WineGB Wessex appoints Jacob Leadley as new Chair

WineGB Wessex has appointed Black Chalk winemaker and CEO, Jacob Leadley, as its new Chair, effective from 9th November. Leadley will replace outgoing Chair, Tim Ingram Hill of Wiltshire’s Southcott Vineyard, who stands down after 10 years in the role. The regional wine body, which encompasses Dorset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Wiltshire, currently has over 70 members.

Leadley is one of a number of “next generation” winemakers now serving on the committee, who will be looking to refresh perceptions of the region. Leadley has 10 years’ experience working in the English wine industry; initially at Hattingley where he was winemaker until 2018, and then more recently with his own winery, Black Chalk, which he launched in 2018. He has served on the Wessex Wine committee since 2017.

The third largest of WineGB’s regional bodies, Wessex is the most diverse in terms of vineyard size, with production ranging from hundreds of bottles to half a million bottles. WineGB Wessex supports its members on all aspects of the wine industry, including viticulture, winemaking, funding, education, tourism and marketing, and represents its members at the national level within WineGB.

Commenting on his new role, Leadley said: “WineGB Wessex has a long and rich history when it comes to viticulture and winemaking. The region is very diverse and home to large international producers, boutique wineries and smaller hidden gems. I look forward to helping steer the WineGB Wessex Committee which has both experience and enthusiasm. Both will be needed as we aim to expand and update our communications, events and support for our community of growers. Wessex has played a substantial role in the success seen across our industry in recent years, and the committee and I very much look forward to building on this.

“On behalf of the members and the committee I would like to thank Tim Ingram Hill for his 10 years as Chair, during which time the Wessex wine industry has taken huge strides as a wine producing region. I am personally very grateful that Tim has agreed to continue with the committee for the next 12 months.”

Commenting on Leadley’s appointment, Ingram Hill said: “It is now the time for the bright young winemakers with their new ideas to take over the leadership of the industry and Jacob is a fine example of the talent that is coming to the fore in English winemaking. I am confident he will do a superb job with the full support of his enthusiastic committee.”

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