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  • Master of Wine
  • Corporate Events/Tastings
  • Wine columnist/presenter

John Downes

Representation by Caroline de Wolfe


In 1994 John Downes passed a rigorous examination to become a Master of Wine. The Institute of Masters of Wine is a professional body with an unsurpassed international reputation. Their members, Masters of Wine (MWs), hold the most respected title in the world of wine. MWs have proved their understanding of all aspects of wine by passing the Master of Wine (MW) Examination, recognised worldwide for its incredibly high standards.

Previous to John’s induction to the Masters of wine, he had graduated (B.Sc. Civil Engineering) from Salford University. He went on to become a Chartered Engineer (C.Eng, FIStructE, MICE) and a partner in the company, opening a new office in South Africa. John then returned to then UK to start his own structural engineering consultancy.

Soon after becoming a Master of Wine, The Surrey Mirror asked John to write a weekly wine column. Then, City banks and Gordon Ramsey’s Cookery School Tante Marie asked him to ‘talk wine’ to their clients and chefs. Soon after he became ‘the wine guy’ on BBC2’s Working Lunch and CNBC. It was then that John set out to make wine simple.

Engineering is a distant memory for John. He now works in Corporate Entertainment, Team Building, Television and Radio whilst leading Wine Courses and writing about wine, from London to Sydney, from Bristol to Brisbane, always of course on a mission; to make wine simple.

John Downes, the UK’s most in demand and straight talking wine personality, is one of only 260 Masters of Wine in the world.

Called upon internationally for his wine expertise and known for his unconventional, modern take on wine and how to enjoy it – John is a globetrotting wine guru who regularly appears on television, radio, in newspapers and magazines recommending the very best the world’s vineyards have to offer and dispelling the fusty approach that so often characterises the “wine connoisseur”.

John, a natural educator and raconteur with an enviable talent to communicate his comprehensive wine knowledge to both beginner and expert alike, has inspired thousands of people at events and presentations from London to Sydney,

Television Presenter Adrian Chiles says, “John is one of the few wine experts who, when in full flow, doesn’t have me reaching for a wine bottle to smash over his head”.

John Downes is a firm believer that wine education at ground level and an early appreciation of wine is key to avoiding binge drinking later in life. He adds, “having ‘one glass too many’ very occasionally can relieve stress in our crazy world, not forgetting that without wine we wouldn’t have inherited some of the world’s great literature, art and theatre. The answer is finding the balance between understanding wine and how to enjoy it in moderation”.

“After just one evening with John, you become the wine expert you always wanted to be”,

Roger Hunt M.B.E., England 1966 World Cup Final Footballer.

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