Thisweek’s LDNER is Jim Gore, a Wine & Spirit Education Trust tutor at The London Wine & Spirits School. So if there was anything you ever wanted know about wine, he’s the man. Let’s raise a glass…
Where do you live in London and why?
I live just by Old Street roundabout with my boyfriend Stephen and I absolutely adore it. There is such a fun mix of things to do and we seem to be in walking distance of almost everything. I’ve become a tad obsessed with the strip of Vietnamese restaurants on Kingsland Road and many of them offer ‘bring your own bottle’ which as you can imagine is right up my street.
You obviously love wine…but what made you choose it as a career?
I have a science background and love cooking so in a way I am a greedy geek. I also love meeting new people so teaching about wine and spirits at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) seems to fit me like a glove. It is not often a serious hobby can become a career. I have to say that the people you meet are an added bonus, the wine and spirit business tends to attract passionate people from all over the world and I learn something new every day just by speaking to my students. My parents live in Burgundy and so I am not sure I could have avoided wine even if I had wanted to!
What tips would you have for someone looking to get into the wine world?
Try and work out what you enjoy and most importantly what are you good at. Do you have great people skills, are you good with numbers, can you present effectively, are you design focused? It is never enough to just ‘know about wine’, to form a meaningful career you need to have extra bankable skills. My advice to get ahead in the wine trade is to understand the UK wine consumer and there is no better way of doing this that taking a job in a wine shop. We train so many retail staff across the UK and they know their products backwards, working in that environment is incredible experience and might show you to which side of the wine trade you are most suited.
What are you favourite wines? Anything unusual that we might not have tried before?
I have just returned from a trip to Austria and have to say that I have become a great convert to Blaufränkisch, a beautifully soft red wine. If you enjoy Spanish Mencia, Italian Barbera or even Pinot Noir I would suggest having a go. For a wine that will really make me grin – it may sound old fashioned – but give me a full bodied, concentrated oaky Chardonnay. I used to say Burgundy was my area of choice but I am slowly leaning towards some New World expressions, Carneros in California and Hemel-en-Aarde in South Africa would be two to note down.
What would your perfect day in London be?
For one it would be sunny and involve fresh air and a walk by some water, preferably borrowing a friend’s dog. I’d then stop off at Borough Market and potter around for an hour picking up something delicious to cook for lunch. I may say I’d then take a nap before a few pints of craft beer at a dark and dingy comedy or cabaret venue, anything that will make me cry with laughter.