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Wine Club Team
Every two months over a thousand Wine Club cases are delivered to Wine Club customers across the country. Below are the profiles of some of the people that make this happen.
Barbara’s interest in food and wine was first kindled whilst living and studying in the south of France, and was further fuelled during her 10 years working for De Vere hotels. Joining our Customer Service department in 2011, Barbara has gained a broad experience within the company, and has ploughed much of her spare time into learning more about wine, recently completing the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits with Distinction. A Scot exiled in Hampshire, Barbara has not entirely forsaken the favourite flavours of her youth; when asked about her desert island wine, her instant response was, “Probably a well-chilled bottle of Raveneau Chablis… but that’s assuming there is also a limitless supply of Irn-Bru, of course.” Prioritising is clearly one of Barbara’s many strong suits.
Mark comes from a family background in hotels and restaurants and began his career in the Wine Trade in 1978. He ran his own wine business in Surrey from 1988 until it was acquired by Berry Bros. & Rudd in 2003; since then he has worked with Fine Wine, Buying and, latterly, Wholesale. Today he acts as the company’s Wine Director.
A Master of Wine since 1989, and also first UK winner of the Madame Bollinger Award as the top MW taster of his year, Mark spent many years behind the scenes with the Institute of Masters of Wine, teaching tasting technique to students internationally as an educator and culminating in the chairmanship of the Practical Exam Committee, supervising the wines, questions and marking for the legendary MW Blind Tasting Exams.
Mark is a consultant to H. M. Government as a member of the Committee to advise on the purchase and selection its wines, and also fulfils a similar role with other London institutions. When not striding miles across the glorious Hampshire hangers towards a suitable hostelry, Mark can be found in the concert hall, enjoying an eclectic range of music, ranging from the Shetland fiddle to Wagner and most points in between.
Fiona joined the Buying department of our wholesale arm in 2007, her interest in wine being sparked after a stint at Dijon University and some decidedly delicious bottles. Today she is a fully fledged Buyer, busy studying for her Master of Wine, and supporting Simon Field MW and Katherine Dart MW.
She believes that Mosel Riesling Kabinett is the perfect party wine – an unintimidating option that offers value, lower alcohol and an engaging balance of residual sugar and slatey, mineral character. She also classes herself as a supporter of Chile’s new wave, a movement of growers that are keen to showcase their diverse terroir and produce interesting wines rather than be known for making a cheap and standardised product.
Steve, our Despatch Manager, looks after the important task of ensuring all UK bound wine orders – including Wine Club cases - are delivered safely to all parts of the UK. If there is a place you want your case delivered to, he, with the help of his dedicated team of drivers, will ensure it happens.
Steve says he has had the pleasure of tasting some fantastic wines in his time at Berry Bros. & Rudd. He says ‘The region of Burgundy stands out for me, while for everyday drinking Australian Shiraz is fabulous’.
Simon joined Berry Bros. & Rudd in 1998, having spent several misguided but lucrative years working as a Chartered Accountant in the City. His passion for opera and travel is well suited to buying trips down the Rhône and into the darker recesses of Andalucia.
In addition to buying the South of France and fortified ranges, Simon is also responsible for purchasing wines from the Rhône, Champagne and the Loire. He gained his Master of Wine qualification in October 2002 and in 2015 was inducted into the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino, in acknowledgement of his outstanding contribution to the Spanish wine industry.
Catriona graduated from the University of St Andrews with a degree in French and Spanish and spent the first years of her working life at a Spanish petrochemical company. Having rapidly discovered a love for wine, she undertook a WSET Intermediate course and moved her career to the wine trade.
From 2004, she gained a thorough grounding in the trade as an Oddbins Manager and joined Berry Bros. & Rudd’s marketing team in April 2007, becoming a Marketing Manager in 2008. In August 2013, she moved departments and took up her current role as a Buyer, purchasing wines from Spain, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and South America.
Catriona won the prestigious Vintners' Scholarship and Vintners' Cup for the highest overall mark in her WSET Diploma exams. She passed the Master of Wine examinations in 2012, becoming Berry Bros. & Rudd’s first female MW, and was awarded The Robert Mondavi Winery Award for her exceptional performance across all Theory papers.
The wine industry presented itself to Will as an interesting stopgap between stints as a teacher in France, but it very quickly became a way of life. He loved foreign languages, travel and good food long before he fell in love with wine: “At its best,” he says, “this job combines all of those things. It also involves a lot of spreadsheets…”
Joining the company in 2014 as Buying Assistant, Will now works as a Buyer supporting Jasper Morris MW and Catriona Felstead MW. At the moment he is particularly excited by the wines of Galicia, where he feels top winemakers, equally fine terroir and distinctive, truly noble varietals are producing something special. When away from his desk (or indeed the tasting room), Will can be spotted riding his Brompton, sampling the odd IPA and indulging his penchant for Bruce Springsteen.
Jasper Morris MW developed a reputation as a leading authority on Burgundy while running his own importing business, Morris & Verdin Ltd from 1981 to 2003, at which point he sold the company to Berry Bros. & Rudd. He continues to work for Berry Bros. & Rudd as the company’s Burgundy Director, as well as keeping an eye on our ranges from Eastern France and wines at the more esoteric end of the spectrum.
Jasper has been a Master of Wine since 1985, is responsible for all the Burgundian entries in the Oxford Companion to Wine and contributes frequently to The World of Fine Wine magazine, among other publications. He also lectures internationally on Pinot Noir in general and Burgundy in particular.
Though a frequent visitor to the principal Pinot Noir growing countries of the world, Jasper now mainly divides his time between the UK and Burgundy. His reputation as a Burgundy expert was further enhanced in October 2010 with the publication of Inside Burgundy, a lifetime’s study of the vineyards and vignerons of the region, which has subsequently won the prestigious André Simon award for the best wine book of the year.
Katherine’s love of food and wine was sparked my gastronomically experimental parents, willing to try and offer her a taste of anything. After completing an MA in Literature and History of Art, Katherine found herself in Oddbins where over the next couple of years she embarked on the steepest and most exciting learning curve. Having obtained her Master of Wine in 2006, she joined Richards Walford which merged with our wholesale arm, Fields, Morris & Verdin, in 2013.
Today she is responsible for purchasing wines from Italy, Alsace, Germany, Austria, North America, South Africa and England; but has – in her own words – “a real soft spot” for Austria, enjoying not just Riesling but the lesser-known Neuburger, Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch. Beyond the working day she is kept busy by her two children and the inability to sit still – taking any spare moment to swim, run, jump ski or scuba dive.
Chris joined Berry Bros & Rudd in 2008 as the Warehouse Operations Manager. Chris is responsible for the secure storage and packing of wine deliveries from the warehouse facility in Basingstoke and oversees the team that pick and pack up all the Wine Club cases, ensuring each member gets the correct case and tasting notes. His favourite wines are New World, especially those with big, sense-smashing aromas such as Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc or the smooth, rich and creamy Pulenta La Flor Malbec.