Who are Davis Bell McCraith?
Have you ever been overwhelmed by the huge number of different wines available these days? How do you sort the wheat from the chaff? Where is the real value for money? Wouldn't it be nice to buy your wine from people who really know their stuff but aren't stuffy with it? Someone you can talk to on the phone who will give you advice and guidance FOR FREE because talking about wine is what they like to do?
Richard, Aidan and Susan (aka Davis, Bell and McCraith) have each spent twenty years working in wine, they've tasted thousands upon thousands of wines and visited hundreds of vineyards and met the growers. They know what's good and what's not (Susan is one of only 300 Masters of Wine in the world), they know where to find the gems and the best prices and can offer you sound advice based on real experience. Whether you're looking for everyday drinking wine or fine wine to lay down or for investment, you can talk to us. We believe that building relationships with both winegrowers and you, our customers, makes the whole process more enjoyable and more rewarding for everyone.
Having established the business in 2009 at Leigh Court, a Georgian mansion just to the south of Bristol, in Spring 2013 we have crossed the suspension bridge and made the move to Clifton Village the thriving residential area of Bristol. Our new Shop and Offices can be found at 12 Clifton Down Road, Bristol, BS8 4AD. Not much parking, but we offer free delivery so please do not be too shy to come visit!
Read on to find out a bit more about our background...
Susan McCraith, MW
Susan has a star studded CV, having worked for Hennessy in Cognac, been a Director of Howells of Bristol and occupied one of those most exalted positions, spending 10 years as a Senior Wine Buyer for Waitrose. Susan is also one of the few female liverymen of the City of London’s Vintners' Company. Oh yes, she’s also a Master of Wine, one of just 300 in the world. Stuffy and earnest? Not in the least. She's a restless, passionate soul with bundles of energy.
This experience, helping to build and shape the selection of wines that we’ve come to see and rely on in the high street, provides Davis Bell McCraith with an insight into what does, and more importantly, what doesn’t work with the big retailers. Susan's contacts in the wine trade are invaluable in finding exciting parcels of wine as yet undiscovered by other members of the trade.
Susan is passionate about the environment, social responsibility and ethical trading, so ensures that we address these issues while trading an international product in the modern day. Her favourite wine is red burgundy. "I love tasting young Pinot Noir from barrel with the grower and old Pinot Noir with a smelly cheese!"
Fine wine is a rarefied subject sometimes filled with stuffy, elusive characters who remain aloof from mere mortals. Well, Aidan is the exact opposite of this - entirely approachable, he delights in providing honest advice to collectors and wine lovers alike. Aidan started in the wine trade as an auctioneer, before moving to Howells of Bristol, where he spent years specialising in fine wine, creating portfolios for investment and collectors. Later these skills were employed at Averys, where Aidan headed up the dynamic fine wine side of the business. Aidan is also a liveryman of the City of London’s Vintners' Company.
An ability to find well priced parcels of wine is evidence of his tenacious nature, that and the lunches he enjoys all in the service of networking and opening doors to private collections! When not at work, Aidan can often be found on the water in a dinghy or up to his waist in a river with rod in hand, that or racking the latest addition to his cellar.
Aidan is particularly mindful of giving appropriate advice to our customers and ensuring that our service lives up to our promises. When asked, Aidan says his favourite wine is "a good bottle with friends - or make that several bottles!"
Richard started in the wine trade with old established firm Findlater Mackie Todd & Co, pounding the streets of London looking after trade sales. At Waitrose Direct, he got involved in growing the mail order side of the business working closely with Susan. For the next decade Richard was a Director at Averys in Bristol. His skills in organisation and logistics were a great asset in making sure the business grew swiftly while improving customer service. Richard was also the face of Telegraph Wine.
Richard has particular experience of marketing and recruitment, and also has the practical ability to balance the competing challenges and needs of a business.
His business acumen clearly deserted him though when he took on a "money pit" of a house to restore, just because it had a wine cellar! He enjoys mountain biking and motorsport and is a sucker for Pomerol and new world wines with big flavours.
Aaron joined us from Averys where he advised private clients on wines for enjoyment and/or investment. Aaron originally trained as a Secondary School Science teacher and opted for a career change as his passion for wine grew; A self-confessed Francophile and food lover, his cellar contains most of the French classics - Bordeaux and Burgundy making up the majority. When pushed to decalre one, his perrenial favourite is Vintage Champage, though he also has a passion for Loire Chenin Blanc.
Charlotte graduated with a First in Psychology from the University of Bath and started her wine career with Majestic in Chippenham and Marlborough. She loves white burgundy but is very open-minded and likes trying all sorts of different things, particularly from Italy and the New World. She loves travelling to New Zealand loving the people as well as the wines! Charlotte has the daunting task of supporting (a.k.a. managing) Aidan and Richard for which her Psychology degree is proving invaluable!! Charlotte is also in charge of WineSafe, our fine wine storage company at Octavian Vaults.
Tiffany started her career as a Police Constable with Avon and Somerset and also has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, in fact she was Women's British Black Belt Champion! - clearly a woman capable of looking after herself. Later she joined Majestic with whom she worked in Taunton, Marlborough and Bristol. Tiff' is qualified to Diploma level. Well travelled, she has a passion for good food and wine. Tiff' has a soft spot for Italian wines, particularly Brunello, and the more smokey southern styles. Her experience in retail is a great asset for us and she is determined to make our shop a warm, inviting, go-to place for all Bristolians and visitors to Bristol alike.
By the way, in case you were thinking, Tiffany is no relation to Aidan.