Richard Esling

A wine industry professional for over 30 years, and an experienced wine importer and merchant for over 18 years, Richard has passed all the main Wine Trade exams (some with Distinction and other awards) and is trained to Master of Wine level. He teaches on professional wine trade exam courses (WSET Certified Wine Educator), has conducted trade wine tastings, acted as wine consultant to restaurant and hotel groups and represented many wine producers as exclusive agent for the UK - an activity which he still pursues. He is also founder and principal of the Sussex Wine Academy.

Richard has also designed and taught wine tasting and appreciation courses at different levels and organised tours to vineyards in several European wine regions. He has recently been appointed as a judge on the prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition. Richard’s passion for wine has grown unstoppably since his first introduction to the great Bordeaux wines some 36 years ago and he continues to attend trade tastings, wine auctions and other wine events. One of his missions in life is to spread enthusiasm and knowledge of wine, particularly beating the drum for lesser known and under-valued wines and wine regions.



Gerard Basset OBE

Gerard Basset OBE MW MS Wine MBA and Best Sommelier in the World 2010

Gerard is recognised as one of the greatest wine professionals in the world. He is a World Champion Sommelier and the only person ever to simultaneously hold the Master of Wine, Master Sommelier and MBA Wine honours.Having co-founded the original Hotel du Vin Group in 1994, Gerard created and ran the Ecole du Vin, a residential weekend wine school at Hotel du Vin Birmingham. The group having been sold in 2004, Gerard now runs the Hotel Terravina in the New Forest, with his wife Nina. The Hotel which has been nominated as one of the best Hotels in the World,has recently merged with a restaurant group run by Michelin starred chef Alan Murchison.

Gerard has great experience of running tutored wine tastings and wine classes. He judges regularly at wine tastings for leading wine and trade magazines, such as ‘Decanter’ and ‘The World of Fine Wine’.


Oliver Moore - Consultant

A consultant to Chateau Wine Tours, Oliver has worked in the wine trade for longer than even he can remember. He has been Managing Director of several different prestigious wine companies in the UK, importing wines from producers not only in Europe, but all over the world. Currently he runs his own agency company and is responsible for the vast majority of champagne which is imported into the UK. He has a house in Burgundy, which is where his heart lies - apart from champagne of course. Born of a French mother and English father, Oliver runs the family vineyards in Meursault, Burgundy. He has been an importer of French wines from Burgundy, Champagne and the Loire, for over 35 years, finding good qualities for the traditional trade as well as for the larger distribution groups. In recent years the emphasis has been on champagne for the mass distribution in the UK. The UK is the first export market for champagne, with about 35 million bottles imported annually, and Oliver’s business’s share of this is quite significant. Oliver feels that interest in the UK in good quality wine is stronger than ever, and that the outlook is bright, taxes notwithstanding, simply because every year there are new, young talented wine makers coming into the business. It is fascinating to discover just how they use their skills to make the wines that we love.



Catherine Esling

Born and bred in Bordeaux, within wine-spitting distance of the renowned Grand Cru Classé Chateau Pape Clement, Catherine has been brought-up with knowledge and experience of some of the best wines of the world. Her mother’s favourite wine was Chateau La Croix St George from Pomerol, and she has inherited this fine and discerning palate.

A past director of a wine importing company for 10 years, Catherine has been a professional in the tourism industry for over 15 years at Director level. Her main experience has been with European destinations, continually seeking the highest quality, but at cost effective prices. As a world class negotiator, she aims at getting the best possible deal for travelers, and is uncompromising when it comes to levels of comfort and standards of cuisine.

Catherine was ‘intronisée’ as a member of the exclusive ‘Confrerie de Saute-Bouchon’ in Champagne at a ceremony in 2002, for services to the Champagne region, just one of the areas of which she has extensive knowledge and experience.