People always ask me how I got “into wine”. My answer has not changed over the years: it’s “food and people”. Wine is food. Wine is people. People cultivate the ancient soils on which vines are grown, people come together in tasting wine, people sit around the table, drinking the right wine (fizzy, vin de soif or a grand cru), eating a whatever-strikes-your-fancy. Then there is the magical chemistry of fermentation, the history and ecology of wine growing and making and the poetry around wine tasting.
Studying wine takes a life time, and I have always had a love for learning. I read politics and philosophy at Glasgow University but my interests were always wide ranging. Throughout my studies I worked in restaurants, which ignited my desire to pursue a career in the trade. After restaurants, I moved to wine bars, then to wine retail, and eventually arrived at Hedonism Wines. Wine just like any other discipline, necessitates assiduous perpetual study. So far, I have completed my WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits, but have not intention of stopping there.
Born to a Scottish mother and a Moroccan father, raised in Alsace, and living in the UK, I am a cocktail of influences, cultures and languages. Amidst of my tri-cultural upbringing certain things remained undoubtedly French: always having wine in the house, always having cheese in the house. Some British: tea and whisky. Others Moroccan, such as a cupboard full of spices and perpetually lacking enough vitamin D. From a very young age I was called ‘Ito the nose’ -not a bad nickname given the trade I now work in!
I joined the Hedonism team in February 2018 and have learnt so much since. In January 2020, I won the company award for Customer Service Excellence. I currently manage the USA Red section of the shop, although my fondest regions remain the Northern Rhone and Champagne.
Immanuel Kant once wrote “The good living that still seems to harmonise best true humanity is a good meal in good company (and if possible, also alternating company).” (Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View) - a statement which I fully adhere to (albeit not in 2020 for obvious reasons).