Communication with stakeholders
This project focuses on written and electronic communication to Australian grape and wine producers, with aims including:
- keeping industry up to date with current research
- providing advice to grapegrowers and winemakers
- sharing news, events and ideas
- seeking feedback or interaction.
Content is derived from across the AWRI’s research and extension projects, and delivered through a variety of different channels. The AWRI communicates directly with stakeholders via its eNews, eBulletins, webinars and social media, publishes the bi-monthly Technical Review and contributes regularly to other industry publications. Activities within this project complement the communication objectives of all AWRI staff – the details of presentations delivered and articles published by AWRI staff in 2014/2015 can be found in the Annual Report.
The AWRI website is a key mechanism for communicating with stakeholders, students, potential employees and the general public. Approximately 60,000 visitors accessed the AWRI website during the year with more than 278,000 page views. Key updates to the website during the year included improvements to the Grape and Wine Search Portal, a range of new fact sheets, the provision of real-time weather data for NSW growers, new FAQs from the helpdesk team and a blog detailing the making of the AWRI’s 60th birthday wine. A refresh of the website’s template and navigation was commenced and made good progress. The new version of the website is expected to launch in the first half of 2015/2016.
eBulletins and eNews
Electronic delivery of information allows for timely and responsive communications with grape and wine industry personnel across Australia. The eBulletin format is used to send out alerts on emerging issues, agrochemical updates and notifications when Technical Review is published. Sixteen eBulletins were delivered during the year and are shown in Table 6. The eBulletin mailing list included more than 2,900 addresses by the end of the year.
The AWRI’s electronic newsletter, eNews, was distributed bi-monthly to an audience that has grown to 3,000 subscribers. eNews provides information on events, updates on research projects and a general snapshot of the AWRI’s activities. The distribution of eNews in alternate months to Technical Review means that information is communicated from the AWRI to stakeholders on at least a monthly basis.
The AWRI’s Twitter following grew by more than 450 during 2014/2015 to 2,819. Twitter has a high uptake within the wine industry and has proven to be an excellent avenue for interacting with stakeholders at an informal level. The AWRI’s Facebook presence also grew during the year. While the AWRI’s audience on Facebook is significantly smaller than on Twitter, Facebook still works very well for sharing images and visual stories and gained good levels of interaction during the year.
The AWRI webinar series continued during 2014/2015 with 22 webinar sessions and 342 participants. Approximately half of the webinars were presented by AWRI staff, with the remainder delivered by guest presenters from other research organisations and industry partners. Webinars provide a convenient and cost-effective way to reach industry practitioners across the country in a single session. Participants have the opportunity to speak with subject experts, ask questions and share experiences.
For the past 60 years, the AWRI has produced a printed annual report such as this one, as its formal report to Australian winemakers and grapegrowers. Since 1999, the annual reports have also been made available on the AWRI’s website. The AWRI also publishes a fourpage summary of the annual report in the Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker, and offers to deliver an annual presentation to the board or executive of each major state-based winemaking body. This formal activity complements the vast range of presentations and publications undertaken by AWRI staff members throughout the year.
Technical Review publishes abstracts of current technical literature on grape and wine-related topics. It also includes research updates from staff of the AWRI, as well as information about AWRI events. Technical Review is published six times a year, and is available to grape and wine producers via the AWRI website or in hard copy. A total of 740 articles featured in the Technical Review Current Literature section were requested by and provided to readers during the year.
The AWRI contributes regular articles to every edition of the Wine and Viticulture Journal and the Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker, while also contributing other papers to these and other Australian and international industry journals. All papers authored by AWRI staff for non-peer-reviewed publications are edited by the AWRI Communication Manager.
60th birthday commemorative publication
During 2014/2015, the AWRI worked with the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research to plan a special issue of that journal to mark the AWRI’s 60th birthday. It was decided that the special issue would be a collection of review articles authored by AWRI staff on a range of grape and wine science topics. Eighteen review articles have been prepared and are currently at various stages of the peer review process. The special issue is due for publication in December 2015.
The AWRI is regularly approached for comment regarding wine technical matters from national and international media. This provides an excellent opportunity to ensure accurate information is published, and to generate further opportunities to communicate with the AWRI’s stakeholders. Many requests from the media were handled during the year and six media releases were prepared and distributed (see Table 7).