Rod Smith

Rod Smith

Date an MW: 2006
Based in: France

Member profile

Biography

I came to wine, as so many people in the UK trade, through a Christmas vacation job with Oddbins, whilst studying at Chelsea School of Art, in 1987. I completed my degree in illustration and graphic design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee. Whilst working as a freelance illustrator, I ended up working part-time in Oddbins again. Here I decided that wine for a living, with pictures as a hobby, was more secure, affordable and rewarding than the other way round. After many years in Oddbins from branches to head office to parent company, I established a consultancy business involving wine education and marketing. During this time I studied for and passed the Master of Wine theory and practical examinations. In 2005 I joined wine importer Mentzendorff, a company largely owned by Champagne Bollinger. Here I completed my Master of Wine dissertation, taking as my subject "Chenin Blanc in Anjou-Saumur". In 2007 I found irresistible the lure of dealing with the world's finest wines and the world's most discerning customers, when the chance to work for Vins Sans Frontières in Nice came up. I have subsequently established the Riviera Wine Academy, offering wine education, entertainment, consultancy and advice to the residents of, and visitors to, the Côte d'Azur and beyond.