paul schaafsma

Hardys owner Accolade Wines has promoted UK boss Paul Schaafsma to chief executive officer.

Schaafsma, currently general manager for UK & Ireland, takes up the role on 1 October and is succeeding John Ratcliffe, who will continue to advise on the strategic development of the company in the role of deputy chairman.

The Australian business - which claims sales of A$1bn (£0.46bn) - also produces brands including Banrock Station, Kumala and Echo Falls and sells more than 35 million cases of wine a year in 143 countries.

Schaafsma has led the UK division - the largest in the business - for the past three years. Under his leadership, Accolade had grown its UK market share by more than 70%, said the business, with UK number one wine brand Hardys growing market share by almost 16%. Schaafsma has been involved in the wine industry for nearly 20 years and prior to joining Accolade was general manager of Australian Vintage in the UK. In his new role, he is to be based in both the UK and Australia.

The Accolade board paid tribute to Ratcliffe, stating that under his leadership it had delivered “industry-leading” performance with a portfolio centred on Hardys.

Accolade Wines last month claimed to have become the first company to have a footprint in all major New World wine regions with the acquisition of Chilean business Viña Anakena. The deal includes all Viña Anakena brands and inventory relating to Anakena labels, including Alwa, Ona and Tama, a 3,000-tonne winery and a vineyard near the winery.

Accolade described Viña Anakena as having an “outstanding reputation as a producer of world-class, distinctly Chilean wines” with a presence in 50 markets including the US. It added the deal cemented Accolade’s position as “the leading New World supplier of premium, commercial and value wines”.