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30 Under 30: Results 2024!

Published:  20 May, 2024

Harpers is delighted to present our annual rundown of the top-ranking members of the trade aged under 30 for 2024. The sheer breadth of quality applicants from across the UK, from cities to remote rural corners, truly gets better every year. Now in its third cycle, Harpers 30 Under 30 received over 100 applications (a mixture of self-nominations and via colleagues), with each prospective star deserving recognition. 

As needs must however, a select few have risen to the top – and what an array of talent sits among these pages. Achievements and glowing recommendations practically leapt off the page sentence by sentence, submission after submission. It is impossible to completely capture the extraordinary web of initiatives, projects and business endeavours currently connecting our talented younger trade members to each other and the wider industry. Rather, we aim here to highlight some of the key contributions from these fantastic up-and-comers, as a reflection of the UK’s wider talent pool.  

We believe all of this reflects rather well on the trade. As the industry faces major staffing issues, it is encouraging to see how much passion, drive and talent will soon be making its way into top leadership positions, if it hasn’t already. Three years in, we have noted that many of our finalists sit at the top of the age bracket (27-29). As you might expect, it’s those few years of extra experience and practical skills which help applicants to shine. We therefore encourage anyone who hasn’t made it onto one of our 30 Under 30 lists yet to try again next year.  

The results of this year’s 30 Under 30 was announced live today (20 May) at the London Wine Fair to a packed-out crowd. We hope you all will celebrate their achievements with us.  


Harpers canvassed the trade for nominations, creating a long list of potential candidates who were then invited to submit information against six areas of criteria: Leadership, Commitment, Communication, Innovation, Education and Sustainability.  

Judges then convened over two days, in separate groups to avoid employers judging their own employees, with scores then averaged out and awarded across the two groups. 

Judging Panel 

Katy Keating, MD, Flint Wines  

Kim Wilson, MD & founder, North South Wines 

Michael Saunders, CEO, Coterie Holdings  

Miles Beale, chief executive, WSTA  

Rachel Webster, global APP development director, WSET  

Regine Lee MW, MD, Indigo Wine  

Jo Gilbert, head judge and deputy editor, Harpers Wine & Spirit

Alexander James Lee Preston 


Meat Bread Wine 

Age: 28  

One of Harpers’ Top 25 Sommeliers in 2022, Lee Preston has since converted success working front of house into life as a business owner. Never content to sit still, the former Isaac At sommelier is now the owner of his own wine bar and deli, where he continues to draw on his specialism of wines from his home in Sussex.  

Ashley Mignot  

Assistant production manager 

Rathfinny Wine Estate 

Age: 29 

Mingot was a contender for our Leadership Award, having racked up impressive plaudits across the areas of winery management, recruitment and social responsibility. These span raising awareness of mental health initiatives among his team of staff, which can range from five to 12 members depending on seasonal operations, to seeking out educational opportunities outside the wine industry to the betterment of the business.  

Leadership Champion 

Ben Franks 

Chief commercial officer & head wine buyer 

Canned Wine Co. 

Age: 29 

It wouldn’t be fair to say Ben Franks’ star is on the rise. It has well and truly risen thanks to his numerous entrepreneurial endeavours, having co-founded the Canned Wine Co in 2019 and Novel Wines in 2016, while also running his own consultancy business. Displaying true entrepreneurial spirit, Franks was also commended by our judges for his approach to mentorship and sustainability. This includes advising and investing in the business founded by last year 30 Under 30 alum Jessica Summer’s company Mouse & Grape. A very credible and worthy leadership winner for 2024. 


Bradley Dorrington 

Owner / director 

The Wine Cellar BSE 

Age: 27 

Dorrington has made his mark in East Anglia with intimate, stylish neighbourhood wine bar The Wine Cellar (Bury St Edmonds) which offers a whopping 90 wines by the glass. His achievements don’t stop there. At the tender age of 23, he became a trustee for not-for-profit organisation A Passion to Inspire, which aims to bridge the gap between learners and employers within the industry.  

