The Clare Valley Wine and Grape Association has appointed two new independent board members, adding a deliberate focus on growing wine tourism and strengthening the region’s underlying commercial engagements.
CVWGA chairman Stuart McNab says the appointments of tourism executive Tori Somerville and commercial lawyer Bianca Jennings follow a deliberate search for specific skills to complement the six elected winemakers and grapegrower board members.
“During our strategic planning process, the Board determined that unlocking greater in-valley returns via high-value travellers was key to future success, including potentially attracting luxury wine tourism accommodation,” Mr McNab says.
“Further, understanding economic and community implications for a stronger future state and potential for optimising the wine value chain, meant we were seeking the kinds of skills and experiences that Tori and Bianca bring.”
Mrs Somerville, 36, has an international luxury brand and digital marketing background. She currently heads Digital and Trade Projects at Luxury Lodges of Australia and has worked in London and as international sales manager for the Oatley family’s Hamilton Island.
“There is a clear opportunity for the Clare Valley to collaborate and draw on the strong visitor numbers travelling to the Flinders Ranges,” she says.
“A key objective is to harness the growing momentum within the region and increase visitation by developing compelling wine tourism experiences encouraging tourists to stay and spend.”
Ms Jennings, 32, is a corporate and agribusiness partner at national law firm Piper Alderman and has significant experience in the food, beverages and agribusiness sectors.
She says she was attracted to the opportunity to join the CVWGA Board because the region is an historic and iconic wine producer.
“There is an authenticity to the producers here and it’s a region which has obvious potential as well as challenges,” she says.
“I’m looking forward to bringing my corporate experiences to the table and helping to capitalise on the region’s strengths and support the delivery of the strategic plan.”