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California Summit - Speakers

Published:  03 May, 2013


Tony Allen - category purchasing manager

Matthew Clark











Philip Amps - director

Amps Fine Wines











Ian Anderson - commercial development director and head of insight

Accolade Wines










Mark Andrew - senior buyer

Roberson Wine

Mark Andrew is the senior buyer at Roberson Wine in London, an award-winning importer, wholesaler and independent retailer that specialises in artisanal wines. In addition to a particularly strong French portfolio, Roberson Wine focuses on the most exciting low-intervention winemakers in California and represents many of the most exciting producers in the state. When Mark Andrew is not travelling to wine regions in search of the next big thing, he runs the acclaimed Roberson Wine.





David Beech - Business development director

Brand View










Neil Bruce - wine margin optimiser

Studio Alto

Neil Bruce has been in the wine industry for more than 20 years, working in different senior sales roles. He previously headed up the buying team at Bibendum and was the wine director at Waverley TBS. Now he is a wine margin optimiser at Studio Alto, established in August 2011. As an independent wine consultant for restaurants it aims to focus on increasing their absolute wine margin. Clients of Studio Alto include Living Ventures, Drake & Morgan, Darwin & Wallace, Covent Garden Restaurant Group, Las Iguanas, Carluccio's, two national hotel groups and two Michelin-starred restaurants, among others.


Damian Carrington - sales & marketing director

Fields, Morris & Verdin

Damian Carrington started his career in the wine trade carrying boxes into the new Oddbins store in Blackheath. After his "Oddbins apprenticeship" he continued in retail working for Harrods and Berry Bros & Rudd, before moving into the Berry's marketing team. A period of fine wine broking followed with Cave Cru Classé in London and New York. On his return from the US he worked for 10 years at Enotria Winecellars, rising to the role of head of marketing before moving to his current role as sales & marketing director of Fields, Morris & Verdin, which now includes the amalgamated Mistral Wines and Richards Walford portfolios. Fields, Morris & Verdin represenst more than 200 producers from around the world but is particularly proud of its portfolio of Californian wines, which includes Ridge, Frog's Leap, Tablas Creek, Au Bon Climat, Qupe, Bonny Doon, Birichino, Joseph Swan and David Ramey from California.


Vanessa Cinti - head sommelier/buyer

Cut at 45 Park Lane

Born in Turin, Vanessa Cinti brings a wealth of experience to Cut at 45 Park Lane with plenty of Italian charm. Accredited with the prestigious award of advanced sommelier by the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers, Vanessa Cinti has also worked at a number of acclaimed restaurants, including La Tour in Vail, Colorado; Remington's at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch (Colorado) and, most recently, as wine director at Wolfgang Puck's Spago at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch (Colorado). As a head sommelier, Vanessa Cinti has been instrumental in creating a wine list that features one of the largest selections of American wines in the United Kingdom.



Lucy Clements - Product development manager for wine


Growing up in the Barossa Valley in Australia and being surrounded by vineyards from an early age, Lucy Clements graduated in 2002 as a fully qualified winemaker with a degree in oenology (agricultural science). Between 2000 and 2008 she worked across 10 vintages, creating wines in in Australia, France and the UK. In 2009 she joined the wine distribution company Waverley TBS for two years, where she was responsible for sourcing wines from France, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the US. After that she spent two years working for Sainsbury's as a winemaker. Clements then spent six months in California working as commercial director for wine importing and distribution company Copestick Murray before joining Tesco in March 2013. She is responsible for creating and sourcing wines from France, the US and Portugal as well as the fortified wine selection.



Robin Copestick

Copestick Murray and Cornerstone US Wine Imports

Robin Copestick has had experience in the wine trade for about 30 years. He set up Copestick Murray in 2005 then Cornerstone US Wine Imports in 2006. Copestick Murray ships more than 3 million litres of wine from the US each year, while Cornerstone currently blends and distributes some 20 different wines in California and Arizona.






Chuck Cramer - wine consultant

C Cramer Wine Consultancy

As a California native, Chuck Cramer consults for CA wineries such as Clayhouse, Kenwood and Michael David, as well as The Wine People in Italy.  He specialises in establishing agency agreements in the UK and US and supporting distributors with sales & marketing campaigns.







