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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3 Responses to Caroline Gilby Master of Wine. About Me

  1. Elwin Arens says:

    Dear Ms Gilby,
    I think that we share a wine passion for the beautiful wines of Hungary. I just thought I drop you a line to tell you that I really enjoy your enthousiastic articles (recently the Hungarian Red for Decanter). Please keep up the good work. I there would be such a thing as “Hungarian Wine Ambassador” you would certainly qualify (too bad the Hungarian Marketing Board does not have a clue about promotion).
    Anyway, many thanks and all the best.

  2. Hi Caroline,

    I would be quite keen to get in touch with you.

    The Drinks Business is promoting a Bulgarian Wine Masterclass at 14:30 on Minday June 2nd at the London Wine Fair and it would be great if you could come along.
    You can register here –

  3. Colin Rose says:

    Way back in the early 1980s I answered a personal ad in the Listener and so started a phone relationship with an Armenian who supplied me with East European Wines, at first cheap wines from Georgia, Ukraine and Armenia. Some of these where horrible, some delightful and some intriguing.
    Later I started to get better quality wine, notably Rkatsiteli, Saperavi, Negru de Purcar and Kodru. The Purkar wines from the 50’s and 60’s came with beautifully hand written labels and sealed with wax. These wines were a revelation.
    I introduced a friend with the capacity to buy dearer wine from the source, and it ended up with a phone call and an urgent request to buy all the stock of the fine wines, which Mick did and our contact disappeared. Alas the few remaining bottle my friend still has are now well past there best.

    Great that now we are able to restock and explore wine from the region, and wonderful that the wines have you as an ambassador.

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