Martin is a ‘lifer’ at GB, having lived and worked for several years in Jerez, and since 2004 in St. Albans, where he started the UK office. It’s not all been about Spain and Sherry though, as he has also worked in Bordeaux and Stellenbosch.
He is completely passionate about all things Jerez, so don’t expect a quick answer if you have a question about sherry! But then, he seems to know an awful lot about most things, and is an excellent choice for any quiz team.
He endlessly endeavours to stay fit and loves his hour’s walk across country to the office on summer mornings, always arriving full of enthusiasm and new ideas for the business.
His tipple of choice would be a glass of the limited release Dos Palmas, 8 year old Fino from the best selection of the Tio Pepe solera, lightly chilled with a plate of jamón.
Contact Martin Skelton
“Work hard, play harder!” is Melissa’s motto for life. We grew to love her when she was wine and spirits buyer for Sainsbury’s, and she started working as Sales Director for Gonzalez Byass UK in 2010. Member of the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino de Espana, as well as the Dame Chevalier of Champagne, Melissa is very even handed in her mission to encourage the great enjoyment of both Sherry and Champagne.
Whenever faced with that end of evening dilemma – one more or go home, there’s a chorus of “what would Melissa do?” No prizes for guessing the response…
Melissa loves nothing better than a glass of Deutz Cuvee William in her sunny Suffolk garden, and who can blame her?
Contact Melissa Draycott
Business Development Manager – London
Hailing originally from Poland, Marcin has certainly made his mark on the London food and drink scene over the previous decade or so. Previous roles as a Sommelier and 7 years working in the Wine Department at Selfridges have given him a great understanding of the needs of the restaurant and prestige retail sectors. Hugely passionate about wine in all its form, Marcin is frequently found holding forth in masterclasses and tutored tastings for restaurant staff and consumers. Joining the London Sales Team in January 2013, he quickly earned himself a terrier-like reputation for seeking out homes for the most prestigious wines in the portfolio.
Winner of the Champagne Academy Award in his Selfridges days, Marcin enjoys a glass of something rather special from Deutz or Domaine Zind Humbrecht’s Clos Jebsal.
Contact Marcin Schilling
Business Development Manager – London
Since starting out in the hospitality industry in 1997, Ivo’s dedication to his trade quickly shone through, earning him the accolade of Best Sommelier of Bulgaria in both 2001 and 2003. He left his home country for London in 2005, where he his roles as head sommelier and wine buyer at prestigious account including Joel Rebuchon gave him an in depth understanding of the ways of the UK trade. Ivo brought his expertise to GBUK’s London team in October 2017, and is happy to indulge his passion for sherry with a glass of Tio Pepe Fino, his go to tipple.
Contact Ivo Stoyanov
Business Development Manager – London
Sean grew up around food and drink with a family background in the hotel industry in Yorkshire. After studying history and travelling Latin America he decided it was time to get back to his number one interest – wine. After stints in wine retail in the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, Sean moved to the big smoke and has been working in the ever changing London on-trade for over 10 years. After a fortuitous holiday to “sherry country” confirmed to him that sherry is one of the world’s finest wines, Sean joined GBUK in 2018. Sean enjoys nothing more than travelling the wine and food regions of the world, gig-going and indulging in some cooking inspired by his travels, armed with a glass of Domaine Jones Fitou.
Contact Sean Flaherty
National Account Controller – Off Trade
Yorkshire lass Suzie is our queen of the multiples, having experienced the supermarkets from both sides of the desk with her background as a buyer. Combining her consummate sales professionalism with an astonishing ability to party, she makes everything look a lot easier than we know it is! Her commendable language skills come in handy when ordering rounds of more than “cuatro cervezas” for her team mates.
Constantly kept on her toes by two boisterous sons, Suzie loves a glass or two of Beronia Reserva Rioja to relax at the end of the day.
