Louisa, what do you like best about working in the wine trade?
“Having only ever had experience in drinking wine before starting the business in 1997 with Graham Donaldson I had to learn very quickly on the shop floor! First reading Oz Clarke and then progressing to the likes of Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson. But the best knowledge can only be gained from visiting the wineries and this we did with such passion and abandon that it became an obsession! This gave me the experience and confidence to know how to source our own brands and agencies, all of which we ship direct and exclusively. However the greatest joy of all is being able to share them with my customers and watch their delight in finding new treasures as much as I do.”
What is your favourite wine and why?
“Gosh a tricky one! I think it would have to be Sherry as all bar the sweetest being made from the same Palomino grape. It displays such diversity from the dry, saline and yeasty Manzanilla to the sweet, nutty and oxidised Oloroso – not forgetting the elusive and accidental Palo Cortado in between! For the red it would have to be Nebbiolo from Piedmonte, notoriously difficult to grow requiring precision engineering and a lot of patience before bottling and after! When a Barolo is ‘in forma’ there is no red in existence that has the same amount of perfume and high acidity to balance the strong tannins giving one of the most tantalising wines.”
Tell us one little nugget of information about yourself?
“I worked on a prawn trawler in the Gulf of Carpentaria for 18 months, often not setting foot on land for three months at a time. The sea was wet but the boat was dry and to retain my grape quota and sanity I had to smuggle cooking brandy on board hidden in the stores!”