Committee

The Committee is made up of members of the Association and meets quarterly to discuss education, events, trips and industry news.

Mimi Avery
Mimi Avery Chairman

Having graduated from Oxford Polytechnic with a 2:2 at the height of the last recession – there were – unsurprisingly no jobs. So on my return form 6 months travelling I temped for Averys at the London wine Trade fair. The gentleman on the neighbouring stand said that his PA had handed her notice in and would I like to interview for the position. So my first job in the trade 22 years ago was for Christopher Fielden a Burgundy expert who wrote the book for the Wines and Spirit education trust entry level exam. From here I was ‘head hunted’ to London by the International Wine and Food Society and spent 5 years as Member Services Secretary, left to spend 3 months conservation diving in the Philippines and came back and applied for a Job at Averys as Customer Services in January 1999. I progressed through shop Assistant, assistant manager, manager, head of Corporate sales, assistant buyer, buyer (regions covered: Alsace, Austria, Beaujolais, California, Champagne, England, Germany, Italy(for a short while), Loire, New Zealand, South Africa) and now am Brand Ambassador. Brand Ambassador involves spreading the word of learning about and drinking good quality wines that are preferably bought from Averys.

Education (in wine) WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) advanced, Diploma and 1st year (of 2) MW (Master of Wine). Member of the Champagne Academy, Commanderie de Bordeaux a Bristol and Liveryman of the Vintners, Chairman of the West of England Wine and Spirit Association (WoEWSA).

Extra Curricular activities: Chairman of the Charltonians (old Boys of the Downs School), Committee Member of the Colstons Society, Member of the Clifton Club.

Interests include:

Travelling: I have been to Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Loire, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Red Sea, Bulgaria, South Africa, Nepal, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil (one day only, but to a winery) America, Russia, Galapagos, Ecuador and Peru.

Rugby, played No 3 at Polytechnic

Diving, I am a Rescue Diver, and have dived in Philippines – where I spent 3 months doing conservation diving to create 2 marine sanctuaries and to help educate the Local fishermen and their families in sustainable fishing practices.

Skiing, Sailing, Sewing, and Engraving.

Email: chairman@westofengland-wsa.com

David Scratchley Vice-Chairman
Geoff Collins
Geoff Collins Treasurer

Geoff worked for Joseph Travers and Sons selling wines and spirits before joining Matthew Clark & Sons where he went from salesman to National Account Manager. Geoff one of our past chairman following in the family tradition,started working in the wine and spirit trade joining his father at Joseph Travers and Sons in 1960, Geoff’s father had worked for this company for 35 years. Geoff then went on to join Matthew Clark and Sons for nearly 25 years working up from a salesman to a National Account Manager. When Martell was sold to Seagram, Geoff moved to Atkinson Baldwin and then to Direct Wine Supplies who were launching Freixenet Cava in the UK. Latterly Geoff worked for Arkells Brewery and then set up his own company called Grape Choice which he passed on to Beer Seller when he retired in 2004. Geoff has also held the post of Vice-President of the Licensed Victuallers.

Email: treasurer@westofengland-wsa.com

Tim Johnson
Tim Johnson Secretary & Education Officer

Having been an enthusiast for many years, Tim followed all of our courses and obtained his Diploma, and is now an AIWS and a member of the Association of Wine Educators. He tutors the level 4 course and is a member of our teaching team. he was, like Robert Parker, a lawyer ion  a past life, but apart form their mutual enthusiasm for wine, there, he says, the resemblamce ends.

Email: secretary@westofengland-wsa.com

Richard McCraith
Richard McCraith Membership Secretary

Richard has spent all his working career in the wine trade, starting with Gough Bros in Brompton Road in 1982. By 1986 he was working for Eldridge Pope and in 1989 came to Bristol to manage the Wine Library where he hosted many tastings for the Association. Richard established his own Off Licences in 1993 called Corks. He sold the Corks business in 2000 and created a new B2B internet business, winebinends.com. He was Chairman of the Association from 2006/7 leading trips to Austria and the South of France.

Email: membership@westofengland-wsa.com

Susan McCraith MW
Susan McCraith MW

Following a degree in French at Exeter University, Susan’s career in the wine and spirits industry began in 1987 working in France for Lillet in Bordeaux and then looking after duty free sales for Jas Hennessy in Cognac. On her return to the UK in 1990 she came to Bristol to work for Howells of Bristol Bin Club where she progressed to Director and became a Master of Wine in 1994. She moved to Waitrose as Senior Buyer in 1996 and stayed for ten years before leaving to set up her own business, Ethical Fine Wines. Susan also lectures the Wine MBA programme at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester and is a University of Bath qualified coach and mentor. She is a liveryman in the Worshipful Company of Vintners. She is married to Richard McCraith above (they met at a wine tasting!) and they have two children.

Lys Hall Education Officer
Charles Crawfurd MW
Charles Crawfurd MW WSET Tutor

I have been in the wine trade since 1972 (41 years), retired in 2008 from full time employment. Employers have included Saccone and Speed, Waverley Vintners, Stowells, European Cellars, Matthew Clark and Constellation Europe. Vintners Scholar 1974, Master of Wine 1977. Most of career in purchasing. Specialise in South America, South Africa, California and France but have sourced from all wine producing countries at some time. Experience of both bottled and bulk wines.

In retirement continue with lecturing on WSET courses level 1-4. WSET approved tutor. Also some consultancy work on sourcing wines from New World.

Current leisure interest include studying for Open University degree, walking, swimming skiing, voluntary work at Wells Cathedral, being a grandparent and enjoying life and freedom.

Email: crawfurdch@yahoo.co.uk

John Durston
John Durston

After National Service with The Life Guards, John became a Police Officer, retiring in 1984 with the rank of Divisional Commander. He then took up a post as Regional Inspector (South West) with The Wine Standards Board and when he retired (for the second time!) he set up his own wine business, Newbridge Fine Wines. John has been a member of our Association for many years and was the Chairman in 2008/9 as well as holding the posts of Honorary Secretary and Education Adminstrator. He holds the WSET Diploma and his principal interest outside the wine trade is bowls. He is Chairman of the Somerset County Bowls Association and also serves on several National (Bowls England) Committees.

Email: j.durston1@sky.com

Christopher Fielden
Paul Langham
Paul Langham

Paul and his wife Lynne founded a’Beckett’s Vineyard back in 2001. The vineyard is located halfway between Avebury and Stonehenge and is the largest vineyard in Wiltshire, with over 12 acres of vines. Paul has served as Chairman of the United Kingdom Vineyard Association.

Ben Franks
Vic Martindale
Vic Martindale

Like Tim, a long-standing enthusiast. I obtained my diploma in 2005 under John Durston’s expert tutelage and have enjoyed many WEWSA trips over the years. I worked in IT for many years and as a result now look after the WEWSA website. I was also an international sprinter, but then I discovered wine….