Where did you first develop an interest in wine?
Whilst training to be an accountant in 1970 in Liverpool one of the companies I audited was an old established Wine Merchant and it didn't take me long to realise that this was a far more interesting occupation than accountancy!
Where was your first job?
With that same Wine Merchant in Liverpool (Thomas Baty & Sons) where I worked in every department from delivery boy to bottling/tasting and accounts.
Describe your role in The Oxford Wine Company?
Sales to the on trade - mainly concentrated around the Oxford area but can be farther afield.
What recent trends have you spotted amongst your customers?
People are always trying to find that elusive wine that tastes like a £10 bottle but only costs £3. Also restaurants are constantly striving to find wines not stocked by supermarkets.
What is the worst bottle of wine you have ever tasted?
Probably a red wine from Egypt! Also a Russian Cabernet Sauvignon. The Oxford Guild of Sommeliers twice asked their members to bring the most unusual bottle they could find to their AGM and I tried both wines on these occasions. They were disgusting!
And the best?
A simple choice: La Tache Domaine De La Romanée Conti 1989 in their cellars in Burgundy followed closely by Château Suduiraut 1967, a superb Sauternes that I picked up for about £7.49 in the 1970s and must now be worth something like £200 a bottle. Gorgeous wine from one of the best vintages and thought to be exactly on a par with Château d'Yquem 1967.
If you weren't in the wine trade, which career might you have chosen?
Interesting question, followed by a strange reply; a farmer or an airline pilot! The former because I enjoy looking after land and tending animals and the latter because I fancied travelling and a glamorous lifestyle and thought I'd be rather good at saying "This is your Captain speaking...!"
Who would you invite to a dinner party and why?
David Gower - loves his wine, Keith Floyd - loves his food and wine, Bob Marley - great music, Margaret Thatcher - has an opinion on everything! Errol Flynn - bit of a hellraiser, Goldie Hawn - touch of glamour and a laugh in! Christine Keeler - could tell a few stories.
Most memorable wine related moment?
Visiting Domaine de La Romanée Conti and tasting all their wines from one vintage. Or being at a London Auction House and seeing someone pay £58,000 for a bottle of wine and trip on the carpet and drop it on the way out!
What will you drink this weekend?
Marques Benito Garcia from Navarra. Best value everyday drinking red I've come across. I buy it from my local Leclerc supermarché in France and it costs 2.45 Euros or about £1.60 - now that's what I call a bargain.
What interests do you have outside wine?
Most sports whether watching or participating - mainly boules nowadays actually! Good food, travel and reading John Grisham & Clive Cussler. Most of my time is taken up with our property in France renting out our two gites, cleaning the pool, mowing acres of grass and coveting my neighbour's vineyard.