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Australia’s First Families of Wine Announce New Chairperson

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Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW), a collective of Australia’s leading and most loved family owned, multi-generational wine businesses, is delighted to announce their new Chair, Jeff Burch, CEO and Winemaker, Howard Park Wines (1986) from Western Australia’s Margaret River. Jeff assumed the chair from Henschke’s (1868) Stephen Henschke at yesterday’s virtual board meeting, becoming the seventh chair of this esteemed wine group.

Clearly 2020 has been a year like no other for all Australian businesses and this leading, internationally interfacing wine collaborative is no exception.  With no international engagement this year, Jeff is looking forward to leading the group into the future as the world awakes to a very different post-Covid landscape.

“I come to this role at an interesting time for wine businesses at large, and now more than ever I see AFFW’s vital role as continuing to champion fine Australian wine on the global stage at the first opportunity,” Jeff said.

Knowledge, friendship and collaboration have been at the core of AFFW since inception in 2009.  Travelling globally to promote the quality, provenance, history and tradition of the premium Australian wines each family makes has created a close-knit group who share ideas, innovations and vision.  As some of Australia’s oldest family owned wine businesses, they share over 1180 years of collective experience.

Outgoing Chair Stephen Henschke welcomed Jeff to the Chair saying, “It is with great pleasure that I hand over the reins to Jeff Burch, the seventh Chair of AFFW.  And whilst 2020 hasn’t been quite the year we all envisaged, I have enjoyed my time at the helm, taking the group far and wide in 2019 particularly and continuing to share our vision for Australian wine whilst telling the stories behind every bottle we craft.  It’s been an honour and I look forward to my role as Jeff’s Deputy for the next couple of years.  Go forth and continue the crusade, Jeff!”

Jeff’s personal vision for AFFW is one layered with his own experience; a successful handover to the next generation so that AFFW, and each family’s businesses, can move forward with confidence and clarity.

“We have a wonderful, talented group of young winemakers, vintners, executives and viticulturists coming up behind us.  They have energy and new ideas underpinned by the friendship, familiarity and support of the larger AFFW group.  I look forward to my role, continuing to bridge the gap and set up the group for its next chapter,” Jeff said.  “In a rapidly changing world, our family businesses have achieved longevity by constantly evolving and adapting to change.  Our next change – the handover to our Next Gen – is most definitely on my horizon.”

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