About Derek

About Derek

I am lucky my career has been exciting covering a great span of time, to date 56 years in the wine trade. After two years in the Navy I went to Cambridge (Queens’ College) where I read Law and joined the wine trade in the great claret year of 1961 starting with John Harvey and Sons in Bristol.

In 1966 I moved to the wine side of Watney Mann soon to join IDV when Watney’s sold their wine company to them. During my time with IDV I passed the Master of Wine Examination (1968) and gained a love of Bordeaux through my involvement with Château Loudenne.

In 1972 I joined Whitbread as wine buyer travelling the world to build up and expand their portfolio and during my time with Whitbread (1977) I had an enjoyable year as Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine. Made redundant in 1985 when Whitbread sold off their wine company I founded Smedley Vintners selling it in 1999 and went on to develop the consultancy side of my life.

Today I am very involved with the City looking after the Mansion House, Guildhall, Aldermens’ Dining Room as well a s six Livery Companies. In addition I am consultant to Lincoln’s Inn, Carlton Club, Royal College of Physicians as well as tutoring wine dinners for the Oxford & Cambridge Club and helping Warden Abbey Vineyard in Bedfordshire( an association that goes back to 1986). I lead Wine Tours for Love Wine Food and I am a past Co-Chairman of the International Wine Challenge.