Matt Douglas - Managing Director
After eight years of immersion in the UK on-trade, culminating in the role of commercial director with one of the UK’s best known distributors, Matt decided to broaden his horizons still further. The position of managing director with Stevens Garnier is his new frontier, and his mission to transform the company into one of the UK’s leading agency houses, representing the Sogrape family of companies, together with other leading brands from across the globe.
Before joining Stevens Garnier, Matt, a thoroughbred Kiwi, spent 15 years in his native New Zealand running wineries (including his own!) and various retail operations. This spanned the days from when Marlborough was little more than giant pasture for sheep (or a leisure centre as they like to call it there), to it being a powerhouse of wine production. He is no stranger to the energy of change.
When not shaping the fortunes of Stevens Garnier, Matt, a passionate cyclist, can be seen labouring in lycra and fluorescent yellow tunics on the mean streets of Oxfordshire. Sadly not a good look.
T: 01865 263301
M: 07976 923828
Jane Cranston - Finance Director
Jane is older than the furniture at Stevens Garnier – indeed older than all the fixtures and fittings! She goes right back to July 1976 when Stevens Garnier began, and she knows everything about the company’s history that is worth knowing (and quite a bit that isn’t!). Yep, she goes back as far as telex machines, Kalamazoo manual accounts and typewriters. When not reminiscing about the good old days (when founder Alastair Stevens did all the buying and selling), Jane keeps a firm hand on the financial tiller and is justifiably proud that 34 years later Stevens Garnier is still going strong, has a great Balance Sheet and is currently launching itself into the next 34 years. Most embarrassing moment – took place in a restaurant in London 25 years ago and no, she’s not going to tell us what it is! (Of the four people then present one might just read this – he’ll know who he is!) Most useful skill – speaking French. She can even crack jokes in French which fortunately most of the rest of us can’t understand.
T: 01865 263300
M: 07771 867205
Johnny Powell - Director
Johnny Powell is the office Grandpa - ‘Baba’ to those in the know - and has been with Stevens Garnier for 30 of its 34 years. There is not much he doesn’t know about the Wine Trade, and in the olden days (before mobile phones and computers) Johnny used to sell in the old fashioned way – by being a knight of the road. When not cradling his blackberry he (sometimes) yearns for those days when personality was all and wizardry was less! It is just as well that Johnny is happily married because his love affair with Portugal has been going on for years! The offspring from this union are many, and whether it is Port from Sandeman or Vinho Verde from Quinta de Azevedo, Johnny will have had something to do with it. Sadly he still doesn’t speak Portuguese (love affairs can be conducted in any language), nor Spanish and not much French. In fact so cross was he in 1995 with a Chilean Export Manager (who has long since left the Trade) that he’s still trying to work out how to say, in Spanish, “get out of my car, you’re pissing me off!”
T: 01865 263300
M: 07801 570361
Ed Brewer - Regional Account Manager, South
A man who names his most faithful companion after his favourite grape shows true dedication to all things vinous. Having worked in the London wine trade for over 18 years, in 2003 Ed gave up the bright lights of the city to serve with dedication his customers throughout the South. He can be found from Brighton to Biggleswade and Lowestoft to Lands End carrying the SG torch, armed with a cheerful smile and some witty repertoire, which can only be dwarfed by his extensive knowledge of wine. After his black Labrador, family, allotment and Whitesnake, Ed’s other great passion is rugby. Fortunately, like many fathers, he can realise his missed glory through watching his two sons from the touchline.
T: 01865 263300 / 01892 684164 (home office)
M: 07798 525922
Richard Veale - Prestige Sales Manager
Richard (sensibly) dismissed the high life of stockbroking after only six months in favour of the wine trade. Having read the books and passed the exams, he spent ten months working abroad as a cellar hand, first in NZ (living in a monastery at Mission Vineyards!) before moving on to Simi Winery in California. After four years running his own wine business he joined Stevens Garnier in 1998. Richard’s knowledge of all aspects of the wine business is encyclopaedic, and his attention to detail legendary. In fact it has become an unwritten rule at Stevens Garnier that nothing should be sent out without having been passed under Richard’s beady eye, and his historian’s mind (as a history graduate) ensures that factual details are correct. Richard’s customers and colleagues alike value his integrity and knowledge. If Richard says something (especially a bottle of wine!) is good, you can be sure it is – no spin about Richard. He is also a great team player and will help out on any side of the business that needs him.
