LAUNCHING: CHRISTINA RASMUSSEN
Time at the company:
THE BIG QUESTIONS
WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL TITLE?
PR Account Manager / Wine writer.
WHAT DO YOU DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
It’s very hard to summarise! I work with many wine companies and wine regions, creating and writing their content and helping them in structuring their approach to the UK market. Some are fairly large campaigns and others tiny. I could be doing anything from tasting new wines or vintages, to travelling to a region with journalists or buyers, to contacting wine journalists, to organising wine tastings for sommeliers, to writing about a new launch, to doing market research about which wine shops list how many wines from a certain region or country, the list goes on...! We are a wine PR and consulting company.
Wearing my other hat, I write for a few publications about wine, the main one being The Buyer (www.the-buyer.net). It’s an on-trade publication (meaning for bars/restaurants/independent shops) so I write about what I feel is relevant – from wine trends to producers to wine lists and so on. I love to write. I’ve just written a short piece for Xavier Rousset MS’s new wine newspaper which will be available in his new Comptoir Cafe and Wine and the Blandford Comptoir. I also have my wine blog – www.vintageofallkinds.com, which has been going for a couple of years now. I take pictures all the time. I love photography and my camera goes everywhere with me.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD?
I wanted to be a waitress. Strange ambition but I was obsessed with the idea! I’ve also always wanted to write a novel.
WHAT ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?
I have my A levels, and a French degree from Exeter Uni, something that is invaluable to my career in wine. I speak French nearly every day and I absolutely love the language, the country, its people and winemakers. Languages are so useful to the wine world. I wish I had done more. I also have my WSET Level 3 and am going to start the Diploma soon. The goal is to be an MW one day, although I’m not particularly studious by nature... I prefer to travel and write as I learn and as I go along.
WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
Follow your nose. Keep writing.
WHO DO YOU LOOK UP TO IN THE INDUSTRY AND WHY?
So many people... At the top of the list is Steven Spurrier, because he’s a fantastic writer and has had the most incredible career in wine (I urge you to read online about what he has achieved). The wine world would not be the same today if it wasn’t for him. He also continues to do his utmost to come to every tasting possible – he is one of the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic people I know, as well as being kind and very polite, something which I really appreciate.
Jancis Robinson OBE MW, Julia Harding MW and Richard Hemming MW and team too of course, and I also love Jamie Goode’s www.wineanorak.com (my other favourite wine website) – this one in particular is a wine bible for me and inspires me to write more.
Other inspirations are Joanna Simon and Margaret Rand; both fantastic writers. I also really admire Joe Wadsack’s nose! I saw him do a blind tasting a few years ago when I had just started working in the UK wine trade, and it was hugely inspirational. I’m getting there – my blind tasting is improving day-on-day, but it takes time and loads of practice. Also huge inspirations are the team at Noble Rot and Sager + Wilde amongst many others. An exceptional wine list truly is an art form.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORKING ENVIRONMENT?
It’s very creative and we do such an amazing range of work – it’s very varied. I also travel a lot which I love. I couldn’t be in a job where I don’t travel.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOUR DAILY WORK ROUTINE IF YOU COULD?
Actually nothing... Perhaps hot desking one day.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME?
Good question. I have no idea. I think it’s important, especially in wine, to be open minded. I’d like to be writing even more of course, as well as perhaps something interesting on the trade side. Maybe a pop-up at some point?
DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN BE THE SAME PERSON AT WORK AND IN PRIVATE?
Definitely. I never change – I think that’s very important. If you change - something must be the reason behind that, thus probably rendering you unhappy to some degree. The only thing that’s different about me in wine is that I’ll get excited and chat loads about yeast and vessels and skin contact (of the grape kind): something that might bore those not in the wine trade a little...
WHERE AND IN WHAT ROLES ARE WOMEN IN THE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE AT YOUR COMPANY?
We’re all women – our MD, Sue Harris, is an amazing lady who set up Westbury in 1992. Then there’s my lovely colleagues Camille and Ellie.
DOES DIVERSITY MATTER TO YOU?
Definitely. In people and in wine! Life would be terribly boring if we just hung out in the same circles and tasted the same wines.
HOW GOOD IS YOUR WORK LIFE BALANCE?
It’s really great. However, work/life for me is a little more complex because wine is my hobby too, so when I go to wine bars in the evening it’s for “life”, but of course hugely important to my career too. I’m lucky in that my work is not just a job – it’s my passion too.
WHAT QUALITIES DOES BEING IN YOUR ROLE NECESSITATE?
Patience, organisation, creativity, thinking outside of the box... Tasting! So much tasting, and thus lots of spitting. Dominic Midgeley wrote a piece on “the art of tasting, spitting and the spittoon” which is hilarious...
IF YOU WERE A WINE, WHAT WINE WOULD YOU BE?
Very tricky. So many, but I think it would have to be a Beaujolais. Possibly Charly Thévenet’s Régnié – I think it’s my favourite Beaujolais (at the moment – that changes a lot). Why? Light and energetic in style (I like to think I’m an optimistic and easy going person). It has a wide array of aromas and notes, and I have lots of different sides to me. It’s made as naturally as possible too which reflects my ethos in trying to always eat/drink from sustainable sources. You can buy it at Roberson Wine.