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:

Growing up in the Barossa Valley, Ben was involved with vineyard development and operation of 5Ha of vineyard at his family property.

His passion for grape growing led him to completing a viticulture degree at the University of Adelaide.

Following study, he worked at Henschke Wines vineyard for 12 months under the guidance of Prue Henschke. In 2007 Ben gained employment at Taylors Wines where he is responsible for managing vine health and fruit quality as the Technical Viticulturalist at Taylors Wines Estate 400 Ha vineyard.

I was appointed Regional Vineyard Manager for FABAL Vineyards in November 2019 as part of an expanded role within the business. I now oversee the management of 240ha of premium vineyards for the Knappstein, Petaluma and FABAL brands in the stunning Clare Valley.

My destiny really began way back in the early 1920’s when two of my great grandfathers began planting vineyards in the Riverland on soldier settlement blocks. My personal journey into the wine industry begun at a very early age where I both lived and worked on the family vineyard my grandfather planted. As a 4th generation wine grape grower this passion for the land and growing grapes in my family has now spanned nearly 100 years.

After graduating from Adelaide University with a degree in Economics and Agribusiness, I spent the next few years moving around the country gaining knowledge in various wine growing regions including the Riverland, Margaret River and Langhorne Creek, before finally settling down in the Clare Valley.

After taking the role of Vineyard Manager for Leasingham Wines in 2007 I continued to develop my knowledge of the region and hone my skills as a viticulturalist. 15 years later, my wife Alice and I are happy to call Clare home and together with our two young girls look forward to many more years in the region.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, working on my property, riding motorbikes and tending to my livestock……but mainly riding motorbikes!

Having lived and worked in the Adelaide Hills for most of my life, my family and I made a ‘tree change’ in 2015 to move to the beautiful Clare Valley, where I commenced working as the Production Accounting Manager with Taylors Wines at Auburn. I have spent a majority of my career working in the wine industry, manufacturing and other Agri Businesses in Finance and Management roles. I have a passion for the wine industry, but importantly the connection with the land and the importance of sustainable practices. I have also spent time on a number of community related committees, in recent years on the St Joseph’s School Clare Governing Council and I am the current Treasurer of the Clare High School Governing Council. Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family, sports (AFL, Cricket, Tennis, Cycling), gardening and have a passion for fishing.

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:

I’m a grape grower on the family farm in Watervale. My wife and I have recently taken over managing 37 Ha of vines from my parents Kym and Rose. I believe in sustainable approaches to vineyard management, adopting practices that will build resilience for the climate challenges ahead. The Next Crop program has been a great opportunity to learn leadership skills and meet others in the Clare Valley community with similar interests in wine, food and viticulture.

Born and raised in the Clare Valley I've been working in wine since 2002 when I was first employed as right hand man to local favourite and visionary Robert Crabtree. It's safe to say that I love this region and am committed to supporting our wine community. After fourteen years of managing the day to day vineyard and winery operations of Crabtree Wines in Watervale, working with both Robert and consultant winemaker Kerri Thompson, I moved with my family in 2016 to manage Heathcote Winery in Victoria. It was here that I gained significant winemaking and viticultural experience managing 35 ha of vineyard as well as a 5000 case winery production and bistro/cellardoor facility.

But the call back to home was too strong and in 2020 returned to the Clare Valley to take a position as Production/Vineyard Manager for Wines by KT based out at Skillogalee Estate. The role now involves working with local growers in addition to managing Skillogalee Estate’s 50ha property and production.

Since graduating at Adelaide university in 2015 a passion for Riesling saw Andrew move to the Riesling Country of Clare Valley. He has become senior winemaker at Pikes Wines while intermittently travelling back and forth to the Pfalz region of Germany. This is where Andrew learnt the importance of single vineyard Rieslings completing harvests up until 2019 with Weingut Gabel.

Kenny wine is the passion project of Andrew and partner Victoria. The pair have been working with growers to secure small parcels of select fruit as well as focusing their spare time re-working & rejuvenating their own parcel of vineyard in the Auburn Sub-region of Clare.

Andrew was awarded the dux of Advanced wine assessment course in 2021 and the encouragement award for young Australian Riesling winemakers at the 2022 Canberra international Riesling challenge

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:

From experienced cellar-hand to production and logistics, to winemaking and currently winery management. My journey to leading teams, to deliver quality product from vintage to vintage. A challenging process, but an enjoyable one.