Camilla Easby 

Regional sales manager 

Hatch Mansfield 

Age: 29 

Easby has demonstrated a broad spectrum of skills in her sales role at Hatch Mansfield, where she is currently the sole account handler for two of the business’s largest partner wholesalers, Liberty Wines and Enotria & Coe. She is now in the process of studying for her WSET Diploma, while building her presence via various speaking events in a varied and multi-faceted role. 

Candice Le Dugue 

Trade relations manager 

Sowine Limited 

Age: 29 

Le Dugue has had something of a starry rise at Sowine Limited, a marketing and communication consultancy dedicated to BWS. Climbing the ranks quickly since joining in 2019, she successfully led the expansion of the company into London and now acts as the city lead on projects, while also taking on a secondary role as co-director of trade relations.  

Chloe Freeman 

PR and events coordinator 

Majestic Wine 

Age: 27 

Strategic foresight and creative decision-making have been key in Freeman’s trajectory, helping her to gain a prominent role at Majestic. She has been behind some of the retailer’s more high profile projects of late, including the step to lightweighting bottles in the Chosen and Definition ranges. She also spearheaded a collaboration with the Three Wine Men at a consumer tasting event to showcase a new brand – a move which was to pay off in serious sales uplift.


Daniel Bennett 

General manager 

Heft Restaurant + Inn 

Age: 28 

Bennett cut his teeth in one of the UK’s trendier outposts, overseeing the opening of Wine Freedom, a natural wine bar in Birmingham. Since then, he has continued to bring an adventurous drive to Cumbria’s Heft, by introducing a broader range of wines from Eastern Europe and further afield, while updating the list’s sustainability credentials.  

Den’e Van Wyk 


Simpsons Wine Estate 

Age: 26 

Operational excellence is just one of Van Wyk’s standout contributions to Simpsons Wine Estate. Since joining at the start of 2022, she has played a pivotal role in streamlining the estate’s data and record keeping processes, which proved vital during a tricky harvest period and helped to maintain the delicate rhythm of the estate’s winemaking operations. 


Desislava Lyapova

Head of content 


Age: 28 

Lyapova has made a splash during her time at investment specialist WineCap. Subscriber numbers are on the up thanks largely to a number of her in-depth research reports, which include deep dives into wealth management across the UK and US. She also established her own consultancy, Wine Words, four years ago at the age of 24.  

Elise Mather

Brand manager, Champagne & sparkling wine 

Mentzendorff & Co.  

Age: 26 

Mather has had a sparkling trajectory to her career so far in more ways than one. Her client list has quickly grown to include a number of top names, from Champagne Ayala to Hambledon Vineyard and Champagne Bollinger. She is now looking to take her understanding of the fizz category one step further by studying for her Wine Scholar Guild Champagne Masters, which started in April this year.  

Education Champion 

Elizabeth Mellish 


Gleneagles Townhouse 

Age: 28 

For sheer dedication to personal development and deepening her knowledge of viticulture, top somm Elizabeth Mellish takes home this accolade. While formal accreditations aren’t everything, Mellish has managed to build up quite the educational CV, holding certifications with the WSET and Court of Master Sommeliers, as well as completing a Master of Science in Viticulture and Oenology at Plumpton College. She has also been proactive in broadening her practical expertise, currently studying with the Italian Wine Scholar Guild, while also finding time to complete the Initiation Level of the Portuguese Wine Academy in London.  


Fabianne Jones

Brand manager, fine wine, international  


Age: 28 

Diploma student Jones’ strategic development skills set her apart from the crowd. Her in depth business reports on brand stewardship have led to tangible wins for the Gallo juggernaut, paving the way for the Californian business’s first luxury listing at Waitrose. Elsewhere, her passion for wine has spilled over from the hard graft of data analysis into a more people-focused arena. She has made a considerable effort to foster a culture of wine appreciation within the company, thus helping to fuel both product innovation and a more knowledgeable team.


