He is also joining the online retailer as a consultant winemaker.
The appointment has been made thanks to Naked Wines securing its 100,000th Angel, or investor – which means it is bringing in £2 million a month.
Naked Wines founder and chief executive Rowan Gormley said: “Rod is an immense talent and we’re delighted to be investing in such a big name, which is a step change for the business and testament to what we’ve achieved to date. With our Angels investing over £2 million a month towards future orders, their reputation is spreading and we’ve got some exciting winemakers knocking on our door.”
Easthope said: “It’s been a lifelong dream to be my own boss, and the Naked Wines’ model is finally making that dream come true. I’ve had a fantastic seven years at Craggy Range, but I’m really excited to join the Naked team, get started on a new project, and produce an exclusive range of wines under my own name – at scale. I know where all the best grapes are hiding, and now I have the backing to put them to best use and share them with the UK public.”
His first two Naked wines – a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Gris from Hawkes Bay – are to reach the UK in October, but Naked Wines Angels can pre-order cases from February 23, with a 50% saving.
Pinot Noirs from Marlborough and Central Otago are also in the pipeline.