Perhaps my proudest accomplishment in the wine trade has been graduating as a Master of Wine (MW) in 2014, a qualification as prestigious as it is difficult to achieve (there are currently only 340 Masters of Wine in the world, of whom just over 100 are women). Along the way, I managed to win four out of the seven prizes awarded in 2014, including the Outstanding Achievement Award, which is given to the graduate who excelled across all exam disciplines (tasting, theory and dissertation).
In 2015, I was also shortlisted for the inaugural Pio Cesare Food and Wine Writing prize at the annual Louis Roederer Awards, the Oscars of the wine writing world.
The path I took to get there was long and winding. After a rather chequered start to my career (I ran a catering company part-time while at university, then worked in film and TV production, PR and book publishing), I stumbled into my first job in the wine trade in 2000. I started off freelancing as a copy editor at Decanter, then was offered a gig as deputy editor for the magazine’s website. I left in 2001 to begin freelancing as a journalist, specialising in wine and food, and have written for numerous prestigious publications, including Decanter, Square Meal, Imbibe, Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine, Jamie Magazine, Harpers and The Drinks Business. My online work has been published by timatkin.com, wine-pages.com and matchingfoodandwine.com.
My early experience of working in the on-trade led to a six-year stint as a section editor for Square Meal’s restaurant guide. I also consult for restaurants, helping them buy wine, create their lists and train their staff, and have worked with a wide range of places, from Sat Bains’ 2 Michelin-starred restaurant to my local gastro-pub. I also work as a consultant for private clients, wineries and the UK wine trade.
I am a regular panel chair at Imbibe’s Sommelier Wine Awards and a senior judge at the International Wine Challenge. I also chaired the judging at Georgia’s National Wine Competition, and have been a member of wine judging panels around the world (France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany and the Czech Republic).
In addition, I host wine events, seminars and tutored tastings for private clients and members of the wine trade.