Fran Jones 


Ad Gefrin 

Age: 28 

Judges clearly saw the knowledge, drive and creativity that Jones brings to her role at Northumberland’s Ad Gefrin distillery, where she has implemented several technical changes which proved to be game changers for efficiency and the quality of production. A previous stint at Three Wrens Gin distillery also led to the development of a new gin product, which was conceived and created by Jones. Soon to be released, it is yet another achievement to add to a growing list.  

Holly Salt 

Shop manager 

Hay Wines  

Age: 25 

Recent WSET Diploma graduate Salt exemplifies the dedication that forms the backbone of the UK’s indie retail sector. Coming across from the hospitality world, she took an educational sabbatical in South America where she immersed herself in Argentina and Chile’s eno-gastronomic culture, before fully diving into life at Herefordshire’s Hay Wines. In her current role of shop manager, she has made a number of impactful improvements, including creating space for emerging and niche regions, while demonstrating the many other skills in her professional toolkit.  


James Bonavia


The Merlot Man 

Age: 29 

Bonavia, aka ‘The Merlot Man’, has gained followers thanks to his unique offering of light-hearted, interactive blind tastings which aim to gamify wine events for Millennials and Gen Z. To top it off, Bonavia has been working on this project in his spare time while working at English rosé producer Folc. He is now up to 75+ tastings through his events business, helping to de-mystify wine for younger generations.  

Innovation Champion 

Jana Schauer 

Product lead 

Bordeaux Index 

Age: 28 

Innovation can come in all shapes and sizes. This year, the judges decided to award the title of Innovation Champion to Schauer who has made a sizeable impact in both her roles at Bordeaux Index and Liv-ex. As wine catches up in areas such as data collection and predictive/generative AI, it was felt that the industry very much needs people like Schauer, who is using her expertise creatively to propel the industry to greater heights and into a modern era of digital self-analysis.  

Commitment Champion  

Joshua Castle 

Fine wine buyer / head buyer  

Noble Rot / Keeling Andrew 

Age: 29 

“The industry is so hot right now with emerging talent and he’s such a big part of it.” This was the summary of one of our judges when discussing Castle, who has thrown himself wholeheartedly into his chosen profession. Currently halfway through stage two of his Master of Wine qualification, his enthusiasm and dedication for wine transcends the day job, blurring the lines of work, lifestyle and passion. Overall, a consummate professional who has more than proved he deserves this award.  

Katie Meechan 

Customer operations manager 

Accolade Wines 

Age: 29 

Meechan established herself as an integral part of Accolade Wines while helping to relocate the business’s transactional operations to India. Working both abroad and in the UK, Meechan was instrumental during the process of helping the business to translate oversees, while also helping to transform The Park – one of Europe’s biggest facilities – into a co-pack operation.  

Kayleigh Vidler 

Group head of wine 

Inn the Park / Chesil Rectory / The Three Tuns 

Age: 29 

Six years into her role, Vidler has become a true ambassador for the group which includes the Chesil Rectory. Some of her standout innovations include putting into place a single bottle list of ‘unicorn wines’ aimed at offering rare and exciting options, while also blogging about the restaurant’s unique en primeur model. These posts, which also cover topics such as organic Champagne, wine tastings and WSET training, have reached the general public and attracted a whole host of new visitors to the group along the way. 

Kieran Gibson 

National account executive 

Liberty Wines 

Age: 29 

Former sommelier Gibson stands out for his broad skillset: everything from helping Liberty Wines to prepare for upcoming DRS legislation changes to assisting WSET Diploma students with their studies. He can also often be found communicating either in person via speaking events or in print, having been featured in publications such as Food & Travel magazine. 