2006 was my first vintage and now planning for my 18th with Kirrihill Wines. In this time, I have been able to experience a multitude of aspects of the wine industry. An understanding of the process from fruit to the consumer’s hand.

Clare Valley local born and bred. Started with no experience in the wine industry in 2005 as a vintage cellar hand at Leasingham Wines. Took up a cellar hand job at Kilikanoon wines in 2006, where I studied Cert 3 in Cellar operations from 2007-2009. Was accepted into Charles Sturt University in 2010 to study a Bachelor of Wine Science which was completed in 2016, which lead to me becoming Assistant Winemaker at Kilikanoon. Worked a vintage in 2018 at Chateau Montelena in the Napa Valley. Started at Paulett Wines in 2018 where I am currently the Winemaker. Completed the AWRI Advanced Wine assessment course in 2021. Also a current member of the Clare Valley Wine Show committee.

Growing up in Adelaide, Denika completed a Diploma in Hospitality and then began working in the industry with roles at Sferas Park Suites & Convention Centre. Following this, she moved to Kangaroo Island in 2016 to work at the Southern Ocean Lodge, including roles as Senior Restaurant Supervisor & Lodge Supervisor. After leaving Kangaroo Island, Denika joined the team at Penfolds Magill Estate in 2018.

Having enjoyed the rural setting of Kangaroo Island, Denika found herself looking for work in regional South Australia. Drawn to the Clare Valley’s history, amazing wines and authenticity, Denika applied for and began her role as Restaurant & Functions Manager at Slate Restaurant in October 2020.

Having grown up in the Clare Valley and around vines , Vineyards have always been a big part of my life and great interest in the industry with my Grandfather having a vineyard in Penwortham and my father managing vineyards, so it was a given I would end up in a vineyard following in their footsteps I now have been at pikes wines for 23 years and have worked my way up from vineyard operator to now vineyard manager.

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:

Raised in the Barossa Valley, Thomas had very little to do with the wine industry until 2012, when he completed his first vintage as a cellar hand. He fell in love with winemaking and decided to attend university the next year. During his studies he worked in a cellar door to improve his wine communication skills and at Dan Murphy’s as a sales assistant.

In 2015 Thomas was awarded the inaugural Elderton Winemaking Excellence Scholarship which allowed him to complete a vintage at Elderton Wines in 2016.

In late 2016 Thomas applied for an assistant winemaker position at Taylors Wines and has since been promoted to winemaker in 2018. He loves working with emerging varietals and presently finds himself focusing on Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

I was born in Temora, NSW, a small cropping community in the heart of the Riverina. Schooled locally, I had family involved in a range of local community groups, organisations and NFP’s. Significantly, I was fortunate to have my mothers family and older brother involved in the equestrian community, and from a young age engaged in a range of disciplines. From the age of four, I began competing at local Agricultural shows and in the following years was given the opportunity to travel the country engaging in a range of State, National and International competitions. Having retired from the sport around two years ago, I now keep involved in the sporting community by becoming a nationally accredited judge, sitting on committees and boards for the local agricultural shows, the Show Horse Council of Australasia and Equestrian Australia.

After finishing schooling, I was awarded a Teach.Rural NSW Scholarship and began a K-12 Education degree at University of Wagga Wagga. Working full-time in restaurant management whilst studying, and enjoying working in the industry, I took on a contract operations management role, learning more about leadership and business management. Finding through this work that I had a passion for wine, I undertook a WSET Level 2 course to begin learning more about the broader wine industry. After engaging in this course I made the decision to move to ACT and took on my first position in wine as a Cellar Door and Events Manager. With the DTC market downturn in face to face sales during Covid, I moved to SA with my Border Collie, Frankie, to pursue a role at the Kilikanoon Cellar Door, moving into the managers role soon after.

Having purchased a house in the Clare township, I have involved myself in the local community, joining a range of organisations and committees and continuing to explore learning opportunities in both wine and business leadership. In August of this year, I was offered an opportunity to pursue personal and professional growth through diversifying into other sales and marketing roles, taking on the DTC Manager at Sevenhill Cellars.

