We’re taking you behind the scenes here at Old Chapel Cellars and introducing you to the beating heart of our business – our people!
What first brought you into the world of wine?
I worked in hospitality for several years and eventually became a restaurant supervisor. Learning about wine and talking customers through the wine list quickly became my favourite part of the job. My mates started to ask me what to drink when we went out - I knew I was on to something when they trusted my recommendations!I jumped at the chance to work in a small independent wine store in Falmouth. After that sadly closed, I worked at Majestic for nearly two years. I joined Old Chapel Cellars in March 2022 with WSET One & Two under my belt, and I’m about to take Three (Advanced).
What’s your role here at Old Chapel Cellars?
What’s your favourite wine style?
I love oaky chardonnay. Some people still associate the style with those massively oaky Californian or Australian chardonnays of the 1990s, but these days you generally get a much more subtle and grown-up oak influence. I think in a good winemaker’s hands, ageing in oak adds layers of flavour and complexity and makes for a really versatile style of wine. When you read a wine description and it mentions oak it’s difficult to tell if it will be done well – that’s when the expertise of a small merchant comes in handy!
In what ways do you help people in store decide what to buy?
As I get to grips with the full range we have here, I’m able to offer personal recommendations. Some customers come in knowing exactly what they want, and I prefer to leave them alone – there’s nothing worse than having someone hanging on your shoulder!However, if people want a little guidance, I ask them questions about the occasion they’re buying for, and the styles of wine they prefer. It’s always good when you have a customer who’s up for trying something new and branching out.Lots of people come in asking for recommendations for a gift for a wine-loving friend. It can be intimidating to buy for someone who ‘really knows their wine’ – that’s where I think a little help comes in very handy.
What’s your favourite thing to be asked in the store?
To curate a case! I love being given free rein to get creative and put together a selection of wines based on the customers’ preferences. It’s a good opportunity to work within their parameters while introducing them to new wines they will love.
What bottle will you be taking home at the weekend?
I’ve found an Argentinian Cab Franc that I know I’ll love - Riglos Gran Cabernet Franc from 2017. I’m a big fan of this grape variety but I don’t think I’ve tried a premium Argentinian one before so I’m interested to see what they’ve achieved. The wines of Argentina have such amazing clarity and Cab Franc can be really complex – I think I’m in for a treat!
Which wine regions would you most like to visit?
Probably Rioja because I love Spanish food! Or maybe the Cape Winelands in South Africa…