Managerial competences in the Australian wine industry

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


International Council for Small Business


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Management




Walker, E. A., Charters, S. J., Brown, A. R., Clark-Murphy, M. C., & Davis, N. (2006). Managerial Competences in the Australian Wine Industry. Proceedings of ICSB World Conference. Melbourne. International Council for Small Business. Conference website available here.


Wine is Australia's fourth largest farm export. A high proportion of wineries are small businesses with the owners and managers often running complex operations involved in primary production, manufacturing and tourism related activities. Rapid growth in the industry has raised issues regarding the quality of managerial expertise, given the varied backgrounds of those who have been attracted to new ventures in wine production. This paper reviews the literature on management in the wine industry and reports findings from a pilot study of managerial competencies based on interviews with the owners of small wineries. Preliminary results suggest that winery owners enjoy the production aspect of making wine, but have limited business and management skiffs. There may also be difficulties associated with generational conflict. Differences are apparent between "career" winemakers and those who have entered the industry from other professions for the "lifestyle" change.