Vintage Wine Estates appointed Jeff Nicholson to the new role of chief operating officer, filling another top role at the Santa Rosa-based group of West Coast wineries and brands.

Most recently, Nicholson was an operating partner at AGR Partners, a Davis-based investment firm dedicated to food and agribusiness, Vintage announced Jan. 2. AGR acquired a minority equity stake in Vintage in April 2018. He will continue to be on the AGR advisory board, according to the announcement.

"We are pleased to have Jeff join us at Vintage Wine Estates," said Pat Roney, CEO, in the news release. "We are growing rapidly and welcome his expertise in mergers and acquisitions, extensive value chain experience and entrepreneurial spirit."

Nicholson joined AGR in 2017 with a focus on identifying and developing new investment opportunities. Prior to that, he founded and operated companies within the food and agriculture value chain. He was co-founder and president of Animal Supply Logistics, a preferred distribution company to independent pet supply retailers that later merged with Animal Supply Company.

Before Animal Supply Logistics, Nicholson co-founded Link Logistics, which helps companies such as Starbucks to reduce procurement costs and improve distribution and transportation.

In addition, Nicholson has over 12 years' experience in sales and marketing with Ralston Purina and Pacific Cartage and Warehousing.

At Vintage, Nicholson will oversee winemaking, production, warehousing, supply chain, purchasing and information technology.

"I look forward to applying my knowledge to the wine industry and leading Vintage Wine Estates' operations side as the company continues to grow," Nicholson said in a statement.

Vintage Wine Estates was the 14th largest U.S. wine company last year, with 1.75 million cases produced, according to Wine Business Monthly. Roney has been filling top leadership positions in the past year, moving up Terry Wheatley to president and hiring Kathy DeVillers as chief financial officer. Others on the executive team are Marco DiGiulio, chief winemaker, and Marty Peterson, vice president of operations.