What is the Next Crop Program?

The Clare Valley is comprised of predominately family-owned wine, grape and food businesses and we are charged with the task of encouraging the younger generation and emerging talent to take on leadership roles.

That's where the Next Crop program came in. Targeted specifically at emerging talent involved in grape, wine and food production in the Clare Valley, the Next Crop program has mentored individuals aged 19-49 years, and provided them with a series of workshops on critical topics in the following core areas:

  • Leadership and teams
  • Understanding the industry, its value chain and where we all fit
  • Negotiation frameworks and skills
  • Financial and business management
  • Succession planning
  • Marketing, brand development and understanding the consumer
  • Impactful communication and developing an online presence
  • Governance and strategy and connecting with local government
  • Focussing on a sustainable future, triple bottom line
  • Wine industry day at the National Wine Centre
  • Capability building and mentoring

The course was delivered over a nine-month timeframe, allowing for individuals to implement concepts throughout the duration of the course. The course has ended with a Graduation Ceremony held in early December 2022 at Terroir Auburn.

Thank you to:

Supporting Organisations

  • Wine Australia, funding partner
  • Wine Economics Research Centre
  • Australian Grape and Wine
  • Wine Grape Council of SA
  • SA Wine Industry Association
  • Regional Development Australia Yorke and Mid North
  • Northern and Yorke Landscape Board
  • Clare and Gilbert Valleys Council

Venues (in-kind):

  • The Curly Goose
  • Eldredge Wines
  • Pikes Wines
  • The Rising Sun Hotel
  • Clare & Gilbert Valleys Council
  • Terroir Auburn
  • National Wine Centre

The program wouldn't have been possible without the support from:

  • Lynn Wallace, Program Coordinator
  • Jeanette Long, Program Facilitator
  • CVWGA Board
  • Anna Baum, Executive Officer.

Our Aim

  • to support participants to become leaders in their own careers and businesses,
  • to provide them with the skills to grow as a person and as a leader and;
  • to encourage leadership within the wine, grape and food industries

Fast Facts

  • 21 participants from 13 regional organisations/businesses
  • 9 months long
  • 9 workshops
  • 27 guest speakers
  • Day trips to McLaren Vale and National Wine Centre

Pictured L-R: Matt Schultz, Brendan Pudney, Ben Castine, Sarah Lavelle, Andrew Kenny, Olivia Barry, Thomas Darmody, Alexandra Wardlaw, Belinda Pink, James Arnold, Annika Parish, Ben Mitchell, Hayley Day, Jon Young

Project: Sustainable Wine Growing Australia (SWA) Adoption & Engagement in the Clare Valley Wine Region

The project is supporting and aligned to the Clare Valley Winemakers and Grape Growers Association Strategic initiative of increasing the adoption rates of Sustainable Wine Growing Australia (SWA) in the Clare Valley Wine Region. The Clare Valley’s current adoption rates of the SWA program are well behind other competing regions such as McLaren Vale and the Barossa. The key challenges are to promote the program and engage independent growers, managed vineyards/assets, winery owned vineyards and wineries to substantially increase the number of both SWA members and certified members from the Clare Valley region. The project focusses on a program to: promote the SWA program and its benefits, engage and ‘call to action’ individuals and the different business types, and support them through the process; starting with initial sign up to the membership program through to full certification.

Project Participants:

Project: Reducing the incidence of spray drift through education.

Spray drift continues to be a significant issue in the Clare Valley. In Summer 2021, extensive areas of vineyard were damaged by chemical trespass.

This project aims to reduce the incidence of spray drift through education of both the grape growing and broadacre community.

Our goal is to conduct annual one day sprayer calibration workshops inviting experts to educate community members on the current setup and calibration of broadacre and vineyard sprayers.

Outcomes include reduced incidence of chemical trespass events, together with increased collaboration between broadacre and grape growing members.

Project Participants:

Project: Careers in the Wine and Tourism Industries

The aim of this project is to give students and young people an understanding of the varied career paths within the Wine and Tourism industry. A three staged system that will be utilised over their schooling life.

  • Stage 1. Introduction - Overview of the different careers that are established in these industries.
  • Stage 2. Immersion - Site visitation and in depth understanding and exposure to the different careers.
  • Stage 3. School based training - Work experience and school base training. This can lead to certification and or job opportunities.

Project Participants:

Project: Building Scholarships to encourage skilled industry professionals to work in the Clare Valley

Project overview:

Develop Scholarships through South Australian universities that will enable 4th Year internships to be completed in the Clare Valley. Struggling to retain skilled personnel in the region, these Scholarships are aimed at bringing and retaining wine industry professionals.


Produce two Scholarships (one wine marketing, one winemaking) that aim to alleviate living and associated expenses during the compulsory 4th Year Internship/ placement. Provide successful applicants with connections to a range of businesses that will potentially enable future employment and longer - term association within the region.

Core Challenges:

  • Funding
  • Matching mentors and successful applicants
  • Retaining successful applicants long-term.

Advantages for applicants and the region:

  • Financial incentive of $5000 plus assistance in gaining accommodation
  • Easy application – advertised through educational institution and wine industry forums
  • Opportunity for future employment
  • Incentivised with relevant networking and exposure opportunities
  • Professionally mentored by industry professionals
  • ‘Buddy’ system to engage scholars in multiple aspects of the broader Clare Valley Community
  • Local businesses are provided with relevant opportunities to work with skilled trainees, with minimal time requirements
  • Final project to benefit the broader wine industry, Clare Valley and/or participating local businesses – eg. Marketing/ Event co-ordination for Gourmet Week
  • Proven ROI to the local community
  • Retention of skilled professionals to the region in hard to fill positions.

Project Participants:

Project: A taste of Clare Valley in Champagne

The goal of this project is to promote Clare Valley to the international stage and elevate the regions reputation for its premium wines. The goal is to raise global awareness and recognition for the uniqueness of our products. We'd want to start with a swap between Clare Valley and Champagne, making use of Alexandra's contacts in this region. The idea is to incorporate a Clare Valley wine masterclass into a Champagne event. For starters, we'd like to involve one or two producers and, in turn, organise a Champagne masterclass with a producer in the Clare Valley.

This is a long-term project that can evolve as Clare producers or members offer their insights or input.

The incentive is to increase international awareness of our wine region and educate customers about Clare Valley wines, emphasising their inimitable and unique qualities. We hope that Clare Valley producers will be interested in this project. Feel free to reach out to us and share your thoughts.

Project Participants

Project: Beautifying the Clare Valley

Our project is about encompassing the Clare Valley aim to ‘Breathe it in’ and create an experience of visiting the Clare Valley from the moment you enter it right through till you leave. We want guests to instinctively ‘know’ they have entered this beautiful region.

There are three parts to this project including:

  • Removal of overgrown non native plants lining the roadsides and blocking the view of the vineyards as you drive through
  • Burying overhead power lines to open up the skies and feel the country vibe and the open vistas
  • Streetscaping from Auburn to Clare that flows through and includes standardized signage to make visitors feel welcome and able to trust the roads they wander onto.

We want the Clare Valley to be inviting, modern, and live the ‘Breathe it in’ slogan.

Project Participants: