MICHAEL PALIJ MW
“The more I studied wine the more I believed that sharing my knowledge with others was essential if our industry were to continue to flourish. The rise of the New World in the early 1990's marked a fundamental shift not just in what people drank but in our relationship with wine. Almost overnight the centuries of snobbery that had consigned the vast majority of wine drinkers to an unpalatable diet of alcoholic sugar-water were over. Gone were the indecipherable labels and arcane language and in its place stood shelves full of easy to understand, delicious, uncomplicated wine. Having lived through that revolution I am certain that we must a) never let wine get that rarefied and b) ensure that we’ve not just burnt the books. There is a place for both the straightforward and the sophisticated. Sometimes it’s jeans and a T-shirt and others it’s a dinner jacket. Neither should be intimidating and neither is obligatory. What you drink is a choice; What I want to do is make sure it is an informed one.”
Title: Managing Director & Principal
Favourite Wines: Barolo, Champagne & Rioja.
Hobbies: I'm a full-time parent at the moment but running and cycling when I get the chance. Cooking when I’ve managed to run and cycle first.
Favourite quote from a book/film: Withnail and I: the part where Richard E. Grant quotes a Hamlet soliloquy whilst necking Margaux ’53.
Interesting/unusual fact about yourself: I originally studied Engineering at University. All my bridges would have collapsed, I’m sure!
If you were a wine what would you be and why: Barolo, shy yet assertive at the same time.
What 3 items can you not live without: moisturiser, steak & running shoes.
RUTH TANK DipWSET
Ruth has been working in the wine industry for over a decade, making wine in famous regions across three continents. She is now based in the UK, and worked as a researcher for the Wine and Spirit Education Trust before joining the WineMatters team in 2012. She gained her Diploma in 2014 and is now using her considerable expertise to help WineMatters deliver continuous improvement in the quality of our courses and continue to meet our students' high expectations.
Title: Head of Research and Transformation
Favourite Wines: Madeira.
Hobbies: Keeping fit.
Favourite quote from a book/film: "Always look on the bright side of life"
Interesting/unusual fact about yourself: I'm a qualified skydiver.
If you were a wine what would you be and why: German Riesling, because I like variety and intend to age well!
What 3 items can you not live without: FitBit, a good book and...corkscrew!
LEE ISAACS DipWSET
Lee started working the wine trade in 2002 after passing up a chance to study law at university. Since then he has worked primarily in retail and has run hundreds of wine tasting events. Lee has taught courses for various MW’s and MS’s including training sommeliers at the Dorchester, the Nut Tree and Le Manoir amongst others. His passion exceeds just the wine itself but extends to sharing his knowledge to inspire, entertain and enthuse. He has travelled widely and visits Argentina and Italy regularly. Lee holds the WSET Diploma and runs our courses in Oxford and Barbados.
Title: Head of Education
Favourite Wines: Italian and Argentine reds, German Riesling, Red Burgundy and Sherry.
Hobbies: Spending time with my family, playing the guitar, snooker, stand-up comedy (although not performing anymore you’ll be relieved to know) and drinking wine!
Favourite quote from a book/film: Charlie Chaplin’s speech at the end of The Great Dictator
Interesting/unusual fact about yourself: I have won various medals for fencing Epée.
Twitter handle: @wineman147
If you were a wine what would you be and why: Sherry: Understood by few, appreciated by even fewer!
What 3 items can you not live without: A corkscrew, my Gibson Les Paul and a notebook.