T: 01865 263300
M: 07802 483558
Chris Appleby - Key Account Manager + Oxford Area
When Chris left his native Cornwall at the age of 18 to pursue an academic career in Criminology and Criminal Justice, the wine trade was not part of the plan. However, the dark side of the criminal world drove him to seek solace in alcohol and after graduation, like many before and since, he was offered the benevolent hand of friendship by Majestic wines. A rise to senior management was followed by successful stints with both Hallgarten-Druitt and VIVAS wines and now, with his welcome arrival at Stevens Garnier, the British criminal fraternity can finally rest easy - Chris is not coming back!
Although wine is his passion, away from work Chris’s talents in sports and DIY have led him to be likened to Tiger Woods, Lionel Messi and Laurence Llewelyn Bowen. Unfortunately for him he plays football like Tiger Woods, Golf like Lawrence Lleweyln Bowen and as for Lionel Messi...? He failed his GCSE woodwork several times.
T: 01865 263308
M: 07771 867 204
Bob Ratcliffe - Angel of the North
Having been born in Wantage, later attending Oxford Poly, Bob found his homing instinct for those Dreaming Spires drawing him back to Oxford when he joined Stevens Garnier as ‘our man up North’ in 1999. Bob’s early career was in hotel management and later with Center Parcs when they launched in the UK, and his first foray into sales was with the now extinct Gilbeys Wholesale followed by Remy & Associates. He occasionally lives in Nottinghamshire but is more often to be found in his car, from where his unrivalled knowledge of 'The Service Stations of UK' could win him a place on Mastermind. Big Bob is one of life’s enthusiasts and is a keen rugby coach, veteran scrum half, karaoke king (and queen) and obsessive quiz fan - this last proving a nightmare for his colleagues each Christmas...
T: 01865 263300 / 01623 883214 (home office)
M: 07887 707496
Chris Gilbey - Angel of the South
Chris G has worked with the SG portfolio, in several guises, since the heady days of Nadder Catering & Wines in 1985, specialising in on-trade, private, military and corporate supply. Working fully alongside the team, looking after Wiltshire, Hampshire, Dorset and Oxfordshire south, he manages to combine his love of wines - especially Chardonnay and Champagne - with a devotion to "The Widge" a gorgeous black Labrador girl and an almost fanatical following of Ping-Pong, or "Whiff-Waff" as London Mayor Boris Johnson would call the game! Combine that with his enthusiasm for tennis, music (of which he in-famously recorded a single, "Moonlight Lady" in 1980 for Laser Records/WEA) and late night Jenga - well, that's what he calls it - Agent Gilbey is a man who definitely "lives his dream" within the wide boundaries that make up the wine trade.
Organising a party or wedding; starting up a new restaurant, pub, hotel or club or just needing a better, more sophisticated, charming and delectable chap to make your wine list infinitely superior to what you have now? Call this man and maybe change your life forever...!
T: 01794 390878 (home office)
M: 07768 053292
Nigel Woodgate - Shop Manager
Nigel is the guardian of our wine shop in Oxford and has a history in the trade stretching far back into the mists of time. When he started, Australia was shaking off the Monty Python jokes and beginning to produce serious wine, Austria was still using anti freeze to spice up its offering, whilst Beaujolais Nouveau was something people actually wanted to drink?!? Born and raised in the Garden of England, (now the vineyard of England), in his early years he tried his hand at “cheffing” but couldn’t stand the heat. In time-honoured tradition therefore, he got out of the kitchen. He has a keen interest in (or weird obsession with) vintage organs (musical ones, rather than internal variety) and would like to collect more of them and remain married, if possible. Into the music of the late sixties and early seventies he also likes good food and good wine and, not unlike himself, the wines he loves to sell have plenty of character, are not too heavy, and have considerable depth.
