The Wine Institute has elected a new chairman. James H Niven, president of Paragon Vineyard Co., was chosen at the institute's annual meeting on Tuesday in Sonoma.

The Wine Institute, based in San Francisco, has 782 members and acts as the main lobbying arm for the Californian wine industry.

Niven has worked in the wine business since 1970, when Paragon developed five vineyards on the central coast of California. His family company subsequently entered into a venture agreement with Chalone Wine Group to create the Edna Valley Vineyard brand.