Charles Metcalfe | Vistage UK
Speaker Bio

Charles Metcalfe

Charles Metcalfe is one of the best-known, most spontaneous and amusing wine critics in Britain. He presented drinks and occasionally food items for 12 years as one of the Richard-and-Judy team on the ITV programme, ‘This Morning’, and was the drinks expert for ‘Taste Today’ on the Taste TV CFW channel.  He has also presented many wine and food programmes on the Granada Breeze satellite channel. His recent TV appearances have been as a wine expert on ‘Great Food Live’ and Sunday Lunch Live’ on UK Food (BBC digital TV/Sky TV). He is co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge, the world’s biggest wine competition, held annually in London, and was one of the founders of Wine INTERNATIONAL magazine.

Charles is in great demand to talk (never lecture) about wine. His friendly, relaxed style and abundant store of winey anecdotes wins any audience, and makes the sometimes pompous and intimidating subject of wine easy and fun. He prefers his audiences to have a glass in hand. An evening of ‘Wine Options’ is one of his specialities – tables (of total amateurs, wine enthusiasts or anywhere in between) compete with each other to guess the identity of a series of wines.

You can read Charles regularly in WINE & SPIRIT and ‘blue wine’ (if you understand Portuguese) and he is the UK correspondent for ‘Wine Business International’, a trade magazine published in Germany. He is working on a book about Portuguese wines, food and places to visit, ‘The Wine & Food Lover’s Guide to Portugal, published in September 2007. ‘The Wines of Spain & Portugal’, which he wrote jointly with his wife, Kathryn McWhirter, won the 1989 Glenfiddich Drinks Book of the Year Award. Their ‘Sainsbury’s Pocket Food & Wine Guide’, a guide to which wines to drink with which food, was published in October 1995. He also acts as a consultant for restaurant wine lists, and a guide on wine tours.

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Charles Metcalfe started his undistinguished academic career at Eton, and continued it at Christ Church, Oxford. Here he sang in the Cathedral every day, acted a lot, and learned about wine. A month’s hard work at the end just saw him through his degree. He tried to run a wine business for a while with two Oxford friends and drank free for a couple of years, but realised he was no businessman. So he went into the City. After a miserable spell working as an investment analyst for a unit trust group, they let him go to become a singer. Little by little, the singing engagements materialised – in Kent Opera, the Singers Company, the Monteverdi Choir, work as a soloist round the world from Berlin to Brunei. He appeared as a soloist in concerts and opera throughout the UK and Europe, and sang in televised productions of ‘Orfeo’ by Monteverdi, and ‘La Péricole’ by Offenbach, as well as performing as a guest principal at the English National Opera.

Then wine reared its head again. A lucky chance found him in the Evening Standard wine-tasting team, winning contests in France, Germany and California. The booze bug bit. In 1983 he wrote an article for a trade magazine, Wine and Spirit International. With Robert Joseph, he co-started a new consumer wine magazine (originally called ‘What Wine?’, then ‘WINE Magazine’, now ‘Wine INTERNATIONAL’). Suddenly, Charles Metcalfe was a wine expert!

He still sings in the shower, and lives near Gatwick with his wife and occasional children, 2 cats and a bearded dragon.

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