Paul Schaafsma

Managing Director, Benchmark Drinks

Paul Schaafsma has enjoyed a career in the wine industry spanning over 20 years. His passion, enthusiasm and ability to innovate have ensured the success and relevance of the wine companies he has been associated with. Prior to establishing Benchmark Drinks, Paul was CEO of Accolade Wines, the fifth largest wine company in the world.

Under Paul’s leadership Accolade’s global revenue exceeded AUD$1billion driven by his team of 1700 employees working across Australia, New Zealand (NZ), UK, China, Japan, South East Asia, USA, Chile, Canada and South Africa. Prior his appointment as CEO, Paul was General Manager of Accolade UK and Ireland, the largest wine company in that region. During this time he become one of the leading spokesmen for the Australian wine industry in the UK.

This culminated in being awarded “Man of the Year” by Drinks Business magazine in 2015. Before joining Accolade, Paul was the driving force behind McGuigan Wines developing into a market leader across the UK and Ireland. Born in Australia, Paul has extensive experience of the Australian domestic market as well as the UK, Europe, Asia and the Sub Continent. Paul's strong grasp of strategy and understanding of the different markets has helped drive the growth of both Accolade and McGuigan around the world