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Gusbourne reshuffle continues with new head winemaker

Published:  29 January, 2024

Gusbourne has announced it has a new face leading its winemaking team, with Mary Bridges now officially taking on the mantle of head winemaker following the departure of CEO Charlie Holland.

Gusbourne has established itself as one of the leading names in English sparkling wine this side of the millennium, with vineyards across both Kent and Sussex.

Now, Bridges is poised to lead Gusbourne into a ‘new era of winemaking excellence’ as she takes over the role from Holland, who was also head winemaker as well as CEO before he departed halfway through 2023.

Jonathan White, CEO at Gusbourne, said: “We are delighted to welcome Mary as head winemaker. She is incredibly talented and knowledgeable in her craft and her careful attention to detail and infectious passion for oenology make her a perfect match for Gusbourne. I am thrilled with how she has settled into her position and I’m excited to see how uses her skill and expertise to further cement Gusbourne as England’s finest wine producer.”

The announcement comes after a period of rapid change at the estate. Two weeks ago, Harpers reported that a new CEO had been announced after a six-month search for Holland’s replacement, with former marketing director Jonathan White taking on the role alongside a number of other appointments being made as part of a leadership team reshuffle.

Now it appears Bridges officially took on the head winemaker position in September last year, where her first major responsibility was to oversee the 2023 harvest – Gusbourne’s largest to date.

Bridges officially joined the winemaking team in 2018 before being promoted to oenologist in 2020. Before this, she credits her childhood growing up in a Scottish farming family for instilling her ‘love of the land’, which grew into a formative career in hospitality. She then went on to complete a degree in Viticulture and Oenology at Plumpton College, from there spending time abroad working with producers in the South of France and California.

She said: “I am very proud of this achievement – this is what I love to do and I’ve worked extremely hard to get here. The craftsmanship, collaboration and dedication to quality at Gusbourne is second to none and I strongly believe we can continue to set a high benchmark for the industry. I feel honoured to be able to showcase the special terroir of our Kent and Sussex vineyards in the best possible light and to help play a defining role in the future of Gusbourne and I hope in turn, the dynamic and booming industry as a whole.”

Bridges will work closely with AJ Benham, Gusbourne’s head of wine operations, and its head of wine communications, education and style, Laura Rhys MS. Described as a ‘close-knit team’, the trio are now looking to harness the ‘potential of 2023’s harvest as Gusbourne enters a new chapter of innovation and growth’, the estate said.