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MW Exam

Is the Institute of Masters of Wine fit for purpose?

20 Jul 2014 | By Stephen Forward

It’s hard to imagine Jancis Robinson doing a stand-up routine at London’s Comedy Store isn't it? Yet, after reading her take on the recent Master of Wine examination papers it would seem to me that she has all the hallmarks of a good humorist.

Music played here

Are you hounded by PRS and PPL?

29 Jun 2014 | By Stephen Forward

Stephen Forward reveals his tedious encounters, wrangles, and squabbles with these two beguiling organisations.

Comments (3)


Cahors Malbec Days 2014 Rocks

26 Jun 2014 | By Marisa D'Vari

Curious about Malbec from Cahors?

Attention to detail is essential

Seven steps to successful sales

24 Jun 2014 | By Stephen Forward

I had one of those surreal dreams the other night that wouldn't be out of place in a Douglas Adams novel, where the whole world was inhabited only by a large population of Life Coaches. Everyone was really well organised, at peace with themselves and with each other, and all living a stress free life in sheer bliss.


Four key factors that impact retail sales

20 Jun 2014 | By Stephen Forward

I’ve tried many different sales techniques over the years. In fact I’ve tried almost everything from dressing up as an oversized pink flamingo, to standing outside the shop with a large machete in a sadistic pose threatening passersby to “buy my friggin wine or else!” Plus a whole host of other methods in between.

Wine Critics at work

Is being a Wine Critic the most pointless profession in the world?

16 Jun 2014 | By Stephen Forward

The answer is NO, of course it isn't, and to suggest so is frankly preposterous, outrageous, and totally insulting...

Tori Hayes

Victoria Hayes | Sales Manager for Cruise

My interest in wine began as a naughty child stealing sips of wine from my parents’ glasses but really blossomed as the Sales Manager for a prestige nightclub in Chester. Selling everything from Vintage Dom Perignon to Barefoot Rose, I was determined to know more and try more than anyone else. Beginning my WSET training with a distinction and continuing now with the total certainty of being a Master one day soon.

John Barfield

John Barfield | Millenial Wineman

Turned passion into profession without looking back. I’ve now been part of the UK wine industry since 2012 account managing private clients wine requirements. Outside of my job role my employer has sponsored me to complete my WSET diploma by 2016.

Stephen Forward | Essentially Wine

Founder and owner of Essentially Wine Ltd established in 2004, and specializing in importing and retailing fine wines from small producers. Prior to that I spent 20 years in the IT industry, the last 13 or so living and working in Switzerland running a computer services company.

Karen Capey | Business development manager BWS

Karen Capey is business development manager for beers, wines and spirits and is a frank and fresh voice in the industry and would be the blogger. She’s got over 20 years experience working within the industry. She lives in Leicester, is warm social person and enjoys helping independent and bigger brands to reach their potential.

Karl Walton

Karl Walton | Hennings Wine Merchants

Growing up in a North-West council house with an outside toilet and a coal-shed rather than a wine cellar and a Mother and Father who, with the exception of Christmas never touched a drop of alcohol I was hardly destined for a career in the wine industry.

Richard Saxton

Richard Saxton | The Graped Crusader

Richard is a wine blogger and writer who writes for a number of publications including Birmingham Post, Browse Bullring and Find Wine as well as for his own website and blog at www.thegrapedcrusader.co.uk.

Marisa D'Vari

Marisa D'Vari | A Wine Story

An international wine judge. (IWC, IWSC) and fine wine writer (London’s FT, Meininger’s Wine Business International, South China Morning Post, SF Chronicle, and many others), D’Vari is also a candidate in the Institute of Master of Wine’s educational program.

Lisa Johnston

Lisa Johnston | Wine Muse

Lisa Johnston is a wine educator, writer and wine business consultant who has a fascination for wine - in the vineyard, in the bottle and in the glass. An avid traveller, her plan is to visit every wine region in the world. On her blog, she shares the best finds and thanks to the ever changing nature of the subject at hand - this may take a very very long time. See more of Lisa’s work on

Athila Roos

Athila Roos | Head Sommelier

Athila Roos originally came from a Marketing and Advertising background in his home city of Sao Paulo. Having settled in London in 2005, his interest in wine really took off when he started at Bibendum Wine where he managed a tasting club, got his accreditations from WSET and headed an internal marketing campaign which led the company to win the “International Wine Challenge Corporate Social Responsibility 2010” and “The Drinks Business UK Green Company of the Year”. In 2009 he became ...


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