Leadership in Wine #11 - James Dicey

  • Alexis Robin

After 10 years as a chartered accountant specialising in computer audit, James retrained at Lincoln University in 2005, completing the Graduate Diploma in Viticulture and Oenology. James joined his father Robin Dicey initially as the Operations Manager of Grape Vision, taking care of logistics, staff management while gaining on the job practical training as a viticulturalist from Robin. He is now responsible for all viticultural and operations aspects of his family business.

In 2005, James and his brother Matt Dicey established Ceres Wines, a boutique wine brand based in Central Otago. In addition to Ceres, James is the viticulturist of Mt Difficulty wines based in Bannockburn. James has 15 years of experience in the wine industry as a leader.


How do you define leadership?

Lead from the front, challenge the status quo, bring people along with you, empower and delegate, don’t be afraid to make decisions. Have a vision and goals and work towards them. Use the tools that are available to you.


What are the main challenges of being a leader in the wine industry today?

Ability to effect substantial change is difficult with a concentration of power. Addressing a widening range of brands/people needs is challenging with limited resources.


What are your major breakthroughs in your career to become the leader you are now?

Putting myself forward, having an opinion and expressing it. Being able to work with a range of different people in different environments.


If you were starting your career in 2019 in the wine industry, what advice would you give to yourself to become successful and content?

Content. There is a big word. It's part of why I have been successful – not being content and continuing to chase goals! I would not take a different path.

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