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 370 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.
Holly started her wine odyssey working in gastro venues across Bristol before moving into the corporate world of recruitment. Missing both the wine and people, she found herself on a wine education course before stepping into the warm embrace of DBM. Holly is a lover of languages, having studied German at Bristol and spending some time in Berlin, so Rheingau labels will be no problem! Her favourite wines however are from slightly further afield and at the moment her particular soft spot is a New World Chardonnay.
A native Kiwi, Aaron studied Law in Otago, but was distracted by a popular wine bar, leading to several years mana
ging restaurants before relocating to the UK. Oddbins started his UK wine trade journey followed by Laithwaites and Berry Bros & Rudd before he met Richard and Aidan at Averys in 2007, staying there far longer than he likes to admit. Following a short stint at Cirencester wine merchant Oeno, he set up and ran Vivino UK - the sales side of the wine app.
After an aromatic, sideways move into cheese, he re-joined Richard and Aidan in 2017. Aaron claims that he had to leave NZ as he was hopeless at Rugby... although he also claims he turned down the England selectors. We don’t believe a word of it. We do know he likes German reds and South African whites though.
Brought up on a farm in Herefordshire, Jessica clearly had a desire to broaden her horizons, and after A levels, hopped on a plane to “discover the world” travelling to the furthermost point of the Southern hemisphere, New Zealand where she discovered a little island off the coast named Waiheke. Being home to over 30 boutique wineries Jessica sensibly immersed herself within the wine industry there, securing a job heading the team in a fine dining restaurant at award winning Cable Bay winery. Upon her return to the UK she was delighted to join the team at DBM.
As well as a love for wine she equally loves water (the ocean that is!) being a keen diver and fisher woman. On the weekend Jessica will either be holding a glass of new world Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or a pair of reins belonging to her four legged thoroughbred friend - hopefully not at the same time