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OIV elects first director general from Southern Hemisphere

Published:  12 June, 2023

Dr John Barker, the former general counsel of the New Zealand Winegrowers has been elected as the director general of The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV).

The New Zealand native is uniquely qualified for the role, and currently runs his own legal and consulting practice, focused primarily on the wine sector and regulation in the international wine industry.

Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand Winegrowers, said: “New Zealand Winegrowers is thrilled that Dr Barker has been elected as director general of the OIV. Dr Barker is an outstanding New Zealander and has a deep appreciation of the history and traditions of the global vine and wine sector, but also recognises the current opportunities and challenges that our industry is experiencing today.”

Dr Barker spent a decade with the New Zealand Winegrowers between 2004 and 2014. He has also had a long involvement with the OIV, attending his first OIV meeting in 2000 while researching his PhD thesis on the international regulation of the wine sector. He was appointed an expert delegate for New Zealand in 2004 and has actively participated in the OIV for 17 years in various roles, including president of the Law and Economy Commission.

Gregan added: “He has the vision and the commitment to grow and strengthen the OIV, to ensure that it effectively addresses the key issues facing the sector, both now and in the future. We extend our thanks to both the minister for Foreign Affairs and the minister for Agriculture for their support.”

The OIV is an intergovernmental organisation which issues recommendations on technical and scientific aspects of viticulture and winemaking. It has 49 member states and 17 observers. In 100 years of the OIV, there has never been a director general from a Southern Hemisphere country. He will hold the position from 2024-2028.

Dr John Barker said: “I am very honoured to have been elected as director general of the OIV, and I thank the New Zealand government and New Zealand Winegrowers for their support. I believe that it is essential for the global wine sector to have a modern, effective and representative international organisation, and I look forward to working together on the opportunities and challenges facing our industry like the digital economy, climate change and the role of wine in society.”