A week in the life of David Cartwright of Seckford Wine Agencies involves meeting customers, talking about and discovering new wines, attending the weekly Seckford yoga class, and worrying about Stoke City’s next fixture in the Premier League.
It involves a day or two in the rural haven of Ardleigh where we are based. Ideally including a Wednesday (see below). Then a day or two meeting customers or visiting their stores and talking to their colleagues to find out about trends and what’s working and what’s not working for them. I also try and attend a networking event to keep in touch with what’s going on across the trade. Keeping ahead of the constant changes to the structure and dynamics of our trade is exciting and energising.
What was the highlight your last working week?
Being in the office on Wednesday and thus being able to take part in the weekly Seckford Agencies’ yoga class.
And the lowlight of your last working week?
Being on the underground on a boiling hot day. How do people do it every day?
What is the best part of your job?
Working with the most passionate, dedictaed, optimistic suppliers, or, as I prefer to call them, partners.
What is the thing about our job you would like to improve?
The availability of supersonic economy travel to get to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand more quickly.
How has 2016 been for you and your business?
For myself it has been very good. My spinning instructor says I’m making good if slow progress. Business-wise it has been a promising first half. But Pippa (Woods, Seckfords founder and managing director) is a hard task master so we never rest on our laurels.
What are the key trends impacting your business?
Currency rates – where will this all end? It would just be nice to be able to make business decisions which are prudent and pass a test of reasonableness.
From a wine point of you then there is definitely greater demand for lighter reds, aromatic whites. We have lots of these so we are well set to meet demand. There is also very clear growth in sales in the £10.00 sector. The key here is to find the right shoppers and talk to them, or engage as we say now, constantly and directly.
As a supplier to the on-trade we are seeing exciting opportunities for more New World wines in the mid to premium sector right across the contemporary dining scene.
What was the favourite restaurant you have eaten this year and why?
Outlaw’s in Port Isaac in Cornwall by chef Nathan Outlaw. It has the most amazing sharing plates and a raw brill dish with lime was truly spectacular. Simple yet stunning at the same time. It was helped by hearing the dulcet tones of the shanty singers, “the fisherman’s friends,” wafting across from Port Isaac beach as they finished their “gig”.
The favourite bottle of wine you have had in the last month? Why and where did you drink it?
Mas de Longchamp Rosé, Vignobles Benoit, Bouches du Rhone – at home in garden on hottest day of year. From the wonderful Riverford Organic food box peeps. I took a chance on their mixed case and what a sensational find. Beautiful.
And the favourite cocktail you have had this year? Why and where did you drink it?
Negroni, Hermitage Road Bar, Hitchin. Part of the fabulous Anglian Inns Group. I have only dicovered negronis over the last year or so and this was sublime.
If you could pick three people for a classic dinner party from the trade who would they be?
Zelma Long (Californian winemaker), Geoff Merrill (Australian winemaker) and Richard Geoffroy (cellar master at Dom Pérignon).
What is the best job you have had in your career?
Aside from the current one, of course! My first job in retail was with James Rackham running the Vintner Wine shop in the mid eighties. I set up a wine club and wine school, ran the fine wine shop and visited almost all the European vineyard areas. An inspiring boss who helped too. No pay though. Oh, and having my own Citroen c15 van (vin). I left there to work for Freixenet/CVNE as I wanted to be a rep and had been on the Cava and Penedes wine academy which ignited my interest in all things Spanish
The best TV show or book that includes wine and drink?
TV show would have to be Fawlty Towers and the scene where basil says “Bordeaux’s one of the clarets all right” and “yes, the wine is corked, I just took it out of the bottle didn’t you see!?” Priceless for wine trade tragics, like me.
Book? Monsignor Quixote by Graham Greene. On their travels the monsignor and former mayor consume enjoy a lake of “Manchegan” wine whilst discussing the mysteries of life.
Where are you going on summer holidays and what are you drinking?
Cromer, home of best crabs in the world. The Wine Society house Champagne, made by the fabulous, and consistently great, Alfred Gratien.
What about Stoke’s chances for the forthcoming season ?
Finishing ninth for the last three seasons is a lot to live up to for little old Stoke. With a good start we might hit heady heights of 8th. Good times for Stoke fans. As long as we beat Arsenal we tend to remain stoic about all our other results.
- If you would like to share your average week with The Buyer then please answer the above questions and email to editorial@The-Buyer.net