LEADER: Andrew Calabria took part in the wine industry’s Future Leaders program which developed close bonds across diverse wine regions. Picture: Anthony Stipo.Future leaders of the wine industry, including a man from Griffith,have been through an intense program designed to breathe new life into the business.
Andrew Calabria from Calabria Family Wines joined 15 other young people from wine regions across Australia to take part in theFuture Leaders 2015 program.
“It wasall about having a different outlook and learning tothinkdifferently,” Mr Calabria said.“The program was really good, challenging and it evolved into quite a good bonding experience.”
The organisers of the program fromWine Australia set a challenge which could have been straight from reality television. The participants met up in Canberra with no warning of what they were about to do. They were only allowed to bring a change of clothes, a torch, a bottle of water and a sleeping bag.
“They must have done their research because the sort of people who wind up in programs like this are generally well-prepared,” Mr Calabria said.
“We got dropped off and they took our phones and wallets so we had no money or credit cards and then we were given a bunch of tasks to complete together.
“If we didn’t complete them we couldn’t eat, had nowhere to sleepand it all went on for a week.”
The 16 future leaders eventuallyended up in mountains at Wee Jasper, about 70 kilometres away.
“The experiencecreated a bond which I think will stay with me for therest of my life,” Mr Calabria said.
“Westarted to think differently goingthrough the chaos and had to use forward thinking.”
Funded by the wine sector and co-ordinated by Wine Australia in partnership with Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) and the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia (WFA), the Future Leaders program aimed to developpersonal and professional leadership skills, encourage the development of collaborative networks and providean understanding of the broader Australian grape and wine community.
“We’resuch a diverse group of people, comingfrom places like the Riverina, Clare Valley and Rutherglen,” Mr Calabria said.“We’re quite an important part of the industry and for me to be part of that group and talk on behalf of the Riverinawas good.”
“People often forget the significance of the Riverina to the wine industryand Griffith inparticular.
“We’rea new generation of people in the industry who are talking and thinking differently.
“As an industry if we can take what we learnt and use it over the next 20 years we’ll be in a good position.
“We’re all friends and while we’re not going to save the world or solve the tax issues we can work together on good projects and move everyone forward.
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