T: 01865 263303
Maria Snelling - Sales Administrator
The self proclaimed backbone of the SG sales office, Maria’s boundless energy, quick wit & enthusiasm for life has ensured a devoted band of admirers across the home counties and beyond. Ripples of shock rocked Paris & London when she decided to ditch the catwalk for the world of wine, cheese & endless lunches. When not keeping the wheels oiled at SG HQ, she can be found astride her long suffering but undoubtedly loyal stallion hacking through the Oxfordshire countryside. Despite the many efforts to the contrary, to date Maria’s colleagues have found no sound justification for her to bring the whip into the office.
T: 01865 263308
Tim Piper - I.T. Manager
Tim’s been with Stevens Garnier since he was in short trousers. Come to think of it he still is, or at least he still is when the temperature is anything above freezing point. An avid Liverpool supporter, not to mention any other sport that’s going, Tim’s I.T. skills have been honed to finding the most efficient, and least obtrusive way, of keeping the entire office abreast of the cricket, tennis, football and rugby scores. Anyone want the score? Just contact Tim. Tim has dragged Stevens Garnier’s technology from the Nineteenth (remember the talk elsewhere of Kalamazoo and telexes) to the 21st century via endless computer upgrades, and he’s currently fighting with the continual requirement from customers, colleagues and suppliers alike for more and more information. A marketing man by training, he sometimes wonders how on earth he ended up as a computer whizz - but thank goodness he did.
T: 01865 263300
Will Spivey - Supply Chain Manager
Will is a human enigma machine - decoding the erratic and complex sales patterns of hundreds of products, planning, ordering and ensuring everything arrives in good time. Without him the war could not be fought, let alone won. For reasons lost in the mists of time, after University he headed off to a life on the high seas. No mere deckhand or powder monkey though, but a fully accredited skipper plying the transatlantic routes from Portsmouth to the Caribbean (others too) for a number of years, returning to land only when love called. A Geordie by birth, he hides it well - only the occasional “divvie” or “glaiky” giving himself away at moments of stress.
T: 01865 263300
Linda Sakin - Credit Control Manager
Jujutsu – roughly translated from Japanese means “the gentle art”. Yes if Linda practiced martial arts she’d be a Jujutsu master, however she doesn’t and she’s not. What she does have though is a black belt in credit management and her mastery of that “gentle art” ensures the flow of wine leaving our warehouse is matched equally by the ebb of pennies coming in to pay for it. Linda loves all her customers – the good, the bad and the, well everyone – and so great is her seductive charm, that they seem to love her back. We even suspect some customers are late with payments just so they will get a stern call from Linda. A life long “Gooner” she has fond memories of the Arsenal glory days. No, not the league and cup double of 1970-71, but Freddie Ljundberg’s famous Calvin Klein adverts of a few years ago.
T: 01865 263300
Tessa Davies - Office Manager
After 20 years with the company Tessa has covered for almost everyone in the business. She is one of those wonderful people who step up to the plate every time they are asked. First she typed everyone’s letters, then she sent their faxes, now with the e-mail she ought to be redundant but no – she is chief HR assistant, sample manager, shop assistant, stationery clerk, proof reader, health & safety officer, insurance clerk, re-cycling manager, waste disposal officer, maintenance manager, keeper of the Petty Cash , cook and bottle washer. Every office needs a Tessa! In her spare time she has brought up three children, walked the dog, fed the husband, created a wonderful garden, circulated some very poor jokes and been a huge support to everyone.
T: 01865 263300
Graham Shirley - Warehouse Manager
Graham is always in the driving seat when it comes to warehouse matters - either the forklift or the van. He can be found out of hours putting in extra mileage on the driving range or the golf course. He has the skills and competence of a true professional gained from many years experience on and off the golf course - where he would far rather be than in the warehouse. He has skilfully worked it so that ‘overtime’ can be taken on the golf course (don’t tell his wife!). Graham knows to the centimetre where every bottle is situated in his well-organised warehouse, which he has down to a tee. If the computer says that we have one bottle of Chateau Plonk 2004, then so we do - and you’re guaranteed to find it. Customers can always tell when Graham is on holiday because that’s the only time stock ends up in the rough! He pesters the sales force to get more business with Golf Clubs .........we’re sure they want to really but are worried that we might never see him or his satnav again!
T: 01865 263300