New Board member Iain Jones offers valuable quality, compliance and technical experience to the Vinehealth Australia team.
Originally from New South Wales, Iain aimed to become a sports scientist after university, but won a role as a microbiologist for what was then Rosemount Estate Wines in the Upper Hunter.
“I fell into the wine industry by chance, and I thought I’d give it six months, but I loved it. That was 24 years ago!” Iain said.
“I started working with some great people who captivated my interest in wine. We were doing work in the wine science space at an amazing pace, and I loved the speed of the industry. I still have relationships with that small group that I first started working with. They’re a great crew.”
Iain moved to South Australia with Southcorp Wines in the mid 2000s and worked in quality and technical roles across the business, which eventually become Treasury Wine Estates (TWE).
Iain now has 24 years of wine industry experience behind him and has been Head of Research and Development, Quality & Compliance at TWE since 2020, which involves biosecurity operations.
Iain is responsible for leading the development and implementation of TWE’s Science and Technology Strategy and leads the company’s Research and Development activities, introduction of Agritech and technical viticultural improvements, climate adaptation response and sustainability plan.
“I work across Australia and New Zealand in this role, which is so important for biosecurity, which requires a global focus,” Iain said.
“I have a keen interest in the longevity of our industry. Biosecurity is about protecting our industry, and making sure that we continue to survive and do better than that – thrive.
“We’ve got a lot of challenges facing us with climate change and economic pressures and in tricky times there’s always the potential for people to cut some corners. But that introduces risk. We need to ensure we’re delivering tools and systems to industry to improve biosecurity outcomes.”
Iain has a background and keen interest in process improvement and would like to apply this experience to Vinehealth Australia and biosecurity management in the grape and wine industry.
“There’s plenty of opportunity to streamline biosecurity as we automate and digitise processes,” Iain said. “What that does require is standardisations of data and improved data governance and how we manage that.”
More immediately, through his position on the Vinehealth Australia Board, Iain wants to ensure that Vinehealth remains a prominent support pillar for the South Australian grape and wine industry.
He offers significant Board and committee experience, having been a member of the Australian Grape and Wine Technical Advisory Committee since 2009 (current chair) and a Board Director of the Australian Wine Research Institute from 2018 to 2021. He has also been a Wine Industry Suppliers Association Innovation Committee member.
Iain’s current role at TWE is diverse. A typical day can involve ensuring TWE labs are running effectively, or ensuring the right quality and compliance systems are in place, or research and development of new processes or new products.
“For example, this morning I’ve been working on some strategic planning, and then I’ve got to jump in the car and pick up some materials for some vineyard trials,” he said.
“My role involves all aspects of the supply chain, which is not always an opportunity you get in a large organisation. But to do the best work, I think it’s important to have that visibility across the entire end-to-end supply chain, and not just one component.”