We go to great lengths to persuade the world’s finest wine writers to share their knowledge with our readers. We seek to blend unrivaled expertise with less familiar (but no less important) voices, drawing on experience while, at the same time, nourishing and promoting new talent.
numerous awards, including the André Simon, Glenfiddich, Lanson, and Veuve Clicquot. His revised third edition of The Complete Bordeaux was published by Mitchell Beazley in May 2017. Additional interests have enabled him to compile three anthologies: The Oxford Book of Dreams, The Penguin Book of Infidelities, and Opera: A Penguin Anthology. He also enjoys travel and the theater.
Sarah Abbott MW is founder of wine marketing consultancy Swirl. She has been visiting Georgia since 2013. Since 2017, she has run the UK promotional program for Georgian wine on behalf of the Georgian National Wine Agency.
Sarah Ahmed, The Wine Detective, is an acknowledged authority on the wines of Portugal and Australia. In addition to publishing thewinedetective.co.uk, she is a regular contributor to Decanter, a columnist for the Portuguese
Bruno Besa is from Friuli but has been living and working in London since 1986. After almost 20 years working in hotels and restaurants, he founded Astrum Wine Cellars in 2001, with Max Folli and Stefano Benato from the groundbreaking brigade at Stefano Cavallini Restaurant at the Halkin Hotel. Since his days as head sommelier there, Bruno has been highly respected for his passion and commitment to artisanal wines and for bringing attention to a number of exciting areas, grape varieties, and wineries, as well as championing the classics. Today, he is managing director of Astrum, representing some 50 wineries and distilleries from Italy and Central Europe.
Jim Clarke is an in-demand writer and speaker on all things that are wine- and beer-related, contributing to both consumer and trade magazines such as Sommelier Journal, Beverage Media, and Wine Enthusiast, as well as newspapers like
The New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle. Jim was part of the New York restaurant scene for over ten years, working as wine director at Megu, a high-end Japanese restaurant, before moving on to spend two years rebuilding the wine program at Armani Ristorante in the clothing company’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue. In September 2013, he left the restaurant industry to become the marketing manager for Wines of South Africa.
magazine Revista de Vinhos, and she also writes for other respected titles. She has contributed to leading reference books in her areas of expertise, including The World Atlas of Wine, The Oxford Companion to Wine, and Hugh Johnson Pocket Wine. Since 2011, Sarah has been the regional chair, Portugal, at Decanter World Wine Awards. She regularly judges in Australia and Portugal.
Chloe Ashton was young when her wine story began, thanks to her eno-curious father and regular trips between England and France. After reading classics at Kings College London, she followed her nose to Bordeaux, where she immersed herself in the region’s wine. During her formative professional years with Fine+Rare Wines, Chloe developed her understanding of wine investment across key markets. She now leads the marketing department of fine-wine intelligence agency Wine Lister, delivering price-performance analysis and market insights to producers, merchants, and collectors.
Essi Avellan MW is Finland’s first Master of Wine. For her MW studies she wrote her dissertation on single-vineyard Champagnes and won both the Lily Bollinger Medal for best taster and the Tim Derouet Memorial Award for best overall student. A leading Champagne and sparkling-wine specialist, Avellan is the author of several wine books and has revised the fourth edition of Tom Stevenson’s award-winning Christie’s World Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wine. She is on the jury of the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships.
Michel Bettane is France’s leading wine critic. Born in Maryland, he graduated in classics, which he proceeded to teach from 1975 to 1991. He contributed to La Revue du Vin de France for more than 20 years, most recently as its editor. He also co-writes, with Thierry Desseauve, the acclaimed annual Grand Guide des Vins de France. After wine, his greatest passion is listening to classical music.
Raymond Blake is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. He is one of Ireland’s leading wine writers and was wine editor of the highly regarded Food & Wine magazine from its launch in 1997 until it went online in 2019. He has also written for numerous other publications, principally on wine but also on a diverse range of topics, including food, travel, classical music, education, history, and culture. He is the author of three critically acclaimed books, including Breakfast in Burgundy: A Hungry Irishman in the Belly of France (2014) and Côte d’Or: The Wines and Winemakers of the Heart of Burgundy (2017), the latter shortlisted for the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards 2018. Raymond and his wife, violinist Fionnuala Hunt, have owned a house in Burgundy since 2006. He is much in demand as a presenter at themed wine dinners, tutored tastings, and other events.
Stephen Brook studied at Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1982, after many years as a publisher’s editor, he became a freelance writer specializing in travel and wine. He has won
Harry Eyres has become one of the most eloquent advocates of the worldwide Slow movement. Having worked for leading newspapers and magazines as a theater critic, wine writer, and poetry editor, in 2004 he created the Slow Lane column in FT Weekend. Promoting the thoughtful enjoyment of the often uncostly and uncostable pleasures and values that make life worth living, Slow Lane ran until 2015. He has published a volume of poetry, Hotel Eliseo, and gives regular poetry readings. Eyres is also the author of The Beginner’s Guide to Plato’s The Republic, the memoir Horace and Me: Life Lessons from an Ancient Poet (shortlisted for the PEN/Ackerley Prize in 2014), and Seeing Our Planet Whole: A Cultural and Ethical View of Earth Observation. His wine books include Wine Dynasties of Europe and the Viking/Penguin Guide to Cabernet Sauvignon. He was editor of the Which? Wine Guide 1995–6. He lives in London and enjoys playing tennis and the piano.
Simon Field MW studied French literature at Oxford and then, for whatever reason, doggedly pursued the qualification of a chartered accountant. The silver linings of various French postings were mainly vinous and prompted the somewhat unexpected career move to shop assistant in his local Oddbins in Belsize Park. More than two decades of buying for Berry Bros & Rudd ensued, where he specialized in the wines of Spain, Champagne, and the Rhône Valley, inter alia, passions that he now indulges somewhat less formally but, if possible, with even greater pleasure.
Victoria Daskal grew up in Boston, MA, studied psychology and economics at McGill University, and, following a year in finance, moved to France to discover wine. She completed the OIV MSc in wine management in 2008, which took her through more than 45 wine regions and led her to London for an internship with Jancis Robinson MW. She dived into the UK wine industry, working in sales, marketing, events, freelance writing, and wine education. Victoria is a certified WSET tutor, IWSC judge, second stage MW student, and managing editor at The World of Fine Wine. She is particularly interested in French, Italian, Iberian, Eastern European, and traditional-method sparkling wines.
Ken Gargett was born and bred in Brisbane, Queensland, and studied law at Queensland University. On a break from fishing on the Great Barrier Reef, someone opened a good bottle of Port, and so commenced a serious obsession. Further studies and work followed in London; Washington, DC; and Sydney—but
10 | THE WORLD OF FINE WINE | ISSUE 69 | 2020