Leadership in Wine #15 - Erica Crawford

  • Alexis Robin

Erica, a graduate of the University of Cape Town, started life as an aspirational medical scientist and then progressed to the pharmaceutical industry where she cut her teeth on business principles. Erica made New Zealand home after marrying Kim Crawford.

For nine years, Erica and Kim forged their brand called Kim Crawford Wine and then sold their company in 2006 to Constellation Brands. Loveblock Wine heralds their return to the industry.

Erica is an active member of the Global Women NZ Advisory Board, an organization which works to expand the influence of women and helps to shape and mentor emerging leaders. She holds a number of directorships, both in the wine industry and in other sectors.


How do you define leadership?

I think it is an intrinsic thing that some people have. Others then tend to follow them, whether they (leader) wants to lead or not – this is a slightly mischievous definition but it often happens! It's about integrity, values and daring to be brave and taking a team of people with you to a clearly stated goal.


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

We are being challenged by ever increasing cost of goods against a highly competitive market where prices are expected to remain the same or wine to be “promoted”. To navigate this one needs to have a good feel and a strong sense of what you want your wine to be versus how much consumers are prepared to pay.


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

The making of the Kim Crawford brand especially in the USA. I learnt some hard lessons on the way, as well as opportunities. Mainly I am not scared to take a chance and ask questions and to be told NO.

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

Know all aspects of your business especially if you are family owned or a smaller-medium sized business – from grape growing to winemaking to marketing to logistic. The numbers around each of these aspects is what makes a business viable or not.

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