2019 Fellow of the Society – Gary Baldwin

  • President of the Society (1996)
  • Director Wine Network Consulting

Gary is a founding member and of the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology, and was President of the Society in 1996. He’s a founding partner of Wine Network Australia Winenet, the country’s largest technical winemaking and viticultural consultancy, which works in the areas of winery design and construction, winemaking, viticulture and business planning for wine companies. He’s also a prominent and highly rated judge at wine shows.

Gary studied biochemistry at Swinburne in the early 1970s before taking a position as a cidermaker in Pakenham, Victoria. When the Wine Science course at Riverina CAE (now Charles Sturt University) commenced in 1975, he was one of the first students to enrol. He studied part time, eventually graduating in 1978. During this period, he moved to Arrowfield Wines in the Upper Hunter, where he commenced as assistant winemaker but quickly progressed to become general manager. These were challenging times for that company and when there was a change in ownership, Gary moved to a position as extension officer at the AWRI in 1983.

In 1988, he took over the successful consulting company, Oenotec and established a solid group of loyal clients who appreciated his deep wine knowledge, astute palate and business common sense. In 1994, he joined up with David Wollan and Artemis Georgiades of Wine File to form Wine Network Australia (WineNet) as an umbrella group to facilitate a “one-stop-shop” consulting and technical support organisation. Over the years, other consultants and staff joined this company and alliances were formed with likeminded colleagues in New Zealand and the UK. This allowed WineNet to offer its services in many countries around the world.

In 1997, Gary became aware of the remarkable potential of some reverse osmosis based processes for ameliorating wine composition problems such as low concentration and high volatile acidity. This led to the establishment of Wine Network Technology, later to become Memstar, a company which provided these and other services and equipment to the wine industry. This continued until 2013 when that company was sold.

Through this period, Gary concentrated his efforts on the group’s consulting activities providing support for clients and generous encouragement and mentoring to many staff and other hopefuls who went on to positions of influence in the wine industry. As Gary wound down his extensive consulting activities, in 2014 he accepted the position of chief winemaker for Handpicked Wines, finally having the chance to build and equip his own small winemaking operation on the Mornington Peninsula. He retained this position until recently when he returned to a part-time role as principal consultant and director of Wine Network Consulting.

Gary has held a number of honorary industry positions, including on the management committee of the Ron Potter Centre at CSU.