PACKWINE speaker to examine factors driving winery and packaging innovation

What makes new products successful? That’s a question that will be addressed by 2021 PACKWINE speaker Gemma West, an independent professional with more than two decades of experience in the wine sector.

“Whether it be a widget or a new wine, the product must solve a customer’s problem,” explained West.

“Every company has had successful and not so successful product launches, and it can be difficult to determine why.”

She says the answer lies across a business’ value chain and that often, there’s no single factor that is the cause.

One thing is certain though – the “If we make it, they will buy” mentality that was common when I joined the industry 20 years ago no longer cuts it for brands without a cult following. And even for those that do, there is a fine line between a wine being highly profitable and pricing loyal consumers out of the market – the price elasticity of demand.”

In her PACKWINE presentation, West will explore new product development (NPD), which she says is “now a homonym for an activity, a team and a widget”, and can be profitable and competitive when wine companies focus on “mindset, customer and tools”.

“The key is to have the leadership and people within your business aligned with these, as misalignment can be as detrimental as not focusing on these at all.

“Mindset and customer focus are far more important than tools, and being in or evolving into this headspace will enable business improvements in much more than just innovation.”

West started in the wine industry in 2001, and has since held a variety of operational and management roles. As a winemaker, she completed vintages in regions across Australia and in California, in roles encompassing small-scale research winemaking and consulting, helping wineries to develop new products and alternative varieties, and through to large commercial wine production.

She moved into wine business nine years ago after the completion of an MBA and has since held roles in business improvement, utilising Lean and Six Sigma principles across the wine value chain.

West is one of 11 expert industry speakers who will address packaging-related topics at PACKWINE’s upcoming on-demand webinar.

In its inaugural year, PACKWINE will be a printed and digital event, to be published in the May issue of the Australian & New Zealand Grapegrower & Winemaker, the wine industry’s leading publication, while digital content – including the webinar – will be published online at

A trade exhibition and design awards will also be key components of the 2021 PACKWINE Forum & Expo, with the theme of this year’s event being ‘Adapting Packaging to the 21st Century: Innovation and Sustainability’.

PACKWINE is presented by Winetitles Media in association with the University of South Australia’s Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, Wine Packagers of Australia & New Zealand, The University of Adelaide and the Australian Institute of Packaging.

Register here now for free to be a delegate at PACKWINE 2021.