Contact Suzie Parr
Senior Business Manager – Multiple Retail
In 2011, Gonzalez Byass UK was looking to expand its Palomino-based empire Northwards. After several fruitless sorties outside the M25 the company was yet to find a suitable individual to meet its strict requirements; an intelligent, passionate and presentable wine enthusiast with own transportation. At the same time, a young Northern male was out foraging in the forests of West Wirral, searching for berries to ferment into something potent to sell to his neighbours. Frustrated with his job at the coal mines, he decided to erect some ‘Man+Van for hire’ signs around the North West in an attempt to find a new revenue source. One of these signs was seen by a wandering GBUK employee and the rest is history.
Director of Sales, Melissa Draycott said of Paul’s appointment “While we couldn’t quite find anyone in the North of England to meet all five of our necessary requirements, Paul does at least have his own transport”.
Paul can usually be found sitting on his rocking chair on his front porch drinking Cedro do Noval.
Contact Paul Shepherd
Senior Business Manager – Multiple Retail
One of GBUK’s founding fathers, Steve has worked as a business manager in the wine industry since modern records began. His huge experience, methodical approach and vast reserves of patience confer an air of Zen-like repose, make Steve a safe and reliable set of hands for a diverse selection of channels and accounts. It is no surprise that Steve also relies upon this acute mental discipline in his private life; perhaps when fishing or whilst enjoying a round of golf.
The not-so-recent arrival of a daughter has transformed this former urban wolf into the model rural father. These days he is more likely to be concentrating on his rigorous fitness regime than partying, but don’t be fooled – he still throws some mean shapes on the dance floor!
However, some things remain consistent; Steve likes nothing better than to relax with a glass of Quinta do Noval’s 20 year old Tawny.
Contact Steve Shield
Business Development Manager – Multiple On-Trade
Rob began his career in wine in a small independent wine shop in a quiet town in sleepy west Wiltshire. It was here he spent solitary Sunday shifts behind the till, sifting through wine literature. His first ever trip to Spain was in fact to Jerez as a 13 year old on an exchange and years later he went on to study Spanish and French at university, so quite fitting to have ended up with Gonzalez Byass!
Now a fully-fledged Londoner with a country soul, Rob is a very keen cook, loves playing guitar (he’s that guy who cracks out the guitar at parties), going to gigs, travel & adventure. When he’s not running round a tennis court, hacking round a golf course, cycling or hiking up mountains, he enjoys nothing more than to recline with a glass of Ritual Pinot Noir, with some of his favourite Django Reinhardt music playing in the background.
Contact Robert Markham
Business Development Manager – Midlands, Southwest England & Wales
After a long career in catering and the culinary arts, David joined Gonzalez Byass UK in 2013, looking after the Wild West and the Welsh Valleys. When not stuck behind a herd of cows or a flock of sheep he can possibly be found flying Tiger Moths and Microlights or strolling the Wiltshire downs and walking his imaginary dog along the Kennet and Avon Canal.
David is the true gent in the gang, and despite our best efforts to bring him down to our level, is rarely seen without a jacket and tie. However, we all know that appearances can be deceptive, and we have discovered that under that suave exterior lies a rocking karaoke singer!
An enthusiastic cook and seafood lover, his favourite meal would be of Lobster Thermidor or Oysters, washed down with a crisp, cold glass of Jackson Estate Green Lip Sauvignon Blanc.
Contact David Hayward
Business Development Manager – North England, Scotland & Northern Ireland
Hamish is truly nomadic by nature having grown up in Asia as the son of a Gurkha yet having English & Irish roots. He is yet to live in the same area for more than four years. Having gained much wine knowledge as a youthful, long haired cellar dweller for Corney & Barrow East Anglia he went on to tour much of England for Majestic Wines & Enotria & Coe. More recently he has found himself in the North East as there are a spoiling number of superb record shops to be found.
When Hamish isn’t avoiding phone signal by delving deep into Northumberland or the Yorkshire dales he can be found at home alphabetising his record collection of ‘miserable Scottish music’ whilst practicing his Geordie accent or amalgamating recipes in order to create the ‘perfect curry’. He is also a keen fake photographer, gig goer & reader of dystopian literature.
Hamish prefers life unfiltered, much like a chilled glass of Una Palma Fino paired with the glorious resonances of Biffy Clyro.
