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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A Lot of Bottle

A look at some of the technical reasons behind the enduring reign of glass in the wine world.  For The Wine Society blog

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London Wine Fair Reminder

Links for registering for both of my masterclasses on Hungary at next week’s London wine fair.

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Hungary at the London Wine Fair

Anyone who is coming to the LWF this year is invited to come and discover more about Hungarian wine.  I will be speaking at 12.30 on both Monday and Tuesday. there’s lots to discover for anyone looking for something different to liven up a wine selection.

HUNGARY at LWF, Full of Discovery-1

I will also be running some informal power tastings on the Wine of Hungary stand in Esoterica .  Full details of everything Hungary at LWF on this link:


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And the winner is … not me

But still really chuffed to have made the final five out of 180 entries in the wine writing competition.  And Jancis highlighted how popular my article on natural wines has been.

See here to find out more:

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Behind Blue Eyes and other tales from Prowein


Some thoughts on Hungary’s masterclasses at Prowein here.  Nice to see full masterclasses and a real buzz around what hungry has to offer the wider wine world.

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Origine by Diam launched across Europe

Closure company Diam Bouchage has launched a new more sustainable version of its technical corks.  Called Origine by Diam, it replaces the small amounts of synthetic micro-spheres and binders with natural ingredients, using rapeseed oil and beeswax.  The new closure also offers producers the option of slightly higher closure permeability, offering another tool to winemakers in managing their wine styles.

See Harpers news article  online here.


The new closure, along with its ingredients. Suberin from natural cork bark, plus small amounts of rapeseed oil derived microspheres and beeswax binder. 

Diam has been increasing its share of the closure market by around 100 to 200 million closures per year, and highlights significant share of Grand Cru Burgundy ( 35%) and Champagne (20%) as evidence that winemakers are happy with the quality and consistency of Diam closures. A visit in March to the closure factory at Ceret in Southern France showed significant testing regimes for structural consistency and anticipated life span, permeability to oxygen, resistance to liquid and testing for consistency of turning force required for Mytik sparking wine closures. The patented Diamant process using super critical carbon dioxide at 100 bars pressure guarantees freedom from TCA or cork taint.  The  new closure will join the premium Diam 10 and Diam 30 ranges and will be around 30% more expensive to buy due to high cost of the raw materials, but still comparable to a high quality natural cork.

So just a few images to show the difference between making a standard cork and the Diam process.

This is how corks are traditionally made – bark  planks from the cork oak, with the corks directly punched out of it, complete with all the natural variation in elasticity and challenges of contamination.


Then the Diam approach, which involves grinding up the natural cork bark into tiny pieces, removing all the lignin and other contaminants and leaving fine granules of suberin only. This is then purified through the Diamant process, before being moulded into shape with the addition of microspheres (these stop wine soaking into the closure)  and a binding agent.



Below images show newly moulded corks, pressure testing and oxygen permeability testing, quality control inspection, then  staining with methylene blue to test for permeability to liquid.


The Diamant process is patented but involves use of supercritical carbon dioxide to remove all traces of TCA.

Finally some of Diam’s customers.


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Romanian at Prowein

More details here.

Let’s meet at ProWein

      Now that we know about each other, come take a sip of history at Premium Wines of Romania‘s stand at ProWein 2017. You can find us at Hall 15, Stand G37 with 14 wineries from 11 wine regions.

     Caroline Gilby MW will host a daily tasting from 11:oo to 12:oo, talking about Romanian Wine Regions and the great terroir one can find here.
For an easier access, use the interactive map.

Those present at Caroline’s presentations will get to find out more about:

*on Sunday 19.03:
D.O.C. (Designation of Origin) Lechinta‘s secret of great Transylvanian wines; G.I. (Geographical Indication) Dealurile Satmarului‘s extraordinary region; D.O.C. Recas‘s fame; D.O.C. Dragasani‘s stories and D.O.C. Minis‘s red wines.

*on Monday 20.03:
D.O.C. Dealu Mare‘s famous wineries

*on Tuesday 21.03:
D.O.C. Cotesti‘s memorable single varieties; D.O.C. Cotnari‘s traditional grape varieties; G.I. Dealurile Olteniei‘s complex wines and D.O.C. Mehedinti‘s glorious reds.

Schedule a Meeting

When asked, what should one expect to hear there, Caroline Gilby MW answered very straight forward “I aim to show a snapshot of Romania through the lens of its wines. I like to give context and insight into the stories and people behind the wines, not just an analysis of winemaking techniques or over the top descriptive tasting notes (the audience can do this bit for themselves). I hope to show exciting local varieties and blends that are uniquely Romanian plus some international varieties to benchmark where Romania stands.

Store the events in your Organizer, here.

Romania has a long history in winemaking, but the first private winery dates since 1994. Caroline Gilby MW says that its still a relatively young industry, so still work in progress for many producers. “The best wines are of global standard, though most exciting when they clearly show a sense of their place of origin”.
Get to know the Romanian wine producers at this year’s ProWein.

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