Chapter 16 – A Poisoned Chalice

We return to the boardroom for lunch. Somebody has pulled up the blinds, and the cold unflattering winter light falls flat on every surface, revealing dust and cobwebs in the corners. The three cardboard crates, in which the plastic trays containing our lunch have been delivered, sit half-torn apart, in the middle of the room,Continue reading “Chapter 16 – A Poisoned Chalice”

Chapter 15 – Testoterone, Tears and Tasting

The third presentation of the day is meant to be a short update by Ed of the “transatlantic situation” as he describes it. ‘We all know how important the Canadian and American markets are for French wines and how crucial it is that Villa should be able to start selling over there again,’ he says.Continue reading “Chapter 15 – Testoterone, Tears and Tasting”

Chapter 14 – The Circus aka the Export Meeting

Serge arrives in Bordeaux just before midnight. After a flurry of phone calls, he joins Philippe and me in the restaurant of the Mercure hotel where we’re staying. While he wolfs down the club sandwich the kitchen agreed to prepare for him despite the late hour, I retrace for him my afternoon conversation with MargueriteContinue reading “Chapter 14 – The Circus aka the Export Meeting”

Chapter 13 – Marguerite Villa

Philippe and I leave Kingston together. No point in taking two cars when airport car parks charge such extravagant rates. Between the two and a half days in Bordeaux for my meeting with Marguerite Villa, followed by the export meeting, and The Wine Shop’s wine fair in Edinburgh, we’ll be away for five days. TheContinue reading “Chapter 13 – Marguerite Villa”

Chapter 11- A Hellish Car Journey and Creative Wine Marketing

It’s raining hard when we leave The Super-Market, which allows André to comment on the British weather and the folly of anybody who chooses to live here. I ignore the dig and suggest we get on to the motorway and stop at the first services for a debriefing. ‘Will I be able to buy aContinue reading “Chapter 11- A Hellish Car Journey and Creative Wine Marketing”

On Wine Buyers

Serialising Tasting Notes, the novel I wrote twelve years ago, is bringing back memories of my years as a wine saleswoman and the many buyers I sold to. ‘Rachel sounds awful,’ my eldest daughter said yesterday. ‘Read on,’ I said. ‘She’s not.’ ‘Rachel’, Tasting Notes’ fictional supermarket wine buyer, is an amalgam of two buyersContinue reading “On Wine Buyers”

Chapter 10 – In the Lion(ess) Den

Rachel greets us with a smile as we come out of the lift, enquiring after André and Jean Jacques’s flight and pecking me on the cheek. A French supermarket buyer, in similar circumstances, would be much sterner. André’s face breaks into a smirk and his shoulders drop. French people often misread British politeness for weaknessContinue reading “Chapter 10 – In the Lion(ess) Den”

Chapter 9 – Drip, Drip, Drip, Stress

Arnaud jabs his index finger at me. ‘I will fulfil the mission Madame Villa has given me.’ I’ve been in his office since eight thirty and I’m starting to fidget. ‘I won’t share my success with anybody,’ he says. I am tempted to ask, ‘Which success?’ but think better of it. I need to getContinue reading “Chapter 9 – Drip, Drip, Drip, Stress”