Who we are

Our global board of trustees

Stephen Cronk

Stephen joined the London wine trade in his early-twenties and within a few years set up his own wine business. Twenty years and three children later he moved his family to Provence where he and his wife, Jeany, founded Maison Mirabeau which is now an internationally recognised rosé wine brand.

In 2019 they acquired a 20-hectare estate near La Garde Freinet in the Côtes de Provence appellation. The soil, having been intensively farmed for the previous 25 years, resembled a moon landscape so the couple decided to do everything to bring the estate back to life. Having looked into regenerative agriculture (RA), as well as organic viticulture, the path was set to convert their piece of land back to its natural glory and invite life back into its soils. This is steadily being undertaken with the guidance and support of regenerative viticulture pioneers and they will be measuring the impact of this holistic system of farming over time.

Jesper Saxgren

With over 35 years’ experience in the fields of ecology, permaculture, agro-ecological farming, watershed and ecosystems management, Jesper has been working as planner, teacher, facilitator and consultant in Denmark as well as with NGO’s in Nepal, Ghana, Bolivia and Bhutan. He has established and contributed to a number of highly acknowledged ecological projects, including substantial fund-raising for their realisation and published documented processes and results in reports and articles.

Currently Jesper is a vice-chairman in Organic Denmarks Global Committee and appointed ambassador for EARTH University in Costa Rica (a private non-profit university which offers a four-year undergraduate program in agricultural sciences and natural resources management).

Mimi Casteel

Mimi grew up on her family’s vineyard, Bethel Heights. Having spent some time working in various National Forests, she gained an MS from Oregon State University in Forest Science and spent the next several years working as a botanist and ecologist for the Forest Service. Her work in the forests led her to realise that the greatest threats to the future of the planet and all species had to be addressed at its root - in the agricultural and working land base.

Mimi returned to Bethel Heights in 2005, where she implemented new farming systems and began a journey of experimentation and discovery. In 2016 she left Bethel Heights to grow and make wine at her home vineyard and living laboratory, Hope Well. Hope Well is the living model for a habitat-based regenerative model for agriculture. Mimi’s experiments are all with the goal of producing the most nutrient-dense, healthy food and wine, while recovering the natural systems of nutrient cycling, improving biodiversity and species retention, and maximising the function and output of a diverse ecosystem.

Dr Alistair Nesbitt

Alistair is a Viticulture Climatologist with significant expertise in how weather and climate interface with wine production, globally. He holds a PhD in viticulture and climate science and a BSc and Master’s degree in Viticulture & Oenology. Alistair lectures internationally on viticulture – climate relations, consults to new vineyards, governments and the global wine industry, and draws on 20-years’ experience to help UK wine production businesses establish and operate sustainably.

Martin Gamman MW

Martin has worked in the wine trade since 1984 when he graduated from Durham University with a degree in zoology. He started out in sales before becoming a buyer for J Sainsbury in the exciting years of the early 1990’s. Since then he has worked in various commercial roles representing producers from around the world and for the last 14 years has run the UK office of Champagne Joseph Perrier. Over that period, the enjoyment of explaining the complexities of champagne to customers has fired a latent enthusiasm for education. He became a Master of Wine in 1993.

Outside wine, he relaxes by looking after a 10Ha slice of pasture and woodland in Gloucestershire where it seems that, for the last 20 years, he has been following what looks quite like a regenerative approach!

Justin Howard-Sneyd MW

Justin was brought up in a farming community in Yorkshire, and his first paid job, aged 9 (at 30p an hour) was helping to round up lambs to have their tails docked. After spending 3 years as an itinerant winemaker in the early 90’s, he became a wine buyer in 1997 for Safeway, Sainsburys and heading the wine team at Waitrose, before taking a role with Tony Laithwaite as the Global Wine Director for Direct Wines.

Since 2013 Justin has worked as an independent consultant for a wide range of clients, and has been making and distributing his own wine, Domaine of the Bee, from four hectares of very old vines in the Roussillon region of France.

Justin started working with the Dartington Trust in 2020, to bring wine education to their program of short courses and degree and postgrad programs and is busy learning about regenerative farming from the experts at Schumacher College. He became a Trustee of the Foundation in late 2021.

Rachael Hughes

Rachael is a British-born entrepreneur who has lived and worked around the world, in particular Latin America and Southern Europe. Her main focus now is on investing in and advising innovative start-up companies – and learning about soil. Growing up in the Cheshire countryside left her with a strong respect and connection to nature. In 2021 she established her own small farming operation in Southern France on land that had been abandoned for many years. Having read about regenerative agriculture, soil regeneration shot to the top of her priorities and has occupied the top spot ever since, for viticulture and all farming.

Programme manager

Becky Sykes

Becky is our Programme Manager, responsible for Research, Education and Engagement. Her role is to develop the resources and community network needed to support and connect producers, wherever they are on their regenerative journey. She also manages research projects and engages wine educators to spread both awareness and understanding of the benefits of regenerative viticulture.

Becky has a passion for regenerative viticulture, sparked during her MSc in Viticulture & Oenology. She uses the stakeholder engagement expertise gained in her previous career as a Public Affairs PR consultant to forward the foundation’s aims. She also rather randomly has a degree in Aerospace Engineering.