How did you become a wine specialist?
Well, it has been a bit of a journey - I’d always had an interest in wine and started taking night classes in Cardiff to get some basic qualifications and increase my knowledge (and improve my palate!) - the more I learned, the more my interest grew. I decided to take the plunge and gave up a career in healthcare to start Bay Tree Wine. I completed my WSET Diploma in 2015.
What is it about your job you love the most?
I think the part I love most is the discovery of new wines that I haven’t tried before and then subsequently introducing them to customers.
What is it about wine that tickles your fancy?
I think it’s the diversity of grapes, styles, different countries and regions - there’s just so much choice!
Do you go for a wine on a Saturday night or are you sick of it by then?
Never sick of it! Although I usually save a bottle of something special for the weekend.
Who inspires you in the wine world?
That would definitely be Jancis Robinson who has done so much to open up the world of wine to everyone in an unpretentious manner.
Dare we ask, do you have a favourite wine?
That would have to be Champagne - namely Billecart-Salmon Rosé, which I think is sublime! KIN+ILK have it on their wine list.
What wine region in the world would you most like to visit?
I have a long bucket list! If I have to choose one I haven’t been to, then I think it would have to be South Africa - I’m really interested in the changes that have happened in the country and with the increasing quality of its wines. It looks a beautiful place as well.
What makes Bay Tree Wine Company special?
Well, it’s special to me because of the adventure I’ve been on - starting the business from scratch, watching it grow, making (lots of) mistakes, meeting great people, visiting great places and generally having fun.
I hope customers find it special by recognising our genuine interest in the quality of the wines we sell for their pleasure and enjoyment - especially new discoveries!
What’s your favourite season?
Personally it has to be winter = Christmas and skiing. My favourite wine season has to be summer when Véraison occurs - when the ripening grapes begin to soften and change colour and start to become sweet.
3 Interesting wine facts?
• There are approximately 49 million bubbles in a standard sized bottle of Champagne
• Wine drinkers have a 34% lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers - procyanidins, compounds commonly found in red wine, keep the blood vessels healthy and are one of the factors that contribute to longer life
• Les Amis de Farinet in Switzerland’s mountainous Valais region is the world’s smallest registered vineyard made up of just 3 vines - it is owned by the Dalai Lama
Quote to try to live by?
I once read a quote from Mark Twain that really stayed with me and that I’ve encouraged my daughter to live by:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
One thing you’re excited about?
Opportunities that are yet to happen.
At the moment I’m concentrating on holding regular wine tastings at KIN+ILK, which is on Cathedral Road. I think its a great venue - relaxing, informal with friendly and knowledgeable staff. The tastings always have a theme (fantastic Italian wines on March 23rd!) and the staff prepare delicious food to match. It’s a great way to try (and hopefully love) new wines in an easygoing environment - and is always a sociable evening.