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Published:  23 July, 2008

A complete oral history of the British wine trade in the 20th century is being compiled for The British Library's National Life Story Collection, and organisers are appealing for the trade to suggest contributors. The project - entitled Cellar Stories: the oral history of the wine trade in the 20th century' - is being run by The British Library in conjunction with The Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) and The Vintners' Company. Charles Minoprio, current chairman of the IMW, commented: So much of the history of the wine trade in this country will be lost if we cannot record the stories of those who have worked in it, but whose lives will appear in the record book only in employee lists.' Dr Rob Perks, director of The National Life Story Collection, explained the choice of sound recording as the best medium for the project: Life story recordings on audio tape give interviewees the space and time to talk at length in a relaxed way, reflecting on aspects of their lives that they might not have talked about in-depth before. We aim to create a rich social history archive about the trade through the unique memories and voices of those who know it best.' Jane Carr, executive director of the IMW, is asking members of the wine trade to send her suggestions of potential interviewees. Almost everyone I meet in the industry knows a good story or knows someone who is a great raconteur,' she said. We will almost certainly have to limit the numbers - at least in the first phase - but we would like to make the first sweep as broad as possible, to ensure we do not miss important contributions.' Suggestions to: Jane Carr, executive director, IMW, Five Kings House, 1 Queen Street Place, London EC4R 1QS. Tel: 020 7236 4427;