A new Board has been appointed to guide operations at Vinehealth Australia, the statutory body charged with safeguarding South Australian vines from pests and diseases, including phylloxera.

Dr Prue McMichael is continuing on the Board and is joined by new Directors Dr Jo Luck, Dr Sally Troy, Mr Alex Sas, Mr Alec Gilbert and Mr Richard Barrett. The Board also includes Dr Ross Meffin from Biosecurity SA.

A Board Nominations Committee oversaw the selection process. This committee was made up of representatives from the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA), Wine Grape Council of South Australia (WGCSA), Australian Grape & Wine Inc (AGW), the outgoing Chair of Vinehealth Australia and an Independent Nominations Committee Chair.

The committee called for applications, interviewed candidates and recommended selected candidates to the Minister based on the skills and experience necessary for Vinehealth Australia to deliver its Strategic Plan and respond to the increasingly intense biosecurity environment

“A strong field of candidates was received from across Australia and I believe this new seven-member board has the right mix of skills and experience to further strengthen South Australia’s leadership in wine and grape biosecurity into the future,” said Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone.

Vinehealth Australia CEO Inca Lee said her team is looking forward to working with the new Board to deliver results for industry. “And we’ll continue to work in partnership with vineyard owners, wine companies and all members of the grape and wine supply chain, to ensure South Australia is in the best position to successfully navigate the biosecurity landscape,” Inca said.

The Board has nominated Prue McMichael as Presiding Member (Chair).

The Board Members are:

Dr Prue McMichael B AgSC, MSc, PhD, MAICD
Dr McMichael is an ongoing highly respected and valued Board Member of Vinehealth Australia who was eligible for appointment for a further three-year term. She currently holds advisory and directorships in plant biosecurity, policy, and industry development. Dr McMichael has 30 years’ experience in plant health, horticulture and viticulture in Australia and California.

Dr Jo Luck B. Sc (Honours), PhD, GAICD
Dr Luck is currently the Program Director for the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative and is a highly respected researcher, research program director, mentor to PhD students and strategic thinker driving investment and collaboration in biosecurity research. Dr Luck has been instrumental in the management of biosecurity research programs, including for the horticulture and viticulture (wine, table and dried grapes) industries.

Dr Sally Troy B. Sc (Honours), PhD, M EnvLaw, MAICD
Dr Troy has 30 years’ experience in natural resource-related fields (plant health, fisheries, environment, ocean and agriculture) in the Victorian and Australian Government. She has strong technical skills, extensive biosecurity knowledge, policy development, research and is well connected at senior levels across Government. Dr Troy brings experience in strategy and policy development, risk-based regulation, stakeholder management and governance, and formerly held the position of Assistant Secretary at the Department of Agriculture. Her strong educational background in science, law and policy will be a valuable asset to the Board of Vinehealth.

Mr Alex Sas BSc (Agriculture) (Honours)
Mr Sas has more than 25 years’ experience in the Australian and New Zealand wine sectors. He is currently Senior R&D Program Manager for Wine Australia and also oversees management of a vineyard in McLaren Vale. His previous experience includes Chief Viticulturist at Constellation/Accolade Wines, and Viticulturist with BRL Hardy and The Australian Wine Research Institute/CSIRO. He is an experienced Director having served on the Board of the Willunga Basin Water Company Pty Ltd and, until recently, was a member of the Executive Committee of the South Australian Wine Industry Association. Mr Sas is a strategic thinker, skilled communicator and has strong commercial acumen as well as excellent stakeholder and sector connections.

Mr Alec Gilbert M Sc, Dip Marketing Management
Mr Gilbert is currently Chair of the National Wine Centre and a Consultant. He has a background in International Convention Centres having been CEO of Durban Convention Centre and CEO of the award-winning Adelaide Convention Centre. Mr Gilbert is leading initiatives to develop better collaboration across the wine industry and to leverage opportunities for visitor and industry education. He is commercial, has extensive experience working with boards and government and brings strong focus on innovation and technology.

Mr Richard Barrett MAICD
Mr Barrett is Chair of MedTEC South Australia and CEO of MedTEC Pharma Pty Ltd, advancing Australia’s Medicinal Cannabis and Industrial Hemp industries. He was previously Global Vice President – Wine and Spirits for Scholle Corporation, one of the world’s leading packaging firms, leading the development of significant new global wine packing markets including in the USA, Russia, Asia and Europe.