2017 Hall of Fame Inductee
Viticulturist / Managing Director
About Me - My Biography
Mary has worked in the wine business for decades in a wide range of practical, extension, consultancy, and research roles. She has also written numerous technical articles and informational booklets for wine producers and has presented workshops around Australia and internationally on a diverse range of topics.
Today, Mary is the viticulturist and Managing Director of Retallack Viticulture, which offers a broad range of viticultural services throughout Australia. She is also a Director of Wine Australia, a member of the Adelaide University Wine Alumni Steering Group, on the editorial panel of the Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower and Winemaker Journal and a founding board member of the Women of the Vine Global Symposium which meets in Napa Valley each year.
Mary has graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors Diploma course, and is a Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. She has been the Director of Wine Communications Australia, the Director of the Australian Wine Research Institute, a member of the South Australian Wine Industry Council, and a founding member of the Wine Grape Growers Australia Decision Support Network.
Mary has won numerous awards, including the Rural Woman of the Year award in 2012. She is also a public speaker and a current ambassador for Primary Industries and Regions South Australia’s Women Influencing Agribusiness and Regions Strategy.
Mary is a third-generation viticulturist who grew up on a fruit block in the Riverland, South Australia. The time she spent in her family’s vineyard and fruit orchard fostered a love of the environment and agriculture in her.
While she left home at 16 to train to become a park ranger, Mary soon found herself back in the wine industry. Today, she is a PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide, combining her love of natural resources and the wine sector to study the use of native insectary plants to boost the presence of “good bugs” in the vineyard.
Strategies for Success
- Build others up and give back. We have less than 10% female viticulturists in the wine community. It is important to be seen and heard so others can learn about and have equal access to the fantastic opportunities available in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and especially the agribusiness and primary production sectors.
- Net-weave. Continue to expand, nurture and use your networks, making sure you are aware of and put your hand up for opportunities. We get the best outcomes when we have both men and women involved in decision making. Make sure you are present at the decision-making table.
- Mentors and sponsors. Find both mentors who can challenge you in a safe environment, and sponsors who can help to open doors to opportunities for advancement.
- Be generous, kind and compassionate. Be generous with your knowledge, expertise, enthusiasm, guidance and time. Every connection we make can make a difference. Never underestimate the difference an individual can make.
- Follow your passions. Surround yourself with the right people. Embrace each opportunity that comes your way. Take time out to reflect and recharge. Look after your health, it underpins everything you do. Expect and embrace the unexpected. Be passionate with a purpose, be generous and have fun.