Julian Brind

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Julian Brind MW (5 November 1942 – 19 December 2010) was a British Master of Wine and director of buying wines, beers, spirits and soft drinks for the Waitrose supermarket chain.[1] Brind was a key figure in the transformation of the British wine trade from the 1970s onwards.[2]


Julian Brind was born in Scotland and educated at Strathallan School in Perthshire.[1] After school he followed his father into the wine and spirits trade joining Brown & Pank, part of Watney Mann Breweries as a management trainee.[1][3] Brind started buying wine under the direction of Don Lovell MW, who put him forward for the Vintners' Scholarship, which he was awarded in 1967.[3] In the same year he also won the Bourse de Voyage scholarship.[4] In 1970, Brind passed the Master of Wine exam and joined Waitrose to lead the wine buying team in 1971.[3][5]

When Brind joined Waitrose in the early seventies the wine consumer in Britain was served by the traditional wine merchant selling Old World wine from prestigious European growers.[2] Selling wine in supermarkets was in its infancy.[6] Brind recognised that there was an opportunity to introduce the consumer to new wines from all over the world.[2] In 1973 he was the first buyer to introduce New Zealand Sauvignon blanc to Britain.[2] Nonetheless, Brind did not neglect the traditional European market; instigating the Vin de pays revolution from southern France.[1][2] So began the interest in New World wine and a cultural shift away from the traditional wine merchant toward the supermarket.[1]

At Waitrose, Brind continued the policy of hiring good buyers and letting them get on with it.[6] By the early 1990s Brind had hired a team of five wine buyers, all of whom were experts in their own field, and Masters of Wine.[7] Under his direction, the 'Waitrose list' became known for its emphasis on individual wines from individual producers.[6] Brind insisted on limiting big brand and own-label wines.[6] He lamented the dominance of the big brands in the market place through deep discounting and the adverse effect it had on the real wine business.[6] For this reason Brind emphasised the need for wine specialists in each store.[6] Thus Waitrose developed a reputation for providing interesting wines, not sold by any other supermarket.[6][8] Under Brind's stewardship both Waitrose and Brind won numerous domestic and international awards.[7][9][10]

Brind held numerous positions within the wine trade: chair of the Masters of Wine Panel of Examiners;[5] chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine, 1993;[11] ombudsman to the Circle of Wine Writers, 2001;[5] president of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, 2002[11] and chairman of the Trustees of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, 2003.[12]

Since Brind's death several awards and scholarships have been established to commemorate his career in the wine trade.[12][13] In 2011 The Wine and Spirit Education Trust established The Julian Brind Memorial Scholarship.[12] In the same year the International Wine and Spirit Competition established the Julian Brind Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Wine Industry.[13] The inaugural trophy was awarded to 'Julian Brind'.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Julian Brind: Obituaries Supermarket buyer who introduced Britons to the wines of the New World". The Daily Telegraph. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Julian Brind: Influential wine trader who was the first to ship New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to Britain in 1973". The Times. 1 January 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Julian Brind". Decanter. 21 December 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Wine trade mourns death of Julian Brind MW". Off Licence News. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "Julian Brind MW dies". The Drinks Business. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Living Review: Drink – My Round ; Now raise your glasses and wish a very happy retirement to the man who put the sparkle into supermarket wine:". The Independent. 19 May 2002. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Drink: Waitrose wines: Supermarket forces Tim Atkin on a retailer riding high with dignity". The Guardian. 23 October 1994. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  8. ^ "SUPERPLONK SPECIAL:Taking Pride in Prejudices". The Guardian. 6 November 1992. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "Brind Honoured in Waitrose drinks praise". The Grocer. 8 February 2003. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "Waitrose wins supermarket Wine Merchant of the Year award". PR Newswire. 2000. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Julian Brind MW". Jancis Robinson. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c "WSET Awards of Excellence – Advanced 2011 Winners". Wine & Spirit Education Trust. 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "IWSC unveils Outstanding Achievement shortlist". The Drinks Business. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "IWSC 2011 People Trophies". International Wine and Spirit Competition. 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2013.