06 April, 2007

Your shop is burning down. What three things do you grab?

The two bottles of Petrus 1997 we have, my iPod and all the cash I can gather.

It's our round - what are you having?

Prosecco with breakfast, claret with lunch (an '82 preferably), Burgundy with dinner, Champagne before bed.

What do you wish you had known when you started out as a retailer?

How important special offers are and to keep them simple.

When you're not working, how do you seek your thrills?

Hardly thrilling, but I play classical guitar, badly, and I have recently passed my PADI for scuba diving.

If you could choose anyone to be prime minister, who would it be?

Margaret Thatcher - let's dust her down and bring her back.

What do you recommend to a customer wanting to splash out?

Something really old if they are looking for a new experience. Our Biondi Santi 1968 would fit the bill.

What's the most over rated and under rated wine in the UK market?

The most over rated is anything from South Africa. The most under rated is Italy as a whole. Why travel half way around the world when there's so much right on our doorstep?

If your profits doubled tomorrow, how would you spend the money?

I'd blow most of it on gambling, booze and girls - the rest I would just squander.

How do you deal with irritating customers?

Ignore them so they don't come back. I have a low threshold of tolerance.

Is there such a thing as an irresponsible drink?

It's normally the drinker not the drink that is irresponsible.

What's your favourite ever drinks ad?

I've always loved the Guinness ads, the one with the toucan sticks in my mind.

In a nutshell your philosophy is:

You've only got one liver - don't waste it on bad wine

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English wine: a happy harvest for Christmas

All across England and Wales, vineyards are being harvested. Down winding country lanes come armies of welly-wearing conscripts wielding secateurs and buckets, ready to reap the rewards of our vines. Happily they come, their cheeks ruddy with pride. Half an hour later they’re crawling over muddy clods with lacerated hands, drenched in claggy juice and cold sweat, as if ploughing through an endurance race.

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know