With 46 out of the 47 votes from member states, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) has elected New Zealander Dr. John Barker as the new Director-General, as announced by the OIV. The 54-year-old legal expert completed his doctoral thesis in Dijon, where the OIV is headquartered. He will assume leadership of the organization from January 2024 onwards. The outgoing Director-General, Pau Roca Blasco, has not publicly disclosed his future plans, according to the OIV's response to inquiries from the German Trade wine magazine WEINWIRTSCHAFT. He was unable to run for re-election as he had already exceeded the maximum age limit (64 years) for candidacy at the age of 65.
Barker has been working for the OIV since 2005, initially as an expert on New Zealand. From 2009 to 2012, he headed the OIV Commission on Law and Economics, where he subsequently served as Vice President for another 2 years. In parallel, he held the position of General Manager of Legal Affairs for the New Zealand Wine Growers organization from 2004 to 2014. He previously ran in 2018 for the position of Director-General at the OIV but lost to Pau Roca Blasco, the long-time head of the Spanish Wine Federation. Afterwards, he continued to work as a wine lawyer and OIV consultant for clients in various countries.
Since the voting was conducted in secret, it is impossible to determine the member state that deviated and did not vote for Barker. Initially, an Argentinean candidate opposed him but withdrew before the final vote. This resulted in Barker running unopposed, as confirmed by the OIV in response to inquiries from WEINWIRTSCHAFT.
"I would like to thank the members for the trust they have placed in me to assume the position of Director-General in 2024. It will be a great privilege to serve the OIV, and I look forward to working with you to advance the interests of the OIV and the wine sector in this anniversary year," Barker said in his acceptance speech after the election. VM