Liberty Wines Apprentice 2009
"A fantastic way of gaining well rounded experience in the trade."
After a long and nerve wracking interview process I was offered the position as the new Liberty Apprentice in August 2009 following on from Nicola and Michelle. I had just spent a few months working at the opening of the first London restaurant in a rapidly expanding group and having spent the previous 4 years managing a couple of smaller, independently owned bar/restaurants I knew very well what it was like to be busy! This was my opportunity to make the step into the wine trade.
I‘ve been equally busy over the last 2 years doing a variety of jobs within each area of the company. It has given me a great experience of how Liberty Wines operates, a greater understanding of the wine trade in general, and with the opportunity to meet and spend time with a number of winemakers, a much greater understanding of viticulture and the production side of the industry.
Studying for the WSET Diploma helps to complement knowledge and experience you pick up from working and tasting so it's a fantastic way of gaining well rounded experience in the trade.
For me personally the winemaking was a real highlight. This year in New Zealand, I took a more hands on role making additions, plunging the Pinot Noir daily, helping with inoculations, preparing and filling barrels and a huge amount of cleaning tanks and digging out Pinot Noir skins! I was given 800kg of Pinot Noir to make some wine myself so I made a couple of barrels using a small open top dairy vat. Natural yeasts with some nutrient additions only, the ferment went well once I got it warmed up! Spending some time in the vineyards and working as a cellar hand gives you a chance to see the winemaking process in its entirety.