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Clem Yates awarded Master of Wine

Published:  07 September, 2011

Clem Yates, in-house winemaker for Sainsbury's and creator of its first range of Fairtrade Taste the Difference wines, has been awarded the title of Master of Wine.

Yates, in-house winemaker for Sainsbury's since 2009, chose the subject of International Wine Challenge gold medal-winning Sauvignon Blanc wines as the subject of her final year dissertation.

During 2011, Yates has been the central driver in creating Sainsbury's first ever range of Fairtrade Taste the Difference wines, which includes wines of standout quality and at the same time, brings real benefits to the South African grape growing communities.

The expansion of Sainsbury's range of own label Italian wines has also been a core focus and has sent the introduction of a host of exciting new Italian varietal wines to the shelves such as a Brachetto d'Aqui and Marzemino.

Yates' role involves working closely with suppliers to blend wines and select unique parcels for both the House and Taste the Difference wines, whilst supporting the Sainsbury's buying team with technical expertise that ensures the quality of those wines from picking the grapes right through to the point when a customer opens a bottle.

Judith Batchelar, director of Sainsbury's Brand, said: "Clem's talents as a winemaker have been hugely important to the development of our own label wines.

"The quality and value that is inherent to our current ranges are testimony to her contributions and I am delighted to see her skills and knowledge recognised within this award by the Institute of Masters of Wine.

"We are very proud of Clem, who has worked tirelessly to achieve her MW while maintaining the highest level of commitment to making Sainsbury's wine the superb range it is today, with this year's medal count significantly higher than it has ever been before."

Sainsbury's is the only one of the major grocery retailers to employ full time winemakers to oversee the development of its own brand wines.