Simon Strahan

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Simon will be speaking in Session 2 . Licence to operate. Click here to see more.


In short, yes…with caveats.

Wine has formed part of the social construct for many thousands of years. Its symbolic use across religion; its connection to the Greek symposium and philosophical debates; its reference in literature; to its consideration as an art form, all point to its application within society. Hippocrates (aka the father of western medicine and of ‘Hippocratic Oath’ fame) highlighted wine as a custom within daily regimen around 400 BC. Even Hippocrates, though, noted the importance of moderation.

Hence, the caveats. While Hippocrates advice around diluting wine with water to aid moderation may cause vignerons to shudder, the intent was wise. It would be naïve to think alcohol comes without risk. It is, however, for the large part, controllable risk – premised on ensuring that educated consumers have the option of choice. Of course, for some, alcohol is simply not advised: those who are underage, pregnant or having problems managing their consumption should be supported to abstain. The majority of the population do have the ability to make informed choice. We’ve seen from DrinkWise and government statistics that the overwhelming majority of Australians who choose to drink do consciously moderate and consume within guidelines – even during the pandemic buying spike! Consumers choosing quality over quantity and the emergence of the zero-alcohol category further reinforce healthier choices.

It is for these reasons that wine can be part of a civilised society – as long as consumers are educated and supported to make safe and healthy decisions around alcohol (as opposed to diluting wine with water).


Simon Strahan was appointed CEO of DrinkWise in 2017 following several years with the organisation as Marketing Director. Simon has spent more than 20 years working with leading Australian and international brands, including Cotton On, Australia Post, TAC and AWB. His experience in social marketing, acquisitions, strategy and global retail eCommerce has delivered insights into changing market and consumer dynamics, facilitated early digital technology adoption and enabled the creation of unique partnership opportunities.

Simon has developed and managed world-first behaviour change marketing programs that have been recognised internationally and nationally, with awards including: Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity; World Advertising Research Centre (WARC): #19 in World’s best 100 marketing campaigns; Jay Chiat (global) Awards for Strategic Excellence; APAC Effie (Effectiveness) Awards; and Business Review Weekly (BRW) Most Innovative Companies: Best Marketing Innovation.