Balfour Winery, one of the UK’s most innovative and fastest-growing producers of English wine, has today appointed Adam Williams as Chief Operations Officer and Jack Merrylees, previously from Majestic Wine, as its new Marketing & PR Director – as the company prepares for its next chapter after a period of strong growth.
Williams and Merrylees form part of a new board, which also includes Fergus Elias, Head Winemaker, and Sarah Easton,Commercial Director.
Balfour also revealed plans to double production to one million bottles per annum at its beautiful 400-acre Hush Heath Estate in Kent, supported by long term grower contracts in Kent and Essex. The 20-year-old winery, which also operates a network of ten bars and pubs with boutique hotel rooms across the South East, London and the Cotswolds, alongside a beer and cider arm – Jake’s Drinks.
As one of the most visited vineyards in England, Balfour believes wine tourism will become an even greater focus in the months to come, as more and more Brits look to staycations and connect with homegrown producers. A recent VisitBritain survey suggested 42% of inbound tourists would enjoy a visit to a winery and Balfour will continue to capitalise on the trend with its full range of tours, tastings and events.
Merrylees joins Balfour after an eleven-year spell at Majestic, where he initially joined as a graduate trainee in 2012. More recently he has held the position of Head of Content, Brand & PR; responsible for the company’s national brand, PR, e-marketing and events. He will have responsibility for driving growth and interest across the Balfour brands, as well as a key focus on increasing further visitor numbers to the winery which is situated just outside Staplehurst.
Williams, who first joined Balfour in 2017 as Sales Director, has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer, and will continue to oversee the company’s sales strategy and growth.
Speaking about the move, Adam Williams said: “We’re proud to be one of the real pioneers of the English wine movement and have some fantastic and exciting ambitions for the next few years. Jack joins our new board to help make these plans a reality working alongside the brilliant team we have here with Fergus and Sarah.
“We think there’s a huge opportunity for the English wine Industry to really capture the hearts and imaginations of wine lovers across Britain; to help people to discover the incredible wine region that’s under an hour away from London. Bringing those connections and stories to life, helping to drive further interest in the category and making more delicious wines will be key to our continued growth.”
Balfour Co-founder, Leslie Balfour-Lynn added: “I am delighted to make today’s announcement as we prepare for our next, thrilling chapter at Balfour. When we established our first vines just over twenty years ago, our ambitions were to create wines that Richard and I loved, and I am proud that we now have a portfolio that rivals some of the best wines in the world. The reception and growth over the past 20 years has been superb as we go from strength to strength- and with our new board in place it feels like we are still just getting started.
“This year promises to be the most thrilling yet. We have a lot in the pipeline, from new developments at the winery to some extremely exciting new wines soon to be released alongside the continued development of Jake’s Drinks and our pubs. I am pleased to have Adam and the team at the helm, to really help us capitalise on this momentum.”
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