DR ANDREW SMITH, Ph.D.
Dr Andrew Smith oversees the research and farm operations at Rodale Institute and is passionate about growing the organic movement by providing science-based solutions to farmers and facilitating opportunities to expand the number of organic farmers and farmland across the globe. He has over 20 years of experience working in the organic industry as an agronomist, researcher and farmer. While trained as an entomologist, his motive for entering the organic industry was to reduce the use of chemicals for food production that end up in our environment, food and bodies. He now has the opportunity to support an amazing group of dedicated people working diligently on many projects to transform the food system and the way we farm to improve the lives and health of all people and the planet. He also continues to live and work on his own organic family farm.
ELAINE CHUKAN BROWN
MEDIA, WINE WRITER, EDUCATOR
Elaine Chukan Brown serves as a writer, speaker, and educator specialising in wine, personal empowerment and social justice. In 2022, Brown was nominated for a James Beard Award in Journalism, and became an advisor to the Women in Wine and Spirits Awards of China. In 2021, Brown gave the keynote address, “Risk and Self-Doubt as Opportunity”, for the Femmes du Vin event sponsored by the US State Department through the Paris Embassy. The Hue Society also awarded them the Legend Award in Wine Education, and the Women in Wine and Spirits Awards (WINWSA) in China named them one of the world’s 50 Most Influential Women in Wine and Spirits in the world. In 2020, Brown was awarded Wine Communicator of the Year in the world by IWSC and VinItaly, and was named a Wine Industry Leader in the North American wine industry by Wine Business Monthly. In 2019, the Wine Industry Network named Brown one of the Most Inspiring People in Wine, and they were shortlisted for the IWSC Wine Communicator of the Year award.
OWNER, REYNEKE WINES
Johan Reyneke is the owner of Reyneke Wines in the Polkadraai area of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Reyneke Wines is a certified organic and biodynamic producer of fine wine and has been so for more than 20 years. Johan has a
postgraduate degree in environmental ethics and has been a champion of environmental and social sustainability in the South African wine industry.
DR CASSANDRA COLLINS
UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE
URLAR & HUNTRESS WINES
Wairarapa, New Zealand
Working in hospitality in Australia and New Zealand sparked Jannine’s interest in wine. Her first grape harvest in 2003 embedded that spark, and she has been in the industry ever
since. Over the last two decades, she has worked across New Zealand, including at Ata Rangi and Pegasus Bay, and has had many international vintage experiences. Now back in
the Wairarapa, she works as a winemaker at organic vineyard Urlar as well as running her own wine label, Huntress.
Jannine has a passion for nature, hunting, foraging and cooking kai. Her upbringing on a sheep and beef farm has grounded her and connected her to the environment.
ANGOVE FAMILY WINEMAKERS
McLaren Vale, Australia
Now in its fifth generation of family leadership, Angove Family Winemakers is dedicated to embracing evolutionary ideas, with a focus on maintaining relevance and ensuring sustainability for future generations to come. Angove is Australia’s leading organic wine brand.
Sophie joined the business in 2017 after spending her early career working in education. On completion of a degree in environmental science and a postgraduate degree in viticulture and oenology, Sophie began working at the family’s historic Warboys vineyard in McLaren Vale as a viticulturist.
Sophie has a passion for plant sciences and sustainability and a deep understanding that great wine starts in the vineyard.
Tiffany Tompkins is CEO of Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ), the national organic sector body. Tiffany’s enthusiasm for organic brands stems from her extensive experience in the food and beverage industries. She began her organic journey in the United States as an importer of organic Fairtrade wine. With the motto ‘Drink Like You Give a Damn’, she sold wine to distributors and national retailers like Whole Foods Market while educating the public on why this type of wine matters.
In the USA, Tiffany became part-owner and COO of an online organic gift company, America’s Best Organics. Prior to that, she worked on brand engagement in the health and sustainability products market. She has also been involved in lobbying, including campaigns around GMO labelling and organic standards. Tiffany is a past member of the Organic Winegrowers New Zealand executive
Greg’s role at Syngenta is to develop the Australian and New Zealand markets for biological products for pest and disease control in commercial food crops, as well as to introduce products that enhance crop environmental tolerance and optimise growth and productivity.
Prior to joining Syngenta in late 2022, Greg was a senior commercialisation manager at Plant & Food Research, where his role focused on taking bioprotection technologies
developed in-house to the market. Prior to that, his career started in science as a plant breeder and crop agronomist for kiwifruit, strawberries and tamarillos. He also spent time in
research management roles in the IT and health sectors and inaugurated a polytechnic research office.
CAMERON DOUGLAS (MS)
MEDIA, WINE WRITER
Cameron is New Zealand’s first and only Master Sommelier. He is an experienced wine writer, commentator, judge, reviewer, presenter and consultant.
