“I have known Justin for over ten years now and was fortunate enough to persuade him to head up the Waitrose wine buying team for several years. He brought great knowledge but also leadership to our wine business and was respected throughout the organisation.
He has the ability to combine great enthusiasm and technical ability with strong analytical skills on consumer insight whilst all the time knowing that these have to be underpinned by a strong commercial instinct.
Waitrose has always had a good reputation within the trade for our wine team and product range but Justin enhanced that and we were sorry to see him leave, although I could fully respect his reasons to take on a new challenge.
His enthusiasm remains undimmed and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him to anyone seeking guidance or direction or simply a fresh perspective on the challenges that face us all in these changing times in the wine industry. In addition as a small producer in his own right there can be few people who understand the industry as well from the vine to the glass, combined with his experience of working for several major well respected organisations.”

Mark Williamson, Commercial Director – Waitrose Ltd

“In a trade where there is a real shortage of original thinkers and an equal lack of wine experts willing and able to look beyond the wine itself, to understand how wine fits into the lives of wine drinkers. Whether at £7, £70 or £700 a bottle, Justin’s approach is a breath of fresh air.
Like a great wine from Bordeaux, he is fantastic blend of innovation and tradition, reflection and communication, certainty and open-mindedness, art and science.
Justin played a hugely important role here at Laithwaite’s in helping to transform both the reality and the perception of our wine credibility, and I am delighted that we have secured Justin’s services to continue to work with us into the future. He has a valuable brain and an original viewpoint.
The Hive will bring a fresh perspective to small and large businesses, challenging them to try new things, which will make a real difference to their business. Without hesitation I can warmly recommend Justin’s new venture!”

 

Simon McMurtrie, Group Chief Executive, Direct Wines