Margaret River winemaker and former president of the Margaret River Wine Association Cath Oates has been appointed as acting Chair of Wine Australia for a period of three months.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said the appointment of Ms Oates will provide stability for Wine Australia through the current challenges facing the wine industry from COVID-19.
"The wine industry has already faced significant challenges in 2020 from bushfires and reduced demand in key markets. It is important Wine Australia has a strong voice bringing the marketing, research and development and regulatory functions together while working through these challenges," Minister Littleproud said.
"A review of the Wine Australia board's performance is currently underway, due for completion at the beginning of May 2020. The review is expected to assess the skills set of the board to assist the government in recruiting a permanent chair.
"I believe Ms Oates will effectively manage any outcomes from the review of the board."
Ms Oates has a deep understanding of the winemaking and extensive wine industry experience as owner and winemaker at Oates Ends in Margaret River, Western Australia.
She studied winemaking at the University of Adelaide and went on to an international winemaking career spanning 15 years.
Ms Oates was one of 10 women in Australia to take part in the National Farmers' Federation 2019 Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program.
She has previously been vice-president of Wines of WA, president of the Great Southern Wine Producers Association and Margaret River Wine Association, as well as being the first chief female winemaker of Plantagenet Wines.
Ms Oates was appointed as a Wine Australia director in October 2018 for three years and has been leading the organisation since her election by the board to deputy Chair in February 2020.