Meet the lecturers

If you undertake any of the WEST qualifications with the WoEWSA,it is our responsibility to make sure you get the best lectures for the job. This is why we call upon many people throughout the wine trade who have vast experience and knowledge, this enables the subject area being discussed to really come alive and and allow you to get a better insight of the wonderful world of wine.

Enjoy reading about the lectures who you’ll meet as you explore the beauty of the wine trade.

Christopher FieldenChristopher Fielden has given WSET lectures for more than forty years, both locally, nationally and internationally. He has written sixteen wine-related books, including two text books for the Trust.  Other subjects include Burgundy,Alsace and South America. Commercially, he has launched on the British market a number of prestigious wine-brands, including Jacob’s Creek, Marqués de Cáceres and Felton Road. He worked for four years in Burgundy and has visited more than one hundred countries around the world.





Aidan BellAidan Bell. I started in the wine trade as an auctioneer, before moving to Howells of Bristol in 1995, a traditional wine merchant with a focus on helping clients build up cellars of wine whilst on overseas postings.  In my role as buying director this involved purchasing significant amounts of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne and smaller quantities of fine wine from other classic wine producing regions in the world.  Howells was purchased by Lay & Wheeler in 1999 and during the following three years I worked closely with their buying team which involved regular trips to Bordeaux and Burgundy and overseas sales trips to Hong Kong and Singapore.  In 2003 I joined Averys as Fine Wine Manager which had recently become part of the Laithwaites empire, the brief was to develop fine wine sales and during my time there we re-introduced en primeur tastings for Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhone and grew sales significantly.  In 2009 I started Davis, Bell & McCraith Wines with former colleagues – Richard Davis (Formerly MD Averys) and Susan McCraith MW (Formerly Buying director at Howells and a central buyer at Waitrose), the business focuses on private client sales, both en primeur and back vintages and operates from a shop in Clifton Village, Bristol.


Ed AdamsEd Adams MW joined the wine trade in 1983 working at the long since gone Howell’s wine shop in Bristol. After working a while with Ted Hale MW near Bath he moved to London where he worked for a wine warehouse and then Wines From Spain. It was then 7 years as a wine buyer in Manchester with the Co-op until 1994 (passing the MW in 1991) and then a move to sleepy, rural Shropshire and Western Wines. Ed helped to establish the Kumala brand and by the time Western Wines was sold in 2004, annual turnover was 7 million cases.Since 2006 he has been working on his La Báscula Spanish wine range with South African winemaker Bruce Jack. The best, he says, is yet to come…



Charles CrawfurdCharles Crawfurd MW 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.



Raj_Soni_RS_Wines_Biog_Oct2013Raj Soni started R.S Wines in 1985 in Bristol, and the company has remained fiercely independent for well over twenty five years.


A pioneer of the term ‘Real Wine’, Raj’s philosophy is that wine should be a natural product with real character and should be made with respect for the environment. He works with many artisan and family wine producers who share his philosophy and believe in sustainable methods of production.


For more than 25 years Raj has been tasting wine and selecting wine, and he has great knowledge and experience ranging from the very top Bordeaux and Burgundies, right through to the ‘new kids on the block’. He speaks regularly at wine dinners and tastings and his knowledge and passion is genuinely reflected in the wines that he chooses for the R.S Wines portfolio.

Raj’s expertise in wine and food pairing means he works closely with many Chefs and Restaurants advising on, and choosing wines, and is frequently involved in ‘wine & food events’. He has built many relationships over the years with Wine Growers and Winemakers, and regularly arranges for them to come to the UK for dinners and tastings.

Raj has been Chairman of the West of England Wine & Spirits Association during which time he reinvigorated the wine education programme.

When not involved with all things wine and food, Raj takes part in challenging events – earlier this year the Bath half marathon and most recently in September, the Dart 10k Swim.


Matthew HemmingMatthew Hemming MW is the Fine Wine Manager at Averys Wine Merchants in Bristol.  He joined the wine trade via the traditional ‘retail apprenticeship’, starting with Averys in 2002, fresh from university.

Early on Matthew realised that tasting fine wine was what he enjoyed most, so he allied himself to John Avery MW, assisting at as many tastings as possible.  Through John’s mentorship Matthew won a place on the Len Evans Tutorial, in Australia, in 2005.

Matthew gained the Master of Wine qualification in 2013, writing his dissertation on business strategies and trends amongst the independent wine merchant sector.  Outside of wine – particularly those from Burgundy and Australia – Matthew’s a keen mountain biker, although his enthusiasm surpasses his skill!