Taste of the Vine

Live and online tasting events   •   24 years, 4130 events, 49 countries


Who is Francis?

Francis has been passionate about taste since his late teens when working as a trainee manager at the Grand Hotel in Brighton. There he found a love for wine and became a sommelier. A promotion to head sommelier followed nine months later, only a year after he was legally entitled to drink. Eager to experience more, he moved to London, where he worked for a fine wine and whisky importer. After four years, which included many tastings, travel and exams, it was time for a sabbatical and he left the country to try his hand at winemaking.

After completing harvests in Australia, New Zealand, California and Romania, he returned to London. His experiences led him to prepare training courses for the hotel and restaurant industry and many of the formats have evolved into wine tasting shows for Taste of the Vine, which Francis started with his wife Pam in 1997.

Now, along with Pam, Rich and Peter, he hosts: wine, beer, whisky, gin and cheese events.

Beer: Francis worked part time at a local micro brewery and has visited many of the country's most notable brewers, using their cask beers at over 300 beer tastings he has run for the company.

Whisky: In 1998 Francis was asked to host a whisky tasting, an undertaking for which he visited 16 Scottish malt whisky distilleries. He has since visited a further 58, written on the subject for trade magazines and entertained audiences of over 500 guests with the Taste of the Vine's Taste of the Grain whisky format.

Cheese: In 2015 Pam and Francis began making cheese at their micro-dairy in Haslemere, Surrey, to serve the local community and provide input for Taste of the Vine's cheesemaking challenge. See www.gimblettcheese.co.uk for more

When not entertaining audiences, Francis can be found campaigning (see Campaign for British Cheese at Events) writing books and contributing to his Wine Navigator® project.