Cameron lives his life around his enthusiasm for all things beverage – writing, travelling, tasting and speaking. He judges and presents wine regularly in the USA, UK, Australia and Asia. He is the wine and beverage feature writer for MiNDFOOD and Style magazines and contributes to a number of other publications. His reviews of wines are available through his website, as a courtesy to the industry and interested public.
Cameron is beverage manager for Rodd & Gunn and The Lodge Bar Group – a position that encompasses their global operations, currently focused on New Zealand and Australia.
For the past 25 year Kelly has managed, designed and consulted for vineyards, farms and ranches, throughout the USA and internationally.
His work focuses on designing and creating agricultural systems and practices that restore ecological health, grow biodiversity, create climate change resilience and increase profitability and beauty. These spaces are also more fun and inspiring to work in and with.
Nick’s career in viticulture has spanned 35 years. He started as viticulturist at Martinborough Vineyards. Since 1998, Nick has provided technical and sales advice for Riversun’s clients. He is part of the senior management team for Riversun Nurseries and Linnaeus Laboratory. From 2006-2019, Nick, his son and his son-in-law managed a portfolio of vineyards in Martinborough under Vine Managers Ltd. An interest in vine health led to Nick’s involvement in research, managing New Zealand Winegrowers’ Virus Elimination Project (2009-2015) and Bragato Research Institute’s Vineyard Ecosystems Programme (2016-2022). His interests in research, vine health and reducing chemical inputs have more recently led to his involvement in BioScout, a new technology for monitoring disease in the field. In recent years Nick has also taken up a role as a board member of New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated (NZPPI).
DR. CASSANDRA COLLINS
UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE
Cassandra is an associate professor in viticulture at the University of Adelaide.
After completing a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and a PhD in horticulture, she gained experience in the wine industry as a cellar hand, assistant winemaker and viticulturist. A love
of plants and a passion for research and teaching then led to a role as a researcher with the South Australian Research and Development Institute and the University of Adelaide, and
then to her current role as a lecturer and programme director of the Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology.
Cassandra’s current research specialises in grapevine reproduction, organic and biodynamic vineyard management, canopy management and new technologies for assessing vine
Rex is a third-generation New Zealand winegrower and a viticulture consultant. After university, he left the family orcharding and winegrowing business to pursue a variety of horticultural careers. This included the seed, kiwifruit and agrichemical industries.
In 1992 he re-entered the wine industry with a major corporate. Over the last 25 years he has established his own wine brand, grapevine nursery and viticulture consulting business, and has become the face behind New Zealand Winegrowers’ Vineyard Spray Schedule.
In 2010 his organic journey began with his family on their Oratia vineyard and orchard. He has been a board member for New Zealand Winegrowers, a member of the New Zealand Winegrowers research committee and an executive committee member for Organic Winegrowers
DR. HICHAM FERHOUT
Dr Hicham Ferhout is the head of research and development for biofertilisers and microbial
biostimulants at Agronutrition in France.
Dr Ferhout is one of the leading research scientists worldwide on plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) and endomycorrhizae. He has published several papers focusing on soil life and its ability to promote plant growth and impact the nutritional properties of the soil.
Dr Ferhout has a PhD in microbiology and a second one in mycology. He speaks worldwide about biofertilisers and biostimulants and their role in supporting sustainable agriculture, a focus for Agronutrition and De Sangosse.
SANTIAGO DE MARCO
HOHEPA HAWKE'S BAY
Santiago De Marco has lived and worked across the globe. He is originally from Argentina but has settled in Hawke’s Bay, where he lives with his family on a biodynamic farm. Santiago is the CEO of Hōhepa Hawke’s Bay, where he has worked for 23 years. Santiago is a Steiner School alumni and has vast experience networking in the international Steiner anthroposophical movement. He has a broad
range of skills, with extensive experience in the health and education sectors, as well as in governance and management.
Over the years, he has served in a number of organisations where he has seen ongoing opportunities to work with purpose and have impact on social, economic, environmental and cultural levels.
DR JESSICA HUTCHINGS
PAPAWHAKARITORITO CHARITABLE TRUST
Dr Jessica Hutchings (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Huirapa, Gujarati) is nationally and internationally recognised as a leader in Indigenous food systems and Māori food and soil sovereignty. She is a founding trustee of the Papawhakaritorito Charitable Trust, which works to uplift Māori food and soil sovereignty and Hua Parakore (Māori organics) through research, development and community practice. She lives on 12 acres and is a Hua Parakore verified family food grower. She has been a member of Te Waka Kai Ora, the Māori Organics Authority, for the last two decades. Jessica is also a widely published author, including recent books Te Mahi Oneone Hua Parakore: A Māori Soil Sovereignty and Wellbeing Handbook (Freerange Press 2020) and Te Mahi Māra Hua Parakore: A Māori Food Sovereignty Handbook (Te Tākupu 2015). Dr Hutchings has been working at the crossroads of Indigenous knowledge, whānau and environmental wellbeing for the last three decades and is passionate about Indigenous social justice, organic farming and self-determination. In 2023, she was named as a finalist for New Zealander of the Year in the Environment category, as well as being named one of New Zealand’s top 50 influential women in food and drink.
PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS
Paul Dalziel has been a professor of economics at Lincoln University since 2002 and is director of the University’s Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit alongside Distinguished Professor Caroline Saunders. He has published more than 100 refereed journal articles and book chapters. He is an author or editor of 11 books, three of which have been translated in Japan. He was the lead
author of Wellbeing Economics: The Capabilities Approach to Prosperity, the fifth-most-downloaded economics book, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2018. Professor Dalziel is a fellow and former ambassador of the UK-based Regional Studies Association, who presented him with its Distinguished Service Award in 2022. He is a life member and former executive officer of the Australia and New
Zealand Regional Science Association International. Lincoln University has given him awards for excellence in research and in teaching, and presented him with its inaugural Critic and Conscience of Society Award in 2019.
THE LEVER ROOM
Rebecca Mills is the founder of The Lever Room, an organisation which provides practical tools to help clients meet their sustainability and climate impact goals. A former biosphere scientist with training from both Harvard and Oxford business schools, she enjoys combining research and a spirit of enterprise to help solve real-world problems. Rebecca was shoulder-tapped to co-design, with Sir Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz, the strategy for what is now known as The B Team – a global group of business leaders working to catalyse a better way of doing business, putting people and planet alongside profit. Most recently, Rebecca and her team have shared a new carbon certification approach and have been utilising remote sensing, computer vision and field plot data to enhance and simplify carbon sequestration measurement. Prior to launching The Lever Room in 2008, Rebecca spent 10 years delivering regeneration projects, including the net zero carbon strategy for what has been the largest development site in Europe, Greenwich Peninsula.
James Millton is an artisan winegrower who has worked with wine since 1976, having learnt his craft from the masters in the Old World. In 1984 he helped establish The Millton Vineyards and Winery in Gisborne. In 1986 he was
instrumental in writing the BioGro organic certification standards for winegrowing in New Zealand.
In 2009 he obtained Demeter biodynamic certification, and Millton is now one of the 10 oldest biodynamic wine estates in the world. James is a founding member of the international group Renaissance des Appellations, a French-inspired group of biodynamic winegrowers. In 2012 James was invested as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for
services to organic winegrowing, and in 2019 James was made a Fellow of the New Zealand Wine Institute.
James is an inspirational figure for many in the organic and biodynamic wine world. His dry-farmed vineyards, his estate-bottled wines and his personal example have given many other growers the motivation to move to organic or biodynamic activities on their land and to commence work with their head, heart and hands.
“Before a wine can be great, it must first be true.”
SENIOR LECTURER VITICULTURE
University of Adelaide
Vinay Pagay is a senior lecturer in viticulture at the University of Adelaide, Australia. Vinay received his doctorate in 2014 at Cornell University (USA), where he worked on the development of novel tools for plant water sensing. Vinay also holds a degree in computer engineering from McGill University (Canada). His basic and applied research projects lie at the intersection of grapevine ecophysiology and vineyard technology. His current applied research is looking into the use of proximal and remote sensing tools to obtain high spatial and temporal resolution data of both biotic and abiotic stresses in vineyards, as well as for precision irrigation scheduling in vineyards. Vinay is a co-inventor of the microtensiometer (commercialised by FloraPulse) and has co-founded Athena IR-Tech, a startup company out of the University of Adelaide that develops proximal crop water status sensors.
Felton Road, Central Otago
James studied mathematics at Edinburgh with the intention of becoming a billionaire financier. One summer internship at a bank was enough to extinguish these plutocratic ambitions, and instead he went to work for Majestic Wine, a large UK retail chain. During five years at Majestic, he worked three harvests at Domaine Treloar in the Roussillon. These bucolic experiences were enough for him to suspect that making wine might be even more fulfilling than selling it. A subsequent internship at Dry River in 2018 provided sufficient proof, and he enrolled in the Graduate Diploma in Viticulture and Oenology at Lincoln. Stints at Prophet’s Rock and Akarua followed before he joined Felton Road in 2021, in a stroke of good fortune that he is still immensely glad about to this day. He enjoys a varied role working in both vineyard and winery and has been responsible for Felton Road’s carbon reduction programme since 2022.