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.
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 http://www.divino.bg and http://www.wine-pages.com.
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