Dr Martin Cole

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Martin will be speaking in Session 11. Looking to the future. Click here to see more.


The grape and wine sector’s operating environment is challenging. The imposition of high deposit tariffs on bottled Australian wine imported to mainland China in November 2020 and of the exceptionally tough market conditions globally plus the pressures on shipping due to the global pandemic have all contributed to this.  It can be tempting to take a “wait and see” approach or respond with defensive cost cutting.  An alternative approach is to face change head-on, fund innovation, and transform strategy.

Innovation consists of doing something new and different, whether solving an old problem in a new way, addressing a new problem with a proven solution, or bringing a new solution to a new problem (UN Innovation Network, 2019).  All of these approaches are needed in challenging times such as these.

This presentation will cover some of the key ingredients needs to harness the alchemy of innovation, discuss some new technologies and potential disruptors in a wine sector context and identify focus areas for investment by Wine Australia in innovation.


Dr Martin Cole is the CEO of Wine Australia. He joined the organisation on 15 November 2021, after working as Head of School, Agriculture, Food and Wine at the University of Adelaide.

He is internationally regarded for his work as a food scientist, with expertise in food safety, food trends and innovation, processing and nutrition, and the translation of science into community and commercial outcomes.

Along with his wine sector experience, Dr Cole brings more than 25 years’ experience in research management across government, academia and industry – including the broader agricultural sectors.

Described as an “influential, inspirational and visionary leader”, Dr Cole has held leadership positions with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industry Research Organisation (CSIRO), overseas and in larger commercial companies.