Where did you first develop an interest in wine?
At home with my parents. My father was seriously into wine and drank top class Burgundy and Mosel which he bought mainly at Christie's. I was given a small glass of wine with meals from the age of 5 which sort of got bigger as I got older!
Where was your first job?
Oddbins in High Holborn. This was 1985 and we always had a bottle open at the end of the counter for staff and customers to try. Customers would ask what we were drinking and we'd point to the bottle and tell them to help themselves - as often as not they'd buy a case. Those were the days.
Describe your role in The Oxford Wine Company.
After a number of different roles I've settled into running the Fine Wine side of the company and looking after PR, both areas that I really enjoy. I'm also involved with buying and updating our range and I'm often out and about presenting tastings to different groups.
What recent trends have you spotted amongst your customers?
On the Fine Wine side customers are much more price conscious than they were a few years ago. They're much more informed these days and know how the wine trade works. They compare prices over the net and are not easily taken in with marketing campaigns run by the big producers. They tend to buy en primeur if they can. They know their wines and quite rightly want value for money.
What is the worst bottle of wine you have ever tasted?
I don't generally remember that worst bottles, only the best. However when I was living on Crete during the summer of 2000 I used to get offered local barrel wine which varied between the quite pleasant to the totally oxidised. The problem was that if you refused the offer it was a serious insult to the person who had made the wine so you just had to drink it. I had no problem with the bottled wine and I really like retsina but I have always been sensitive to oxidation in wine which is why I don't drink fino sherry.
And the best?
A bottle of Château Lafite 1966 which I shared with a friend in 1978. It was drop dead gorgeous and had a finish which went on forever. It really changed my attitude to Bordeaux which I had never really enjoyed until that moment. I also remember the occasion because a couple of punk rockers with mohican hairstyles came past the window whilst we were decanting the wine and took the piss out of us!
If you weren't in the wine trade, which career might you have chosen?
Either film production (ideally directing) or playing the drums. I started making films at the age of 10 using my father's 16mm camera. He was keen for me to go to film school but I managed to persuade him to let me have a go at drumming and from that I sort of fell into the wine trade.
Who would you invite to a dinner party and why?
Six of my favourite female friends. I find women more interesting than men in general as they talk about people and emotionally related subjects that many men seem to have little interest in. Also I like being the only man in a group of women.
Most memorable wine related moment?
Making love in front of an open fire in a cottage in Norfolk in 1985 with an amazing woman and an incredible bottle of the Wine of the Infant Jesus from the Côte de Beaune.
What will you drink this weekend?
As it's my birthday I might treat myself to a bottle of La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 1994 - the best traditional Rioja made in my opinion.
What interests do you have outside wine?
Playing the drums, eating good food and enjoying good company.