Christopher Delalonde MS - head sommelier

Boundary Restaurant

Christopher Delalonde joined Boundary Restaurant in 2011, having previously worked at the Square for 10 years, including six years as head sommelier, and as head sommelier at Claridge's. Before moving to London, he worked at several restaurants in Paris, including two years as head sommelier at Alain Passard's three Michelin-starred restaurant L'Arpège.






James Doidge - managing director

Wine Treasury

Becoming interested in wine mainly as a result of many childhood holidays in the Beaujolais area with French grandparents, he studied French and German at Durham University. While working as wine buyer for Capital Corporation, a high-end casino group which no longer exists, his interested in California wines was raised. In 2000 he joined specialist importer the Wine Treasury. He has visited California most years since and is now the managing director and buyer for the Wine Treasury. Currently James Doidge is studying for a Master of Wine qualification and will have his exams in June.



Eileen Ginger - wine buyer


Eileen Ginger has been in the drinks trade for 26 years, starting off in the procurement team at Thresher then moving to look after the Whitbread on trade businesses from 2000. Eileen Ginger has procured various products over the years, including cider, confectionery and glassware. She has been buying wine for the Whitbread Group for the past 12 and a half years and in her time there she has looked after wine lists for Marriott, Cafe Rouge and TGIF. Her portfolio now includes soft drinks, spirits and RT's, as well as wine for the whole Whitbread group including Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Taybarns, Table Table, Costa Coffee and Premier Inns.



Alex Hunt MW - purchasing director

Berkmann Wine Cellars

Having cut his teeth as Oxford University blind tasting captain, he worked for Oddbins and Mayfair Cellars before joining Berkmann in 2006. Alex Hunt is a member of the World of Fine Wine tasting panel, and has considerable judging experience both in the UK and abroad. Since February 2012 he has written a monthly column on taste and tasting for He became a Master of Wine in 2010, winning the Madame Bollinger Medal for excellence in the tasting exam. His MW dissertation was on ripeness trends in California.




Keith Isaac MW - general manager

Patriarche Wines











James Hocking - director

Vineyard Cellars (the Vineyard at Stockcross)

After leaving school and spending nine years in banking, he quit, joined Oddbins the following week as a "cellar rat" and joined the wine trade folding cardboard, stacking cases and driving a white Ford Transit. When Rick Stein at The Seafood Restaurant was expanding the business, James Hocking became the beverage manager. Having been a "proper wine snob" for many years, Hockings perspective of wine was altered by a bottle of 1992 Peter Michael Winery Les Pavots which a friend brought to dinner. He has learned over the years that California's true north coast (Napa, Sonoma & Mendocino Counties) rivals the greatest Bordeaux and Burgundy. He was in at the start of Vineyard Cellars, first as retail sales manager, followed by general manager and, for the past few years, as director. It is Europe's only exclusively-Californian wine merchant and sells its wines to a select group of hotels, restaurants, other merchants, and direct to consumers.



Christian Jacobsen - head sommelier and operations manager


Christian Jacobsen, who hails from Copenhagen, began his career as a dishwasher, quickly climbing the ranks to the role of waiter where he gained a profound insight into and interest in the world of wine. Adamant he wanted to turn this new-found passion into a career, he trained hard and landed a role as a sommelier apprentice at the highly regarded Salt Restaurant & Bar in Copenhagen before moving to MASH, Copenhagen, in February 2010 as the commis sommelier. He was promoted to head sommelier just a year later. Award-winning Jacobsen has an impressive list of accolades for someone of only 26, including winner of the Nordic Sommelier Championships 2011 and the Danish National Sommelier Championships 2013, as well as 13th place in the 2013 ASI World Cup for Sommeliers in Tokyo, Japan, where he narrowly missed out on a spot in the final 12.



Andrew Marsden - brand consultant












John McLaren - director

Wine Institute of California

John McLaren is the UK director of the Wine Institute of California, the generic body for the wine industry of the Golden State. He came to the Institute in the 1990s from a background in wine-buying - for Selfridges, House of Fraser, and as a consultant to a number of restaurants and multiple retailers - and journalism.






Andrew Shaw - head of buying


Andrew Shaw's career in the wine industry began on the production side when he rather optimistically worked in a vineyard in Somerset as a teenager. He trod a well-worn path through Oddbins' branches before working vintages in both New Zealand and Burgundy. In 2002 he helped set up the award-winning independent wine merchant Stone, Vine & Sun, where he stayed for five years before joining the Waitrose buying team. In 2012, he joined Bibendum as head of buying with responsibility for ranging, purchasing, supplier relationships and new product development.



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