Kieren John Andrews  

Assistant head sommelier  

Maison François 

Age: 24 

Working in wine was perhaps always on the cards for Andrews, who grew up on a farm in the heart of Priorat. Since then, his passion for wine and travel has brought him to the UK, where creating beverage programs and training staff is all in a day’s work. He also finds time to run an export intermediary company in Barcelona. The aim of the business is to promote local Spanish producers that struggle to understand the complexities of the UK market, while also offering wine list curation for restaurants in Barcelona that cannot afford a full time sommelier.


Lorna Evans 

Senior account manager 

Phipps Relations 

Age: 29 

Three years into her role at Phipps, Evans now heads up the agency’s largest account, Rioja Wine, which involves managing a team of six. She continues to hone her skills with some highly visible accounts, including the IWC and Torabhaig whisky. She was also recently selected to join PRWeek’s very first Creative Mentoring scheme which aims to reframe how the drinks industry communicates with both the trade and consumers.  

Sustainability Champion 

Matt Gayler 

Operations director 

Ridgeview Wine Estate 

Age: 29 

Businesses are on their own unique sustainability journeys at the moment, with some individuals taking the cause close to their hearts. Gayler has been at the forefront of the sustainability work at one of England’s most celebrated estates, displaying a high level of personal responsibility for many of Ridgeview’s key milestones. This includes playing a crucial role with regards to its B Corp status, heading up working groups and renegotiating grape grower contracts, which incentivised growers to adopt sustainable practices. 

Mollie Rigby 

National accounts manager 

Liberty Wines Ltd

Age: 29 

With a strong digital marketing background, Rigby was able to make an instant impact at Liberty and has managed to grow online sales by 50% over the past two years. This was achieved by taking on responsibility for accounts such as Amazon and also acquiring new ones in the emerging ‘rapid retail’ category such as ZAPP. Like many other candidates, Rigby was praised by colleagues for going beyond the call of duty and putting her all into her work.  

Phoebe Cleary Rudd 


The Sauce 

Age: 28 

Cleary Rudd includes founding The Sauce magazine in May 2022 among her many achievements – a venture which was born out of a desire to support hospitality businesses as they reopened following the pandemic. Since then, a key aspect of the project has been to spearhead the expansion of wine and spirits content, while making canny use of influencer marketing. 

Communication Champion 

Pierre Anderson  

Special project operations manager for wine 


Age: 28 

Former sommelier Anderson has a strong logistics background, supporting several major internal projects dedicated to widening Sotheby’s’ reach worldwide. But it is his commitment to communication which really impressed the judges. From writing and running the social media for Three Wine Men, to being a vocal champion for the LGBTQIA+ community, Anderson is all about building community via his communication and mentoring efforts, and that is commendable.  

Sarah Baillie 

Group marketing manager  

The Scotsman Group 

Age: 26 

Communication is where Baillie excels, and these skills have helped her to rack up an impressive CV, from Edrington UK to Sipsmith Gin and now The Scotsman Group. When she isn’t creating content or producing extensive customer analysis, she can also be found communicating the breadth and quality of UK drinks as a guest lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. Presenting to hundreds of students in 2023 and 2024, Baillie speaks to business, hospitality and marketing students, while helping them to imagine a career in the industry.  

Zara Cassidy 


Majestic Wine 

Age: 26 

Cassidy stands out for her commitment to sustainability, which shines through so much of what she does at Majestic. This includes taking the lead on folding sustainability into existing initiatives such as the business’s seasonal Wine Club cases. Wines chosen by Cassidy include a range made from recyclable PET plastic bottles, while others hail from wineries which are fully powered by wind power. Others support social sustainability schemes such as The Pebbles Project.  

Zofia Dalkowska 

Wine specialist  


Age: 29 

Poland-born Dalkowska was bitten by the wine bug at Edinburgh University where she was the top taster for red wines during the Epernay-based final of the Pol Roger Tasting Cup. A job at Majestic soon followed and led to a position at Sotheby’s, where she has been championing women-led wineries.