Before founding Vine-Works in 2006, James spent his early working life practising archaeology all over the world until a passion for wine led him to take up a career in wine retail for Oddbins in 1996. Working as a fine wine manager, training co-ordinator, and manager of large wine retail shops afforded him a unique opportunity to learn about the world of wine. The need to get out of the shops and work in the great outdoors inspired a career change to wine production. So it was off to Plumpton College to study viticulture and oenology, and the rest is history.
As a student, he worked for various vineyards and recognised that the new plantings all needed to be trellised. He noticed a growing demand for viticultural services to the ever-expanding English wine industry – one of the last frontiers of the wine-producing countries. Vine-Works was formed with the help of a fellow student and the business grew from a trellising company to one that offers full establishment consultancy and post-vineyard establishment services. In 2010, Vine-Works Ltd was formed with D’Arcy Gander to broaden the range of services we now provide.
James has a BSc (Hons) in Viticulture and Oenology from the University of Brighton (Plumpton College) and a WSET Higher Certificate. He has published articles in the “The Grape Press”, UKVA Journal. He has been a WineSkills educator/lecturer delivering courses on practical vineyard skills, and is a member of the UKVA. James has worked for Waverly as an Assistant Winemaker in their co-operatives in the South of France, and has done vintages in California and France. He spends most of his free time in the sky over Sussex hanging from his paraglider. “It’s a lot of fun and offers a unique opportunity to scope out future potential vineyard sites”.