Career talk: Wine Buyer

Join Lydia Harrison MW as she hosts this panel talk focusing on the coveted role of the wine buyer, with guest speakers Craig Norton DipWSET of FINE+RARE and Miranda Fong DipWSET of Graft Wine Company.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Finish time is approximately 8.30pm.

39-45 Bermondsey Street, London. SE1 3XF

Show on map

How much does it cost?


(includes a welcome drink)

Event details

Career talk

The Career Series returns this November with an exciting panel talk focusing on the role of the wine buyer, a coveted position that many who enter the wine industry aspire to hold.

There are undoubtedly some very glamorous elements to this role – a well-respected wine buyer might spend an enviable proportion of their time being wined and dined by some of the world’s most exciting winemakers. But striking the right deal for the market in question requires an awful lot of work, wine knowledge, commercial understanding, timing and, in many cases, good fortune.

The few buyer roles available at the UK’s top organisations are typically held by super-savvy, highly dedicated individuals who continually school themselves in all elements of the wine world and wine business.

This career panel talk, chaired by our own Lydia Harrison MW, features two speakers from a new generation of wine buyers – one from a highly regarded fine wine marketplace and another who specialises in uncovering the wine world's hidden gems. 

Who is it for?

  • You're interested in a career as a wine buyer 
  • You'd like insight into how this fascinating area of the industry works

Key discussion topics

  • Available career paths and necessary training to succeed as a wine buyer
  • The day-to-day of buying wine
  • What are the less glamorous sides of this role?
  • Perspectives, parameters and different approaches to wine buying

The speakers

Miranda Fong DipWSET

Originally from Toronto, Miranda’s first glimpse of the trade was working for boutique winery Stratus Vineyards based in Niagara as a Sales and Marketing Associate. After a quick jump to Australia where she completed her Masters in Wine Business, she quickly moved to the UK to join wine market research firm Wine Intelligence.

At this time, she decided to pursue her WSET Diploma and found an opportunity with London-based wine group Bottle Apostle which paired perfectly with her desire to expand her wine knowledge. During her five years there, she helped expand the company to five locations across London while heading up their marketing and wholesale divisions as well as sake buying.

Itching for some trade sales experience, she forced herself to jump in the deep end and joined Loire/Rhone specialist H2Vin helping to build and manage their off-trade sales channel for two years. This invaluable experience led her to join Graft Wine Company (previous Red Squirrel Wine) as a buyer where she’s been luckily enough to help shape a dynamic portfolio for the UK trade. Supporting this role, she’s now pursing her Master of Wine studies, which offers its own set of exciting challenges!

Craig Norton DipWSET

Craig Norton is Managing Director UK at FINE+RARE, a specialist fine wine merchant with a global network of direct relationships and agencies across key regions, reservists, private clients and industry relationships, providing clients with unique access to tens of thousands of the world’s finest wines. They source, supply, store and sell, providing impartial expert advice to allow clients to create an unparalleled cellar as well as building and managing a portfolio.

Craig oversees all commercial functions – Sales (25 Account Managers), Buying, Customer Service and Brand/Communications. FINE+RARE’s model is different to normal a wine merchant, in that stock holdings are managed tightly, with a large proportion of sales coming from multiple sources, adding a level of complexity to the purchasing model not found elsewhere.

Global sales are currently £70m split between their London and Asia offices. Craig has worked for FINE+RARE for 8 years, starting as a Private Client Account Manager and progressing as the business continues to grow. Before FINE+RARE and graduating in 2007, Craig previously spent time in the hospitality sector and gained experience in retail, completing his WSET Level 4 Diploma in 2011.

Booking Terms and Conditions

Payment in full must be made at the time of booking and places are not confirmed until payment has been received. Unfortunately we cannot take provisional bookings.

Cancellations and transfers

  • Cancellations and transfers can be made up to two weeks before the event
  • Cancellations within 10 working days are non-refundable and cannot be transferred to another event
  • If you need to change a name on the booking, please give us as much notice as possible
  • WSET School London reserves the right to cancel an event. If necessary, a full refund or transfer will be offered.


Contact us

If you would like to book over the phone or have any particular enquiries about this event, please call our Student Services team on 020 7089 3841. We can also be reached by email at