THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE WINE
James is the founder, MD, Stock-counter, box stacker and Head Drinker at JAMES HOCKING WINE and has been in the wine business for about twenty-five years. Following leaving the tedium of HSBC, he went off to Oddbins in the Westcountry as the van driver from hell, rising to the dizzy heights of manager, before working for Rick Stein at his eponymous Seafood Restaurant as head of Beverage. He then spent the next eighteen years heading up what was the only exclusive importer of Californian wine in the UK at the time, The Vineyard Cellars, and left as wine director after many visits to CA. As someone who has been importing California’s wines since the 90’s, first as a privateer, then with his company, he has a complete education on the best bottles from the Golden State and is always happy to give candid, uncensored advice. When he’s not getting excited about wine bottles, he can be found on his two allotments growing and exhibiting unfeasibly large vegetables, or grilling steaks on one of his many, many barbeques. On a good day he’s quite proud of some of his achievements including becoming a Wine & Spirit Education Trust Educator at the first attempt, and blatantly “stalking” a cute little vicar’s daughter when he was at The Seafood Restaurant, who he’s now been married to for twenty years…
Favourite food: Proper Sunday Roast cooked at home on the Big Green Egg!
Favourite beverage: 2004 Scarecrow Estate (at Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, Napa. Served with a Cheeseburger)
PHONE: +44 (0)7470 524427
Jos is the company finance director and accountant by trade in her day job at Hotel du Vin & Bistro. On leaving university in Bournemouth, Jos has been in the hospitality industry all her life and has skills that include cleaning hotel bathrooms for Peter Gabriel and Barbra Streisand, plus spending time as a receptionist at The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow where she met James who was wine buyer at the time. Jos is James’s “everything else” at James Hocking Wine and is clearly the best person to speak to if you actually want your call returned! Be warned, she’s rather good at credit control…
Favourite food: Chilli con Carne
Favourite beverage: Château L’Evangile, Pomerol, Bordeaux (via James’s credit card).
PHONE: +44 (0)7818 451291
James & Jos’s daughter currently has no interest in wine whatsoever, but as she's just turned eight, we guess that’s OK! She has been brought up in the classic wine trade manner by sleeping in a travel seat under the table at trade tastings when just a few months old, sleeping through a wine dinner at a top London steakhouse when six months old, and generally sleeping though many, many wine events over the years. Kerenza has just started learning to play the recorder, which may explain Mummy and Daddy’s increased alcohol consumption of late.
Favourite food: Chocolate
Favourite beverage: Milk, full-fat.