change through alternative varieties and sustainable practices. In 2012 Kim travelled to Southern Italy on an Agrifood Skills International fellowship researching indigenous grape varieties and viticultural techniques and their potential application in Australia.
Kim was Chair of the Victorian Government’s Wine Ministerial Advisory Committee from 2016-2019 and is Brand & Project Manager of the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show. Kim often presents at viticultural and wine conferences some recent presentations were at the 2016 Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference in Adelaide, 2016 London Restaurant Festival in the UK and 2015 Enologica Montefalco in Umbria Italy. Kim has been integral in re-establishing her family’s nursery business, personally selecting a suite of new varieties to import and establish in Australia.
Natalie O’BrienChief Executive Officer
Natalie O’Brien AM was appointed to the role of CEO at Wine Victoria in April 2022. A business and experience strategist, Natalie spent 15 years at Melbourne Food and Wine Festival where she elevated MFWF to become Australia’s premier food and wine event and oversaw the incorporation of the organisation and its extended remit to become Food and Wine Victoria. Since her time at Food and Wine Victoria, Natalie has consulted across the food, wine and tourism sectors for Development Victoria, Ballarat Tourism, Global Table, Department of Economic Development and Jobs and the Western Australian Government. Natalie was awarded an Order of Australia for her contribution to wine, tourism and community in 2019 and is highly regarded across government and the food and wine industries. As Managing Director of Natalie O’Brien & CO, Natalie is the primary facilitator for overarching strategies and uniting innovative and creative minds, from emerging talent and industry veterans to renowned thought leaders. Natalie takes great pride in developing high performing teams and has mentored many emerging leaders in the sector. She sits on several boards, advisory committees and actively supports younger entrants to the sector. Natalie believes that her passion for people ‘is in the genes’ owing to four generations of hoteliers. Her grandmother, a long-standing publican in her hometown Geelong, was an inspiring role model who knew all her customers by name making their experience both delightful and closely personal.
Matt FowlesBoard Member
Matt Fowles, a former lawyer who swapped the vitriol for the vineyard, is an avid food and wine man. While his chief responsibility is the business of wine, he spends much of his time feeding his connection to the Strathbogie Ranges. Whether that is time in the vineyard, playing with wine or hunting for his table – he truly understands the land. Matt is also the man behind the innovative Ladies who Shoot their Lunch wine – the world’s first wine to be blended to complement wild game meat. In 2007, Matt was selected as part of the ‘Future Leaders’ program aimed at fostering the next generation of wine industry leaders.
Richard HowdenGeneral Manager, Projects
As the General Manager of Programs, Richard oversees the development and delivery of Wine Victoria projects and programs. He ensures the projects deliver benefits and value to industry and are delivered on time and on budget. Richard has over 20 years’ experience in the wine industry working in roles including domestic sales, marketing, and export in a number of regions throughout Victoria. He has strong Board level experience both as a Board member and Chairperson including Regional Tourism Boards focusing on driving wine tourism to regional Victoria. Prior to joining Wine Victoria he was the CEO of Wine Yarra Valley and consulted to a number of regional wine associations. Along with his wealth of industry experience Richard has a Bachelor of Business and a Masters of Business Administration.
Megan de JongBoard Secretariat, Industry Engagement & Communications
Megan brings a high level of organisation, energy and personability to the coal face of Wine Victoria. She holds a BA from the University of Western Australia and a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management from the Victorian College of the Arts. Spending most of her working life in the marketing and communication departments of Arts industry organisations such as Melbourne Theatre Company, Toronto Film Festival, Mollison Communications and Malthouse Theatre, she has also worked in PR agencies on many and varied projects; and as a freelance consultant, project managed and edited the official programs for many large-scale musicals. As an Account Manager for ACMN, she worked on the initial production of Jersey Boys which opened in Melbourne. Only recently joining the wine sector, she has a keen eye for detail, a passion for spreadsheets and a discerning palate.