Contact Hamish Bredin
Business Development Manager – South East England, Greater London & Online
Starting his career with GB as a member of the marketing team, Rich moved into sales when his head was turned by the lure of the open road. Affectionately known as the office hoover in marketing, less affectionately known as a biscuit thief in customer services, his absence is expected to lead to an obesity epidemic in the office, as food remains curiously uneaten within 5 minutes of arriving in the office. Hobbies include nature photography, rescuing hedgehogs and attempting to exercise enough to justify his eating.
Originally from Warrington, with subsequent spells in Bath, York, Newcastle and Windsor he has now become a respectable married man and dad to two daughters, and only occasionally indulges his penchant for dubious dressing up and drinking from shoes.
There’s not much that Rich doesn’t drink, but his particular favourite is Disznoko’s glorious 5 Puttonyos Tokaji with as many desserts as he can muster.
Contact Richard Witter
Joining GBUK in January 2009 for a six month stint, it appears that Alison must have enjoyed herself as she is still here ten years later. Having been in the wine trade for rather more years than she cares to count, she is in her element when thinking up new and often slightly bizarre ways to enthuse the great British public about our wines.
Country living mum of three, with a bouncy rescue dog and two cats, she loves salsa dancing, making endless plans to redecorate her house and wondering what the term ‘spare time’ refers to.
Spoilt for choice, her favourite tipple of the moment is a chilled bottle of Pazos do Lusco Albariño by the stream at the end of her garden.
Contact Alison Easton
Senior Brand Manager
Making budgetary control look like an art form, we are convinced that Sarah was put on earth to prove that it is possible to fully understand a spreadsheet, complete with pivot tables, and still be someone you want to spend time with. Responsible for our range of authentic Sherry, she is a hugely experienced brand manager, combining cool resolve with a flair for impeccable implementation. She somehow found time to complete a Diploma in Digital Marketing.
Busy mother of three, Sarah is also obsessed with challenging herself to run crazy races, so it comes as no surprise that Sarah has hefty reserves of tenacity, patience and commitment.
Her hectic schedule allows for little opportunity for relaxation and the only thing that keeps her going is the thought of a glass of ice cold Tio Pepe at the end of the day.
Contact Sarah Pollard
Senior Brand Manager
Born and raised in Hertfordshire, Steph fell in love with all things vinous working for Majestic, and was Manager at Gerards Cross before moving to Gonzalez Byass UK. Priding herself on her organisation skills, Steph is currently undergoing counselling for her obsessive compulsion to write lists. We have a secret competiton running to see if we can find something that she has forgotten to put on her to do list – no winners to date, but we are ever hopeful.
A keen painter, in her spare time Steph can be found indulging in her artistic side, cuddling her adorable baby boy, running around after her boisterous spaniel Jake, or just curled up on the sofa with a glass of Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Pinot Noir.
Contact Steph Hill
Senior Brand Manager
Born in the shadow of the Worcestershire sauce factory and raised in Cyprus, Ben has also spent some time in Northamptonshire and Lesotho. His wine journey began in Cadiz, Spain where he spent much of his time relaxing on the beach with a glass of ice cold fino. After a year Ben had to leave the sun behind and return to Leeds to finish his degree in History. On completing his studies he turned his hand to wine making in Portugal. With his new found wine knowledge joined Majestic Wines in January 2013.
Slightly disconcerted at his facebook profile picture resembling something from a bad 1980s album cover, we originally thought Ben might be a tad moody, wafting around in a long coat and looking wistfully into the distance. We couldn’t be more wrong – his smiling face lights up the office, and his ability to block out all the girl talk he is surrounded by is legendary.
When Ben is not sailing or scuba diving in exotic waters, you can find him shouting at University Challenge or whipping up a gourmet treat with a glass of Blecua or Rangen de Thann in hand.
Contact Ben Wyse
Junior Brand Manager
On joining the marketing team, Helen quickly curried favour when she started bringing in her delicious baked goodies and lovingly made cakes into the office! Working closely with Sarah and Alison, Helen looks after Gonzalez Byass Sherries, Vilarnau Cava and our new baby, Croft Twist. Always armed with a cheery smile and a can-do attitude, she tackles everything we send her way with enthusiasm.
