The seeds of Demetri’s long-standing appreciation of wine were sown young: “My grandfather in Cyprus had vineyards,” he recalls, “and I remember as a child walking through them, and how romantic and fascinating it was.” This appreciation of both the emotive nature of wine, and also the mud-on-boots aspect of viticulture inspires Demetri’s vinous interest to this day.
Despite his early grounding in wine, Demetri’s route into the trade was an unconventional one, coming to us via a brief stint in the army, a spell in Australia working as a jackaroo, a degree in property surveying and also a number of years in new media, and head-hunting in that industry. “However, I knew my real interest and enthusiasm lay with wine,” says Demetri, “and I was looking for an excuse to make a break into the industry. Sometimes, life leads you – and a company I was working for went bust: it was the prompt I needed.”
Having joined the firm more than a decade ago, Demetri recalls Berry Bros. & Rudd’s fledgling Private Events business: “It was all great fun, though rather less professional than it is today. Now, the emphasis is far more on our expertise: we are able to talk to our customers with such conviction, and the level of authority we possess really is second to none. Add to that the exceptional service and food, and you see what a remarkable experience we are offering.”
Demetri was recently made a Master of Wine, his thesis for which brought him back to his formative interest in Cypriot wine. “I really like to champion the wines of Eastern Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as fortified wines, and evangelise about our small but pretty Hellenic wine selection,” he says. “But of course, the main thing that the MW has taught me is objectivity and how much there is still to learn.”