The CEO of The Wine Group has been appointed to the chairmanship of Californian wine trade body the Wine Institute.

David Kent will assume the role for the institute's 2011 to 2012 fiscal year, the trade body confirmed late last week. Kent has been CEO of The Wine Group since 2001, prior to which he spent 20 years with E&J Gallo and Procter & Gamble.

Also elected were Kathleen Heitz Myers of Heitz Wine Cellars as first vice chairman; Chris Fehrnstrom of Constellation Wines US as second vice chairman; Carolyn Wente of Wente Family Estates as treasurer; and Greg Coleman of E&J Gallo Winery as secretary. Robert Koch continues as the Wine Institute's president and CEO, positions he has held since 2003.

At the Wine Institute’s 77th annual members meeting, held at the Sonoma Mission Inn last week, new district- and at-large directors were elected, with 14 new winery and associate members introduced to the organisation.

District directors and their alternates were elected on a one-member-one-vote basis in each district, following nominations by regional winery associations. The full list can be viewed here.

The new winery members are: Agajanian Vineyards, St Helena; En Garde Winery, Livermore; Marketta Winery, Napa; Middle Ridge Winery, Temecula; New Vineland Winery, Lompoc; Rosati Family Winery, Hopland; Sea Smoke Cellars, Lompoc; St. Helena Winery, St. Helena; Sunce Winery, Santa Rosa; Tasting Room, Inc., Santa Rosa; and Transcend Wines, Buellton.