TALKING HEADS

20 April, 2007

David

Hemsley

The Secret Cellar,

Tunb

ridge Wells

What do you wish you had known when you started out as a retailer?

That the ethos of too many people in this country is set to see you fail. Luckily, we have a loyal and ever expanding clientele; but the early months were far from easy.

Does money motivate you?

With a young family and expensive tastes, to a necessary degree. However, their and my happiness far outweigh plain financial gain. I didn't join the wine trade to be a multi-millionaire. One mill should suffice.

Which celebrity do you most admire?

Any which are down to earth and unaffected by their fame. I met Kathy Burke, and she is an absolute diamond. I also have a good laugh with Tom Baker.

A top fella with a wicked sense of humour.

After a hard day's work, what drink do you kick back and relax with?

Guinness in my local with my mates. Any top-quality Riesling, preferably German, at home. The king of grapes in my humble opinion and much misunderstood.

Which retailer do you most admire?

Pret A Manger. They display passion in all that they do, and their staff seem genuinely happy and motivated - a template for many of the big players in the wine industry. Happy staff make for a happy fiscal return; it's truly not

rocket science.

What's the best age to be?

Age means little to me. The older you are just equates to more experiences you've had and the more Rieslings you've sampled. I am looking forward to whatever age it is that I can pretend to be deaf though. Pardon?

What would you change about the drinks industry?

Stop using the world's grape surplus to churn out 3.99 deal-led plonk. The cost of living has risen over my 14 years in the trade, but for 95 per cent of the population the prices of entry-level wines have stayed virtually static.

In a nutshell, your philosophy is:

Life is too short. If you're not having a laugh in whatever you're doing - be it life or work - don't moan about it, change it. Be pro-active and get stuck in.




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Lifting the spirits

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total a

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