Alastair entered the Wine
Trade in 1968. He joined London merchants Berry Bros and Rudd Ltd in 1970 and
became their wine director in 1977. He left in 1986 to run the Oxford and
Cambridge Fine Wine Company.
In 1992, he set up First
Growth Productions, which made wine programmes for BBC and corporate productions
for some of the Trade’s biggest names including Moet & Chandon, Taylor’s Port,
Symington Family Ports, Lafite & Mouton Rothschild (for Waddesdon Manor), Cos
d’Estournel and Pichon Lalande. First Growth helped create the video footage for
Vinopolis in South London and their wine programmes are part of the WSET
Advanced Level curriculum.
In 2006, he set up the
UK’s only residential wine school with his wife Carol. The Devon Wine School,
20 minutes north of Exeter, has 5 luxury bedrooms that have gained
VisitBritain’s coveted 5 Stars, with their Gold Award for exceptional quality of
accommodation and customer service.
The school offers a wide
range of tastings, dinners and lunches for beginners to budding Masters of
Wine. The school was identified by Jonathan Ray of the Daily Telegraph as one
of the top 10 places in the UK to learn more about wine. The Devon Wine School
is an Approved Programme Provider for the WSET and clients include Gidleigh
Park, the Abode Exeter, Porthminster Beach Café and Young’s Brewery.
Carol, a professional
cook, offers superb food which complements the school’s tastings.