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

I’m originally from the Champagne region in France where I studied viticulture and winemaking. Over the years I have worked at wineries in Champagne, Napa Valley, Provence and more recently Clare Valley totalling 10 vintages. I joined the Kirrihill team in 2018 as a vintage laboratory technician. Opportunities lead to me jump onto an Assistant Winemaker role to then Winemaker in 2021. I now call Clare home as this is where I met my husband, and we have a son named Oliver who is just over a year old.

I am actively involved in the wine community by being a member of the Clare Valley Wine Show Committee and a participant of the 2022 Next Crop Leadership Program. I am currently training to be a wine judge. I am a graduate of Advanced Wine Assessment Course which is an intensive four-day course. It aims to prepare potential new wine show judges and develop the sensory analysis capabilities and the vocabulary of Australian wine industry personnel at an elite level. This led me to be an Associate Judge at the 2022 Barossa Wine Show, 2022 Royal Adelaide Wine Show and the 2022 Endeavour Group Clare Valley Wine Show.

Hi my name is Luke Broadbent, I originally grew up in Hallett Cove, South Australia before undertaking the Viticulture and Oenology course at Adelaide Uni from 2011-2014. After completing the course, I had my first vintage at OLeary Walker Wines where I completed 9 vintages from 2014-2022 and with that moving away from the sea up to the country. Since finishing up at Oleary Walker Wines I have taken a winemaking role at the Usual Suspects Collective producing Clare Valley brands Vickery and Miss Zilm under Keeda Zilm and Andrew Hardy. A new challenge which I am excited to undertake whilst still being involved within the Clare Valley.

More than 20 years ago, Belinda said goodbye to her travel agent career in Adelaide and moved to the Clare Valley for love. Once she arrived, she discovered a passion for the wine industry that has guided her career for the past two decades.

Belinda was drawn to the family values at Pauletts and she joined the team in 2020.

She admits that the quality of Pauletts wine and the shared family values across the team makes it easy for her to do her job. This is a product she loves and believes in.

It’s also easy to be part of a team that is much like a family. From the moment she stepped into Pauletts, she was warmly welcomed with open arms.

Belinda’s passion for good wine isn’t the only thing that she loves about the wine industry. “It’s the excitement of being part of an industry that is constantly evolving to new and greater heights. I love building relationships with customers and distributors. And Pauletts wine is an amazing product to sell.”

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:

I work for Fabal Vineyards as site supervisor on the Knappstein and Petaluma Vineyards.

In 1993 my parents sold the family farm and purchased a property in the Spring Gully, 7km out of Clare. They spent a year renovating an old cottage to be Cellar Door and planted the first Sangiovese in the Clare Valley. In Oct 1994, Eldredge Vineyards officially opened.

My first job was as a Dishy in the Kitchen, and now 20 odd years later, I manage the Cellar Door, our events, functions, and oversee logistics. I work together with my father Leigh, winemaker, and we hope to keep our family business running for generations to come.

The Next Crop Leadership program has been a fantastic course to be a part of and helped to invigorate the passion for the Clare Valley, as well as fill in part of the backend of business I didn’t know enough about. Meeting monthly with fellow industry peers has also been a huge benefit, as I have learnt from each of them another aspect of the wine industry.

Thankyou for allowing me to take part in this program.

Olivia Barry began working at the winery in 2009 in a part time cellar door role whilst completing her communications and media management degree at the University of South Australia. Olivia completed her first vintage at Jim Barry Wines in 2013, before taking a gap year in London.

Olivia began working at the winery in 2009 after completing high school and continued in a part time cellar door role throughout her university studies. Olivia completed her first vintage at Jim Barry Wines in 2013, before taking a gap year in London where she worked as a sales consultant for a construction company.

After completing a degree in Communications and Media Management at the University of South Australia in 2015, Olivia returned to Clare for a short time before moving to London in January 2016 to work for Negociants UK as an ambassador for Jim Barry.

In 2018 Olivia took a step back from the family business and moved to Melbourne to progress sales skills outside of the family business.

In 2020 Olivia moved back to the Clare Valley due to covid and has been working in the Cellar Door as our resident storyteller. She plans on travelling around Australia and one day the world sharing her passion for the history of Jim Barry Wines and the wines.

Annika Parish

Terroir Auburn

Restaurant & Accommodation

Owner/ Restaurant Manager