I’m a wine amateur whose hobby got a little out of hand.
I started getting into wine with some seriousness in the summer of 1994 during the long vacation between my first and second years at Oxford. Dad and I got a ferry ticket and took the car to France for 10 days. Where shall we go? Well let’s aim for Burgundy-ish and stop where we can. Dad drove overnight and we arrived at 9am in Chablis. The Office du Tourisme sorted us out with 3 nights’ B&B on a vineyard (Domaine de la Conciergerie in Courgis, then run by Christian Adine). From Dijon, we headed down the Côte d’Or via Vougeot and back along the Loire from Sancerre to Angers. The following year was Bordeaux and the Rhône in 1996. The rest is history, as they say.
I took my first wine course in 2004 – taking the WSET’s Level 3 Advanced in a block-week programme, before moving to Dublin to work for Diageo for a couple of years (in Finance, so nothing that exciting). After returning to London, I took Level 4 – the Diploma – between October 2007 and January 2009, graduating in January 2010 with a Distinction. I won the McNie Tasting Trophy for best Unit 3 tasting performance and the Hors Concours prize for the highest non-trade student. In October 2013, I bit the bullet and enrolled on the Master of Wine study programme. 4 years later, I passed all 3 sections and became a Master of Wine on 4th September 2017.
Outside wine, a Brief History of Tim: I grew up in south London and got the hell outta Dodge (Croydon) at the first available opportunity. After graduating with a first in Chemistry from St Edmund Hall (St Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1234, being buried 9km north west of Chablis, in the 12th century Cistercian abbey of Pontigny), I moved east, including 16 years in Rotherhithe. I’ve been a business strategy consultant before spending 2 years at London Business School, worked in finance and accounting, marketing strategy, creative agency planning and most recently financial services marketing, where I was the Marketing Director for specialist mortgage business, Enra Group.
I’m now, finally, doing freelance work in the wine world. That includes regular writing and tasting work for someone whose perspectives on wine certainly had a major influence on my knowledge and understanding of wine – Jancis Robinson MW. Her team’s work, including mine, can be found at jancisrobinson.com. Here are some free to read, Wine of the Week articles I have written:
- Mendel, Semillon Mendoza, 2017
- Domaine Maby, Prima Donna Tavel, 2017
- Oenops, Vidiano Crete, 2017
- Gini, La Froscà Soave Classico, 2016
- Doniene Gorrondona, Bizkaiko Txakolina, 2018
- Ledda, Tenuta Matteu Solianú Vermentino di Gallura, 2017
- Iona, Chardonnay Elgin, 2017
- Reyneke, Organic Chenin Blanc Western Cape, 2019
- La Rioja Alta, Viña Ardanza Selección Especial Reserva Rioja, 2010
- Meerlust, Rubicon Stellenbosch, 2016
I have also been consulting for British Airways on their future wine and beverage strategy, with particular focus on still and sparkling wines in the Club (business class) and First cabins.
I’ve spent 25 years on and off involved in rowing, coxing both men and women, before finally retiring in 2011 after losing my 3rd Henley Regatta final. In the same year, I also retired from marathon running with a 2:58 in Berlin; now I just do the Marathon du Médoc because the wine’s nice. Other than that, cycling up mountains, mostly in France, is a convenient excuse to visit wine regions.