11 January, 2008

Mark Archer

Director, Vinology, Stratford-Upon-Avo


It's our round - what are you having?

A bottle of Dom Pérignon 1966 please. It might set you back a grand though.

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

Next week's Lottery numbers.

If you could have three wishes to improve your working day, what would they be?

Limitless time, a Caffè Nero handily located and the ability to speak in many tongues so I could converse with the many Russian, Chinese, Indian and European people who come in .

Does money motivate you?

Not particularly, but it helps.

Which celebrity do you most admire?

The 11 guys who wear the shirt of my beloved Birmingham City.

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise your friends?

I recently ate an animal's head at a restaurant in Barolo - I'm still not sure what animal it was though.

What are the most underrated and overrated wines in the UK market?

The most underrated are all Austrian wines and the most overrated is New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

What one thing or person is guaranteed to make your blood boil?

Gordon Brown and his increase in wine duty under the guise of ending binge-drinking.

What's the best advice you've ever had?

Never judge a book by its cover

rings true with customers - the scruffiest ones are usually the richest.

What's the best age to be?

Probably the age I am now as life is sweet.

What's your favourite ever drinks ad?

The Castlemaine XXXX ads are hilarious, although I wouldn't touch the stuff myself.

Can you give us an unusual wine and food matching tip?

Sure, amarone with haggis.

How long does it usually take you to break your New Year resolutions?

I don't make any but it does annoy me that my gym is always packed in January.

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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