When did you start working in the wine trade and how did you get into wine?
Wine has always played a huge part in my family life, whether it was a few bottles with Sunday lunch or being dragged around vineyards and wineries whilst on holiday. After finishing my degree the plan was to either apply for law school or head into the city. However, after a couple of months travelling through Europe, I decided I wanted to follow a passion rather than profession and applied for a temp position at The Wine Society. I was asked to interview the following day and, by the end of the week, I'd moved to Stevenage and I guess the rest is history!
Where have you worked before The Wine Society?
Joining The Wine Society as a temp back in October 2012 was my first 'proper' job! I spent a year and a half in Member Services, before moving to the Tastings & Events Team where I spent three and a half years. I joined the Buying Department in December 2017 and took over responsibility for buying from England, Greece and Hungary as well as accessories in 2020.
Are you a member of The Wine Society?
Absolutely! I signed up when I first started at The Wine Society and have been slowly recruiting all my friends and family ever since.
What regions or wines are you particularly passionate about?
I have a huge passion for the wines of Spain and Germany, with Rioja, sherry and riesling particular favourites. Other interests include California chardonnay and pinot, Burgundy, the northern Rhône and Greece. I love discovering new varieties/regions, so do my best to taste as broadly as possible, and am always on the lookout for wines with structure, freshness and personality.
Is there a memorable bottle that first turned you onto wine?
A cliché but one of the first wines that made me go 'wow' was Cloudy Bay. I was at a restaurant with my family when I was about 13 (hic!) and had a sip – I had no idea wine could taste like that. It's become trendy to hate New Zealand sauvignon but I'll never turn down a glass!
What are your interests outside work?
If I'm not sitting in a pub or restaurant then I'm probably walking to or making it back from a pub or restaurant. However, in Covid-times I've loved spending more time in the kitchen and eating at home. My first purchase of lockdown was an ice-cream maker so that's been put to good use. Sport is another huge passion - I will happily sit and watch an entire test-match from my sofa (although ideally at Lords with a bottle or two), and try and watch my beloved Bath Rugby whenever I get the chance. I also play hockey for my local team and try and go out cycling or running whenever I can (mainly to sweat out the wine/beer/ice cream), and am a bit of a film geek.
You can follow Matthew on Instagram @matthewthewinebuyer