Melissa O’NeillBoard Member
Melissa is a Corporate Affairs professional with more than 20 years experience across media, communications, government and industry relations, issues and crisis management, as well as strategy. Melissa has experience spanning the corporate and government sectors from resources and utilities through to retail and financial services. As Global Director Corporate Affairs for Treasury Wines Estates she leads a talented team with responsibility across a range of functions including internal and external communications, government and industry relations, as well as sustainability. With TWE headquartered in Melbourne, she is committed to the continued growth of the Victorian wine sector. Melissa is also a Board member of Australian Grape & Wine.
Nikki PalunBoard Chair
Nikki Palun completed a degree in Mandarin Chinese and Commerce and has worked for De Bortoli Wines and Vinomofo as their Head of Global Exports, where she developed a deep passion for wine and the promotion of wine culture. She now runs her own wine company Octtava Wines to follow her desire to make wines with their own unique personal style.
Hayley Purbrick is a proud fifth generation family member of one of the oldest wine-making families and carbon neutral wineries in Australia. With a background in DTC Marketing and Agriculture she is turning the historic Tahbilk vineyard into one of the most environmentally friendly in the country.
Outside of the winery Hayley lives in Deniliquin and is an advocate for growing strong agricultural industries and thriving rural communities. In 2015 she founded social enterprise Big Sky Ideas to champion entrepreneurial spirit in rural Australia.
In 2017 she was a Finalist of both the Regional Australia Institute Light Bulb Moments Competition and NSW/ACT Agrifutures Rural Woman of the Year. In 2019 she graduated from the Wine Australia Future Leaders Program. Hayley is a current member of the Australian Grape & Wine Sustainability Advisory Committee.
Dan SimsBoard Member
Dan has been selling, making, and promoting wine for more than two decades. He has worked as a sommelier in some of Melbourne’s best restaurants, consulted about wine, retailed wine, and ran wine training courses, as well as writing extensively about wine. He has made wine (in Argentina), judged wine, represented sommeliers at international conferences, and regularly marketed and promoted wine at events such as Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, Good Food and Wine Show and more.Dan currently sits on the drinks committee of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival and operates his own business, REVEL, which has run highly successful wine events across Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, including Pinot Palooza and MOULD Cheese Festival (primarily) as well as many others. For eight years Dan sat on the national executive of Sommeliers Australia. As Director of REVEL, I have built relationships with over 400+ wineries from across Victoria Australia and New Zealand.
Ashley is the former Deputy General Counsel of Treasury Wine Estates and currently Senior Executive – Governance & Legal at Medibank Private. He has over 25 years’ experience in senior legal and governance roles in large local and global companies including as General Counsel, Company Secretary and Director. Ashley is a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia and a member of the Corporations Committee of the Law Council of Australia.
Become a Member
Providing a strong, united voice for the sector and representing our industry on these issues is vital for the long-term sustainability of all. Although we act for all wine and grape businesses, we are not currently financially supported equitably across the state. Wine Victoria is committed to broadening our membership base and increasing participation from all regions, as well as encouraging direct membership and Associate membership. If you wish to become a member of Wine Victoria or for more information please contact the Secretariat.Enquire Now
Become a Supporter
Supporters are an important part of Wine Victoria. They produce goods and services which are of value to our members and they have a desire to see the industry prosper. This program recognises those businesses who support the wine industry and seeks to create a mutually beneficial relationship which we hope will be strong and enduring. If you would like to be a supporter, please complete the application form which can be accessed via the link below. All applications will be reviewed and approved by the relevant Wine Victoria committee.
These benefits are designed to highlight your business as being a strong supporter of the Victorian wine industry and to keep you up to date with what is happening.
|Benefits||Supporters $1000 (+GST)|
|Receive Wine Victoria e-newsletter and member communications to keep up to date with wine industry activity||✓|
|Invitation to Wine Victoria AGM||✓|
|Invitation to all appropriate Wine Victoria Events||✓|
|Company logo and description on Wine Victoria website||✓|
If you have any questions about becoming a Supporter of Wine Victoria please contact us.