Wine Australia’s chief executive Andrew Cheesman has resigned to “pursue other opportunities within the wine sector”.

Cheesman, the former general manager of Petaluma Wines who has led the generic body since 2009, will continue until September 2013.

He said: “It has been a tremendous honour to lead the team at Wine Australia through a period of significant change.

“I have enjoyed the challenges of the role and have remained humbled by the fantastic support I have received from our wine community and the Board. Wine Australia has a very hard-working and highly capable team to help industry maximise the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Wine Australia chairman George Wahby added: “I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the Wine Australia Board and the sector generally to thank Andrew for his exemplary leadership over the past four years.

“Andrew is a passionate advocate for the Australian wine sector and has been a key driver of change in the industry’s national organisation. During his tenure he has transformed Wine Australia, ensuring the delivery of key services for the sector, especially during the difficult trading environment over the past few years. I wish him well for the future.” 

Wine Australia is due to merge with Australia’s Grape & Wine Research & Development Corporation next year to create a single statutory authority supporting the country’s wine producers.

It said an announcement on Cheesman’s replacement will be made “in due course”.