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New Leadership for Grape & Wine Industry

For immediate release
13 October 2004

New Leadership for Grape & Wine Industry

New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1,200 grape growers and winemakers, announced today the election of Mr Brian Vieceli as Chair and Mr John Webber as Deputy-Chair.

Mr Vieceli is Chief Executive Officer of Nobilo Wine Group Ltd and lives in Christchurch; he succeeds Mr Peter Hubscher, the inaugural Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers who stepped down from the role in August. Mr Vieceli has worked in the drinks industry in New Zealand for 42 years, and joined the Wine Institute as a board member in 2001. He has been on the Board of New Zealand Winegrowers since its formation in February 2002.

Mr Webber, an Auckland-based grapegrower with vineyards in Marlborough, continues in the role of Deputy-Chair to which he was first appointed in November 2003. Mr Webber has grown grapes in Marlborough for the past 17 years, prior to which he was a supplier of packaging material to the wine industry.

Commenting on his appointment as Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers Mr Vieceli said “Being elected to the Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers by my industry peers and colleagues is one of the highlights of my career, particularly given the grape and wine industry is at such an exciting phase in its development. It is also an honour to succeed Peter Hubscher who worked tirelessly over many years on behalf of the industry.”

Mr Vieceli said that in going forward the issues for the Winegrower’s Board were clear. “We must provide good governance and direction for our executive team led by Chief Executive Officer Philip Gregan. We need also to build on the opportunity provided by Vintage 2004 by enhancing the New Zealand proposition in the international marketplace. In turn I believe we will achieve that best by building on the core philosophy that founded New Zealand Winegrowers: all the diverse elements of the industry - grapegrowers and winemakers, large and small companies, all regions, Northland to Otago - united for and working on behalf of the whole industry.”

Mr Vieceli said the work programme for New Zealand Winegrowers would develop in the year ahead, but he would be urging further progress on matters such as enhanced promotional activity for the industry, the end to the discriminatory tax regime recently introduced in Australia, and implementation of the Wine Act into the industry.

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