Helen’s rather strange love for pigs has her crowing over all things porcine. Her ideal day out is a trip to the micro pig petting zoo or the dream of course would be a holiday to the Bahamas to visit the Pig Beach in Exuma. Even stranger are her frequent sneezes, which are disturbingly like a guinea pig.
A keen summer festival goer, Helen rocks the flowers-in-the-hair and wellies look with a glass of chilled Croft Twist in hand.
Contact Helen Yates
Brand Support Executive
Billie brings a touch of glamour to the office and knows more about the latest fashion, beauty and shopping than anyone. She joined the team in January 2015 in a marketing admin role and has now moved into brand support, working closely with Steph, helping to turn her brand vision into a reality.
Outside work, she is kept busy running around after her two young children. When she manages to get a rare night off, she likes nothing better than getting together with her friends with a bottle of Vilarnau Cava. The question – should she go for pink or blue? The answer: both bottles are so pretty, she’ll have to take one of each. Cheers!
Contact Billie Goodman
Assistant Brand Manager
Emma supports Ben on his brands which include Champagne Deutz, Quinta do Noval and Domaine Zind Humbrecht. Originally from Decanter, her vast experience in all things events definitely comes in handy when organising our annual trade tastings and often the Christmas party!
In her spare time, she can be found at home in her art studio where she enjoys creating paintings to exhibit locally in St Albans.
Contact Emma Jones
Marketing Admin Assistant
Kat is the newest addition to the marketing team, joining us as Admin Assistant in February 2019 as the go-to person for general marketing queries and anything the rest of us don’t know.
With a background in consumer facing roles in retail and hospitality, Kat’s cheerful smile and can-do attitude brighten up the office.
When she’s not trying to keep us and the piles of boxes in the office under control, she will be found doing something healthy and energetic in the gym, on her bike, or walking her two dogs, Monty Napoleon and Missy.
Kat’s perfect evening is spent planning faraway travels while eating steak and chips with a glass of a full bodied red like Secastilla Old Vine Garnacha.
Contact Kat Anderson
Customer Services Manager
Despite only scuba-diving once on holiday, Kerry’s greatest wish is to cage-dive with Great White Sharks! No less exciting, but slightly safer, her day job is right at the sharp end of GBUK, processing customer orders, ensuring that these are delivered accurately and on time. Kerry loves to travel with her family, having already been to Australia twice (show off), Greece, Israel and Spain. When not pounding the cross-trainer in the gym to the gentle rhythms of the Kings of Leon, she can be found enjoying a chilled glass of Wirra Wirra Twelfth Man Chardonnay with her friends.
Contact Kerry Reid
Customer Service Administrator
Born and raised in Harpenden, Kim joined the Customer Service team at Gonzalez Byass UK in January 2015.
In her spare time, Kim enjoys travelling to places such as Thailand, Australia, South Africa and visiting her family in America.
Kim is often getting out her running shoes for charity and has taken part in many runs including the Moonwalk and the London Marathon. Her wine of choice is Beronia Rioja Reserva.
Contact Kim Anderson
Customer Service Administrator
Janet is a founder-member of the GBUK team, although, not content with the balmy St Albans’ climate, she did temporarily move her desk to a beach in Spain. Jan is a compulsive list maker (bordering on OCD), has excellent attention to detail, and is a great listener, especially when its Adele or Ed Sheeran on the gramophone. She loves being by the sea, reading and music, and is passionate about good food and wine, especially Vilarnau Cava Rosé. Jan’s motto is – Life is not a dress rehearsal.
Contact Janet Betchley
Morag has been our Part Time HRD since 2013, she is the one that is responsible for pulling together the brilliant team of people that work in our business and for ensuring that once they are here they rarely leave – we’re never sure of her tactics. It didn’t take her long to be fully absorbed in our business and she has become quite adept at consuming our brands – she says its really important to know a company well to be able to provide great HR support, we’ll believe her, thousands wouldn’t. She ensures we are all developing and growing in our roles and that we have a great company culture. When she is not doing things all HR, she is dashing all over the country with her cycling mad family. If you are interested in finding out more about opportunities, get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Morag Woodliffe