What do you do?
I'm involved in everything to do with wine, from the vineyard to the table. I'm responsible for the selection and branding of our wines, including the blending of our own brands. When I first joined Somerfield, my brief was very exciting. I travelled a huge amount, meeting owners in every wine-producing country to assess the calibre of their wineries and the quality of their wines. When I'm travelling, I can make three or four visits to a winery a day, tasting up to 100 wines per visit - I have my taste buds insured for £10 million. Once we've got the product, most of the job is about getting the sale.
How did you get the job?
I was a member of the wine society at Oxford. We had fantastic speakers - it stemmed from there. I was taken on at Saccone & Speed, moved to IDV, then Safeway in 1989. I went to Somerfield in 1991 as wine buying controller.
Does reality match the dream?
No. I know people who think tasting 70 bottles of wine is a dream job, but it is very hard work. It's fascinating and I love it, but when you're buying on our scale it is certainly not wandering around vineyards looking at barrels, tasting two or three wines over lunch. The reality is getting through 200 unfiltered wines at a big winery on a cold morning.