A global marketing specialist, she succeeds Su Birch with effect from November.
Birch stays until the end of the year, before moving into the private sector, after 13 years as WOSA CEO.
Thompson has been Distell's global head of marketing for Amarula and and the company's other liqueur brands since 2010.
She was previously Distell's group general marketing manager for brandies and Cognac, including Bisquit. She also worked for several years marketing the company's sparkling wines and was responsible for the launch of the luxury Pongracz Desiderius Cap Classique. Before joining Distell in 2001, she was responsible for the UCT Graduate School of Business marketing and public relations.
Her extensive experience includes marketing fast moving consumer goods, as well as cosmetics. She began her working career in market research, first for Research Surveys and then Nielsens.
WOSA chairman Johann Krige said the organisation was looking forward to having someone of Thompson's global marketing calibre and experience at the helm to further the significant contribution made by Birch.
"She is a highly respected, results-orientated, marketing professional," said Krige. "Her seasoned exposure to traditional and developing markets and her conversancy with the alcohol category inspire great confidence. We look forward to her leadership in taking South African wine to the next exciting phase of its development in the international arena."