Career talk: Drinks retail in the UK (webinar)

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A panel talk exploring different roles and routes into retail in the UK wine and spirits trade. Magnavai Janjo DipWSET hosts a panel of expert speakers from a variety of wine and spirits retailers including Waitrose, Milroys of Soho and The Oxford Wine Company.

Event details

Career panel talk

In the fourth panel talk of our online Career Talk series, we’re looking at roles in retail in the UK. We’ll be discussing the different roles that are involved in retail, both online and in store, and how it works on both large and small scales. 

Hosted by WSET School London educator Magnavai Janjo DipWSET, our panel of speakers will give an overview of the many and varied roles that are involved in retailing the wines and spirits we find in the UK. They’ll discuss their own positions, the other roles they work closely alongside, and how they got to where they are today. They’ll also explore the attributes and training needed to be successful and where to start if you are new to or keen to enter this area of the industry.

If you missed any of the previous career talks you can view the recordings here. 

Who is it for?

  • People starting out on their career journeys interested in what opportunities the drinks industry offers
  • Professionals from other industries considering a career change
  • Individuals already in the industry seeking inspiration to advance their careers

Please note that, as our speakers are UK-based, this talk will focus primarily on the UK wine and spirits trade. However we hope that the content will still be of interest to an international audience.  

Hosted by

Magnavai Janjo DipWSET
Wine Educator and Importer, Founder of BAME Wine Professionals

Magnavai has spent his entire working life in the wine industry. He began as a Wine Specialist at his local Waitrose and subsequently spent the following couple of years selling wine to both the on- and off-trade, including a stint at Majestic Wine's Commercial arm.

His passion for wine goes beyond the academic, as he has worked through a few vintages in several countries, the highlight of which was making a private label wine. He specialises in the commercial aspect of wine and has created wine brands for some leading UK supermarkets. As well as being one of our regular wine educators at WSET School London, Magnavai is currently an MW student and also runs MJ Wine Cellars, a UK importer. 

In 2020 Magnavai established BAME Wine Professionals, an organisation aimed at shining a spotlight on wine talent in the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.

The panellists

Anne Jones
Drinks Experience and Event Development, Waitrose and John Lewis

Anne has worked full time in the wine industry since she moved into the Waitrose wine buying team back in 2008. Before that she worked as a singer while also working in Waitrose Canary Wharf, helping run customer service and marketing events such as wine tastings. The first signs of her interest in wine came with a school project on 'Wine Labels of the Loire Valley" - aged 11! She was a member of various wine tasting societies as a student, and took her WSET courses on joining the buying team, then progressing through to studying for the MW.

She's always loved the different disciplines of working with and studying wines and spirits - blending the cultural, historical, creative and analytical. She has recently moved on from the buying team and now manages Drinks Experience Development for Waitrose and John Lewis, including managing the Wine Tasting at Home and events propositions.

Emily Silva
Head of Retail and Marketing, The Oxford Wine Company

Emily is Head of Retail and Marketing at The Oxford Wine Company. She studied English Literature at Pembroke College, Cambridge and went on to study Law. However, her heart wasn’t quite in that and after spending some time teaching English in Hong Kong and Tokyo she found her way to Oxford where she worked as a waitress and started on her WSET journey. This fuelled her passion for wine, and in 2015 she joined OWC as a Shop Manager. Emily passed her WSET Diploma in 2016, and she is now a Stage One student on the Master of Wine programme.

Martyn 'Simo' Simpson
Executive Director, Milroys of Soho

34-year-old Simo is the Executive Director of Milroys of Soho, ‘Londons Oldest Whisky Specialist,’ and already has three successful ventures under his belt. Before Milroys he launched Coal Vaults, a basement bar on Wardour Street with a paired dining concept.

Simo has overseen the first rebranding of Milroys in over 50 years, bringing Milroys back to life as it was in the 60s and 70s with the introduction of the Whisky bar on the ground floor and the award-winning ‘The Vault’ Cocktail bar in the basement. In revitalising the whisky shop, he has brought Milroys into the 21st century whilst maintaining its heritage. Recently Simo has launched Milroys in Spitalfields - a town house consisting of The Proofing Room Cocktail Bar in the basement, a whisky bar on the ground floor offering over 1000 whiskies by the glass, and a members club upstairs called The Dram House which includes a cigar terrace and tasting room.

Feel free to join with a glass of your choice! Let us know what you're tasting on Instagram:

@WSET_school_london  #WSETSchool  

If you enjoy the webinar, we would love to welcome you onto one of our WSET courses, all of which can be studied online from home.