Barry’s career in wine began near his hometown in Belfast, where he studied a BSc (Hons) in Food Science. He developed a passion for the science behind great food and drink, a passion which took him to Australia where he completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Oenology at the esteemed University of Adelaide. Combining his two loves, wine and travel, he spent the next five years as a Flying Winemaker, working everywhere from McLaren Vale for Gemtree Wines in Australia to Jacques Lurton in the Languedoc Region of France.
Barry’s scientific knowledge of wine is complemented by his extensive business insight. His curiosity in this area took him to Paris where he completed an MBA in European Food Marketing. It was this combination of skills that led to him managing the Quality and Sourcing of Sainsbury’s awarding winning Own Brand wine range. Being responsible for the whole process from sourcing wines and selecting suppliers to overseeing the packaging, shipping and bottling process, taught Barry to understand the preferred tastes of the modern wine drinker.
Wanting to put his abilities to the test, Barry sought out the renowned Masters of Wine qualification. This is the highest achievement in the wine industry, and with good reason. On top of the five written examinations and the ten thousand word thesis, the exam also requires students to pass thirty-six blind wine tastings. This involves being able to correctly identify everything from the variety of grape and its quality level to how the wine was made.
Few pass, but in 2013 Barry added the prestigious MW letters to his name. Even more remarkably, he became one of about twenty people to do so and to also be a qualified Wine Maker.
Barry now offers his services as a wine industry consultant. He has worked with some of the biggest brands in the business; Hardys and Kumala, major UK retailers such as Tesco, Morrisons, and Sainsbury’s, as well as wine agencies, importers and the on-trade wine sector. His skills also extend to performing other roles such as wine judging, wine education and training, and hosting wine tastings for corporations or individuals.