Hunter Valley Wine Show chairman of judges Jim Chatto has been appointed chief winemaker by McWilliam's Wines.
Chatto has become the fourth chief winemaker to be based at Mount Pleasant since Maurice O'Shea established the Hunter Valley winery in 1921.
Chatto's appointment will see him responsible for the winemaking and stylistic direction of all McWilliam's wines across its Australian portfolio, and follows the retirement of Phil Ryan in 2012.
Chatto will be working with McWilliam's senior winemakers across Australia. He joins the company following time spent there as a consultant throughout the 2013 vintage.
"Mount Pleasant's place in the story of Australian wine is significant and having had the rare privilege of tasting some great O'Shea wines, I'm aware of the gravitas the role carries and the enormous responsibility to honour the legacy of Maurice O'Shea and the individuality of each Mount Pleasant site, as well as the broader McWilliam's brands," Chatto said.
He also paid tribute to Phil Ryan's legacy as "a great champion of our region, an enormously accomplished winemaker; and mentor to many".
Chatto joins McWilliam's from Pepper Tree Wines where he has held the position of chief winemaker since 2007. During this time he was named 2009 Hunter Valley Winemaker of the Year, as well a 2010 Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year finalist.
With 20 vintages of Hunter Valley winemaking experience, Chatto is also a senior wine show judge with over 14 years experience across both regional and capital city shows and has been chairman of judges at the Hunter Valley Wine Show since 2012.
McWilliam's production director, Jim Brayne said the appointment illustrates the focus the company was investing in its portfolio.
"Jim's passionate and extensive knowledge of the Hunter Valley and key regions throughout Australia, as well as the strength of his award-winning winemaking will be a credit to our wine brands," Brayne said.