Barossa’s ‘Next Crop’ ready for January graduation

Barossa’s Next Crop leadership program will celebrate its second graduation next month (January 2014), having successfully mentored another 22 of the region’s grapegrowers through a range of business, communication and management skills.

The graduation is scheduled for January 22 at The Farm function centre and will take the Barossa Next Crop alumni to 43 since the program was first launched in 2011.

Barossa Grape & Wine Viticultural Development Officer, Nicki Robins, said the nine-month course was designed to better equip the region’s grapegrowers with the skills and confidence to take on leadership roles in their family and other businesses, and in the wider Barossa community.

The participants will use the graduation to present the projects they have all been working on – which reflect the group’s mission: ‘Through leadership over the next five years, develop and grow strong industry networks within the region, building upon our Barossa heritage of fine wines using sustainable practices’.

Those projects include:

  • planning an international study tour for Barossa growers – to see what vignerons are doing in other countries in regards to best practice and innovation/new technology
  • a project to organise ‘podcasting’ of significant Barossa events, such as best practice seminars, so they can be accessed on www.barossa.com
  • a group set up to benchmark soil health , followed by the development of action plans to improve the health, consistency and ultimately sustainability of Barossa vineyards
  • an analysis of the grower/winery relationship
  • an analysis of independent benchmarks for determining grape quality.

‘The 2013 program has been very successful’, Ms Robins said.

‘I can’t speak highly enough of our facilitator Jill Briggs, from Rural Training Initiatives.  She is a passionate, knowledgeable – and entertaining – rural leadership trainer, and although the participants are highly challenged and ‘out of their comfort zones’ during each session, their feedback to us is that they highly value the program’.

While there remains strong interest for another new Next Crop program, Ms Robins said plans for the next year will see a stronger focus on the existing 43 alumni.

‘We want to develop ways to extend the learning of leadership and new skills of our current graduates’, she said.

The Barossa Next Crop program is partly funded under the GWRDC Regional Program.

A similar Next Crop program was also held, for the first time, in the Riverina region last year, with participants graduating in September.

Next Crop Team
Next Crop Team