Caroline Gilby Master of Wine. About Me

Who Am I?

A Master of Wine since 1992.  I abandoned life behind the microscope after a degree in Botany and a PhD in plant sciences. I joined Augustus Barnett as trainee wine buyer in 1988 and never looked back.

The Start to my Career in Wine

Seven years as Senior Wine Buyer for Augustus Barnett and the whole Bass Group gave me the chance to travel to vineyards all over the world.  I have bought wine from most countries that grow grapes, in parcels ranging from a few cases to over a hundred thousand cases, for wine shops, pubs and hotels.

The Freelance Life

In 1995 I left corporate life behind to start my own business as an independent consultant and freelance wine writer.

I provide consultancy on wine quality; brand development; benchmarking against competitive products; range selection; technical specifications; copy writing for websites, back labels, shelf talkers and brochures. Clients range from major international PLCs to small boutique wineries.

I am a member of the Circle of Wine Writers and I contribute as freelance writer to magazines including Decanter, Harpers, The Drinks Business, VinCE and Meiningers Wine Business International.  I also contribute to Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book, The Wine Opus and other books including Oxford Companion to Wine and Wines of the world, and while it was still being published Tom Stevenson’s Wine Report. Websites I write for include and

I judge regularly at international wine competitions including being appointed Panel Chair for Hungary at Decanter World Wine Awards in 2011 and have since added Slovenia, Romania and Czech Republic to my responsibilities. I’ve also judged recently at Pannon Bormustra in Hungary, Vinaria in Bulgaria, the biannual Georgian wine competition and the annual Cyprus wine competition and was appointed President of the Vinistra Wine competition in Croatia in 2014 and 2015.

I can offer wine talks and wine dinners to companies and wine societies. I have worked with WEI on a programme of trade seminars and consumer tastings on the New Face of Hungarian wine for Pannon Wine Guild in 2007 and 2008.  I also led a programme of seminars and tastings on the wines of Robert Mondavi on behalf of Constellation Europe in 2008.

I have lectured for the Wine and Spirit Education Trust at Diploma level on the global drinks market, UK wine market, wine tasting technique, vinification, wine handling and quality control. I also lectured  on the UK wine market for (2003 to 2011.) for OIV’s Master of Science in Wine Management.

I was a board director of the UK Wine Standards Board for 4 years until 2003, appointed by the Minster for Agriculture.This was a Non-Departmental Public Body responsible for supervision and enforcement of EU wine law in the UK, a function now held within the Food Standards Agency

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Hungarian Wine Grapes – a few facts and figures.

An article for Wine of Hungary on what is grown and how much of it in Hungary.


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A Whiter Shade of Pale

Another science-heavy piece looking at how aromas and flavours in wine appear and how they change as wine ages.  The focus here is mainly on whites because that’s where the research has largely been done to date.


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The Waiting Game

How wines age or why they don’t.  Part one takes look at tannins and polyphenolic compounds with a focus on red wines as that is where most of the research has been done to date

Written for The Wine Society blog

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Hungarian wines in the UK – a bit of a mystery

Trying to find reliable stats on Hungarian wines sold in the UK is proving to be impossible. Government data is in accurate, and probably confused by some shipments going via Germany ( for instance Lidl volumes) or appearing in multi-country brands like I Heart.

A little more on the topic here in a short article for the Wine of Hungary newsletter.

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More China Wine News – Oak and Wine

And the next piece from China Wine News.  This time a more technical one on the science of oak in winemaking.

Plus the original text Oak and winemaking – a little bit of science-1


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Barrels, butts, tanks and jars

An article I wrote recently for The Wine Society on the various vessels that can be used for wine fermentation.

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Unnatural wine and a look at taste

Two articles just published on Jancis Robinson’s website.  These were my entries  to the writing competition she has been running to seek a new writer for the site.

The first article covers my views on the trendy topic of “natural” wine and my view that wine as we know it is “only an intermediate step on the road to becoming salad dressing”.

And the second part is look at recent discoveries on how the sense of taste works and why not everyone tastes the same things in a glass of wine.


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