New chairman elected to lead New Zealand Winegrowers

This is a supplied media release.

Gisborne grape grower John Clarke has been elected chair of New Zealand Winegrowers.

Mr Clarke has more than 40 years’ experience in the grape and wine industry. A former Gisborne mayor, he has previously served for 10 years as the chairman of Gisborne Winegrowers and joined the New Zealand Winegrowers Board in 2006. He has been deputy chairman since 2012.

He takes over from Steve Green, who has been NZ Winegrowers chair for the past six years and stands down following the sale of his central Otago winery Carrick. Mr Green will remain a board member until the upcoming election in September.

Mr Clarke says he is honoured to be succeeding Mr Green.

“I want to thank Steve for being a strong advocate for the industry and an inclusive leader. During his tenure the industry has made huge advances in terms of sustainability, biosecurity practices and New Zealand wine’s standing globally.”

Mr Clarke says he is optimistic about the future of the industry, with exports on track to reach $2 billion per year by 2020.

“Our focus will be on maintaining our premium position as producers of exceptional and sustainably produced wines. There will, no doubt, be challenges along the way, which is why New Zealand Winegrowers is now undertaking a strategic review to best position ourselves for the future.”

A new deputy chair will be elected at the next New Zealand Winegrowers board meeting.