The Barossa Grape & Wine Association’s “Services to Industry” award was initiated by the Grape Barossa committee seven years ago to annually recognise the outstanding contribution and service of a member of the grape growing community to the Barossa.
Nominations are made by their peers when candidates demonstrate values of dedication, leadership and a sustained period of voluntary service to the Barossa wine industry.
The BGWA is very pleased to extend the award this year to a person who served the Barossa grape growing community, in a voluntary capacity, for 40 years..
In 1968, after purchasing a small vineyard in Tanunda, the recipient joined United Farmers & Graziers, which later became known as the SA Farmers’ Federation (or SAFF).
From the mid-1970s until 1985, he was a Barossa delegate to the Vine Fruit Committee of the United Farmers & Graziers – and eventually Chaired this committee.
In 1985, following unification of the winegrape industry bodies, he was elected Chairman of the newly constituted Wine Grape Section, which operated under the umbrella of SAFF. He retained the Chair until 1990, and continued to be a member of the Section’s executive until 1996.
For 22 years, from 1985 until 2007, he was a member of the Committee of the Barossa Winegrape Growers’ Council, including the role of Secretary from 2000 to 2007.
During this time he was also a member of the Governing Council of the South Australian Farmers Federation.
And, from 1986 to 1994 he was a member of the SA Premier’s Wine Industry Forum.
In 1986, he was also appointed a South Australian delegate to the Winegrape Growers’ Council of Australia, subsequently becoming Vice President and then elected President in 1990 – a position he retained for four years.
In 1987, following deregulation of wine grape prices in South Australia, he was a founding director of the SA Wine Grape Exchange (later the Australian Wine Grape Exchange) which was established to provide a market information service to both wineries and winegrape growers, particularly in relation to grape prices. He remained a director until the Exchange became redundant in 1994.
For two years, until 1994, he also held the position of Vice President of the Australian Horticultural Growers’ Council.
Following a special public meeting, convened by the Barossa Winegrape Growers’ Council in February 2006, this person was appointed Secretary of the growers’ steering committee.
This later grew to include Barossa Regional Development, Wine Barossa, and the Barossa Viticultural Technical Group, a committee which, in July 2006, became Barossa Grape & Wine Association.
The recipient remained Secretary of BGWA until shortly after the Association was incorporated on the 31st of August 2007.
From the early ‘90s until 2007, he was also involved in many other wine industry forums, including securing funding of the CRCV, the DAFF “Taking Stock and Setting Directions” task force, and the SA Economic Development Authority Study.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I think you will agree this is a very worthy recipient of an award that recognises voluntary service to the Barossa community and its grape growers.
Despite this huge contribution – and the highly esteemed positions he held on all these committees – the recipient of this award is described, by many, as “a very humble man”.
“He was never one to have his hand up in the air for gratification,” said one colleague.
Another colleague said of his involvement in the formation of BGWA: “He could see we needed to change as an industry – he knew we had to do something.”
He is described as an “effective, quiet chair who could organise the discussion and think quickly”.
“He took the information, processed it, and made it work. He built good relationships with the winemakers – and had the right personality to get them to the table,” said one grower colleague.
“Without his services, we couldn’t have achieved what we did in getting Barossa Grape & Wine Association off the ground,” said another.
Another colleague said: “He worked many hours, days, weeks and years, for grape grower industry bodies and interests.”
This person added: “I do not know how he found the time to do all this.. Actually I do, he would have neglected his own business and vineyards, in spending so much time on grape grower matters.”
That said, it is with great pleasure that I ask, Bob Taplin, to join me on the stage to accept Barossa Grape & Wine Association’s “Services to the Industry” award.
The above is a transcript of the speech by BGWA Viticultural Development Officer Nicki Robins, delivered at the Barons of Barossa Delaration of Vintage Ceremony on Sunday 19 February 2017.