Joel’s experience of the UK wine trade spans over 33 years. His passion for wine and his ability to assess and discover wines put him at the top of his profession. Through his consultancy he helps clients navigate the intricacies of the wine world whilst remaining approachable and engaging.
Arriving to the UK from his native Pyrenees, his early years were spent as a sommelier in some of Britain’s most acclaimed establishments such as Gravetye Manor in West Sussex (Relais & Chateau, 1 * Michelin), L’Ortolan in Reading (2* Michelin) and Lucknam Park Hotel near Bath (Relais & Chateau, 1 * Michelin). He also spent 12 months in Australia to understand the wine industry and he was awarded “the diplôme de la Saint Vincent” for outstanding wine service and promoting Champagne whilst over there.
Joel entered his first Sommelier competition in 1992, and was third in the final behind the winner, the legendary Gerard Basset MS, MW, OBE. It was his love for food and wine matching that culminated in him winning the Prix des Deux Cartes, whilst sommelier at Lucknam Park in 1993. Always curious and keen to learn further, it was in the same year that Joel successfully sat and passed the Wine and Spirit Education Trust Diploma.
In 2000 he became the Wine Development Director at Great Western Wine, overseeing 10 years of “en primeur” campaigns as well as being in charge of the overall buying policy for the company, and ensuring communication to all sales channels.His Wine expertise and in- depth knowledge of wine regions as well as his contacts in the vineyards helped in receiving three years in a row (2008-2009-2010) the International Wine Challenge Trophy for Regional Merchant of the year, as well as being voted in 2010 Regional Merchant of the Year by Imbibe Magazine Sommeliers Awards: “We have never given out a Regional Merchant award before but Great Western Wine deserves recognition. Nine Golds and 14 Silvers (half of them under £10) was a fine return, but just as noteworthy was the spread of awards: Portugal, Austria, Rueda, Champers, Barossa, Crozes....even a rare Gold for Bordeaux.”
Always looking for a new challenge and with his curiosity pricked by the emergence of organic and biodynamic practices in the vineyards, there was no hesitation in making the next move…. In 2012 Joel joined the newly formed Carte Blanche Wines, a wine company in its naissance and specialising in supplying Organic and Biodynamic wines with “tension” to the ever-increasing like-minded hotels and restaurants on the On-Trade.
After almost five years of fun and discovery and in his fiftieth year, it was time to look at doing what people had been saying for years…. why not bring all his wine expertise, enthusiasm, and his “six sense” for wine discovery to a new venture where all his clients and friends would benefit from and indulge in their passion for wines. JL Wine Consultancy, was established in February 2017, and together we will be writing the rest of the story.
“I was born in the right generation, during my formative years in the UK Wine Trade, it was quite easy for me to try wines from the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and get an understanding for these wines. I consider myself so lucky…. the “Gouges Nuits St Georges 1934 tasted 52 years later was stunning, and it is still engraved in my memory along with many other wines now only sadly available on rare occasions or in museums!"
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