‘Pre-eminence in the vine is so much Italy’s special distinction that even with this one asset she can be thought to have surpassed all the blessings of the world…’ (Pliny the Elder, d. AD 79)*
For me, wine is pleasurable exploration – through grape varieties, wine styles, landscapes and countries, and of course meeting producers and wine people. But I owe Italy a particular debt. While I have drunk the wines of Burgundy and the Rhône throughout my adult life, since 2005 I have immersed myself in the world of Italian wine and learnt the language. I started to write about wine and created this website in 2010. My background was in academic research and this instinct has been with me for as long as I can remember. My instinct to know about a chosen subject in as much depth as possible is accompanied by the desire to help others find their own path towards understanding.
Explain with authority
I am now a researcher and writer of study materials for the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, the world’s largest provider of wine education. Our distinctive role is to explain with authority, drawing on reliable sources and the best contemporary knowledge and understanding. Since 2015 I have worked on the top-level qualification, the Diploma, as one of the two principal writers of the completely rewritten Diploma study guide, launched in 2019. This was a massive project running to 400,000 words. I researched Italy for this project and, with the help of many other experts, also wrote the unit on Sparkling Wine, plus the sections on Italy, France, South Africa and China. I also contributed to the Wine Production unit and the section on New Zealand. In addition, I took many of the photos that appear in that study guide, as well as those on this website. It has been a remarkable journey of discovery, learning and enjoyment.
The Wines of Piemonte
On the back of my years of engagement with Italian wine, I am now working on a book on the wines of Piemonte, to be published by the Classic Wine Library. If you want to read about the twists and turns of this project, read and subscribe to the Diary.
For both this website and the research for The Wines of Piemonte, I am indebted to Janet Tomlinson, editor and companion. She has a great ability to ask the wider question, to challenge assumptions and to scrutinise my English. We make a great team.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Oxford MA and DPhil, Durham University BA
WSET Level 4 Diploma. Prizes awarded: The Champagne Prize 2013; The Wine Trade Club Paten Prize 2014
Master of Wine student, 2013-19, passed MW Theory 2015. Prizes awarded included the AXA Millésimes scholarship and the New Zealand Family of Twelve prize.
* Natural History, translation John F. Healy, Penguin 2004, p. 183