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 thirty years plus 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.
The business was established in 2009 at Leigh Court, a Georgian mansion just to the south of Bristol. Since then we have moved to a shop and offices in Clifton Village, the thriving residential area of Bristol.
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 of 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 Chardonnay.
James started his working life as crew on superyachts in the Mediterranean which must have been a real eye-opener, but taught him a lot about customer service. He then moved to work at the Montalto vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula which got him hooked on wine. Back in the UK he plied his trade with Majestic Wines before discovering the more personal approach of DBM.
James loves White Burgundy and is currently discovering a great passion for Italian Reds, particularly Barbera.
A keen triathlete, representing GB in 2007/8 , he has also run ultra-marathons. Naturally, James is a super-fit chap who doesn’t indulge in the office biscuits.
Bastien is a proud Frenchman and a true Bordelais who has been surrounded by wine from his earliest days. Following wine School in Saint Emilion, Bastien worked at several Chateaux including Chateau Franc Mayne, Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classe. A language exchange at a Welsh vineyard led Bastien to settle in Wales after meeting his Welsh Fiancee. Bastien worked in On-Trade sales for a Cardiff based importer advising some of the best chefs and sommeliers in Wales and the West country.
In 2016 Bastien temporarily left the UK to do a vintage in Chateau du Seuil, a Welsh family owned organic vineyard in Graves, to participate in the harvesting and making of the wines. One of his best memories was to taste the fresh, sweet pressed botytrised juice of the Semillon straight out of the press, but also driving the tractor! Bastien has a great interest in organic and sustainable wine and really values the spirit/sense/meaning of culture (cultural identity) that can be attached to a wine. Classic “petit Chateau “ Bordeaux are a favourite but also Burgundies and new world Pinot Noir.
Imogen is literally a Key member of the team. Her joie de vivre and enthusiasm always motivates the troops and she is always on the watch to check if things are running smoothly. Imogen is a west country girl who has a passion for exploring , having worked as a Chalet Host in the Alps and an Au Pair in Chile. Following her degree in French and Spanish, Imogen joined DBM to pursue a career in the Wine Trade. Her favourite wine ( this week ) is Montagny 1er Cru.