This month we are introducing Will Monroe, our Fine Wine Sales Executive based in London. Will had no idea he was going to work in wine. After moving to London and working in a restaurant, his passion to learn more soon began and lucky for us, it wasn’t long after that he applied for his first role at C&B as Sales Support. He very quickly settled in to the team and shortly after became Sales Executive, managing his own customers.
Q: Tell us a bit about you and your role at Corney & Barrow?
I’m a 26 year old originally from Cumbria that works in the fine wine sales team in London. I look after private customers who usually want to build up a cellar for both long and short term drinking. I help coordinate many of our En Primeur, broking and stock offers and especially focus on making sure our exclusivities get the attention they deserve. When we’re not in lockdowns I usually help out a bit with events too. I am also currently helping spearhead the setup of our new Cellar Club.
Q: How did you end up working in wine?
I had no idea I was going to work in wine when I was younger. I dropped out of University after my first year with the idea of moving to London to get a job. I did my first WSET that summer, mainly out of interest, but when I started working at a restaurant called Moro, in Exmouth Market, I started getting more and more into my food and wine. They put me through my level 2 WSET which only developed this further. Tired of the working hours I looked for jobs in the wine industry (knowing very little) and I happened across a Corney & Barrow job post. Embarrassingly at the time I really had no idea who the company were but saw on the website they sold some rather expensive wines. I emailed my CV and was called in for an interview for a Sales Support Admin role. Despite only looking about 12 years old I got the job!
Q: Our Bordeaux campaign will launch at the end of April, can you tell us a bit about this and your thoughts on the 2020 vintage?
This will be our second Covid vintage so none of the sales team (myself included) will be able to go to Bordeaux to taste the wines, we’d usually be there around now. Instead we will be getting them sent over to the office. We haven’t heard much about the quality yet, apart from a few enthusiastic mumblings from the region. If they price the wines well, like last year, we should expect demand to be high. 2020 does have a nice ring to it…
Q: For customers who don’t know much about Bordeaux wines and want to learn more, what advice would you give them?
How about these:
1) Don’t only go for the ‘names’. Bordeaux is an enormous region with hundreds of different options, (some good, some not so good). The top estates may have a bad year while some unknown wines are outstanding. Only focusing on the ‘big names’ of the region will limit your experience, as well as end up costing you a lot more.
2) Explore. Some of my most pleasurable Bordeaux moments have been with wines from ‘lesser’ communes such as the Bourg, Cotes de Castillon and Medoc.
3) Don’t only follow ratings and scores. You may end up being typecast as a ‘cherry picker’, which no one wants, and you don’t want your wine cellar to be based on one critics taste. Even if you find your palate is in line with a critic still experiment. Also read your wine merchants tasting notes, we taste a lot and love wine!
4) Don’t only buy because the vintage has been ‘bigged’ up. A top producer will make a good wine every vintage. Wine is still a natural product subject to weather and all manner of different things. Enjoying the subtleties each vintage has is part of the experience.
5) Buy white and sweet too. Bordeaux isn’t just famous for its reds, they produce some stellar white wines that can match up to the best white burgundies and the hedonistic Sauternes are widely considered the best sweet wines out there.
6) Speak to your merchant. We love giving advice (who doesn’t) so if you have any wine related questions never hesitate to contact your merchant, it is our job!
Q: You have been working on our new Cellar Club which launches on the 1st May, can you tell us about this and the benefits to becoming a member?
Our Cellar Club is designed to make buying fine wine less complicated for a beginner. The attraction towards buying wine from Corney & Barrow is a combination of our personal service matched with incredible list of producers we work with. The Cellar Club members will get the best of this in a more accessible format. They will be receiving bimonthly fine wine offers with a carefully put together list of around 8-10 wines in. This will include tasting notes and a small write up. They are getting a snap shot into some of the very best we have available without the weightiness and complications of our general offers that, let’s be honest, can quite confusing if you’re new to it all.
Q: When you are not selling wines what might we find you doing?
My main passion outside of work is music. Me and a few friends run a club night for electronic music which when things open up we will be looking to get going again. After that travelling, football (mainly watching now), yoga (anything zenny), cooking, documentaries, hiking, currently trying to get more into art and plants too! Lockdown has given me more time to find new hobbies.