Select Page

In memoriam: Sarah Morphew Stephen MW

In memoriam: Sarah Morphew Stephen MW

It is with regret that we share that Sarah Morphew Stephen MW passed away on 13 June 2023.

In 1970 Sarah Morphew became the first woman to pass the MW examination. Sarah was an active member of the Institute and celebrated her 50th MW anniversary in 2020.

Sarah started her wine trade career in Porto as a student with Adriano Ramos. It quickly became evident that her way into the trade was through the technical side, so she studied Oenology at Bordeaux University at the time of the famous Ribereau Gayon and Emile Peynaud. On returning to England Sarah worked for Harvey’s of Bristol, St James’s Bonded Warehouse in Bermondsey, Brown and Pank at the Stockwell bottling plant and IDV where she passed the MW examination to become the First Lady MW.

She became wines and Spirits buyer for Sam Smith’s Brewery in Tadcaster before taking over as Wines, Spirits and Beer Controller at ASDA Superstores in Morley. She moved to London to become Marketing Director for Stowells of Chelsea at the time of the launch of the 3 litre Wine Box.

After a move to Scotland with her husband, she opened Glasgow’s first wine warehouse, The Barrel Sélection, which later developed into an agency supplying wine to the Scottish wholesale trade. At the same time she joined Food Brands  to run their quality control division which included making wine for the supermarket trade in Chile and Argentina.

In 1997 Sarah retired from the wine trade when she purchased her first Georgian Edinburgh New Town property as offices, for conversion into residential use, under the BSA Property banner. This lead to other similar building projects including a farm house in the rural Alentejo district of Portugal which is now being run by her son Simon. Other property projects eventually led her to a cottage in Suffolk which was completely refurbished for her eventual dotage, though she spent most of her time living with Graeme in Dirleton, Scotland where she could indulge her love of gardening and Church flower arranging.

If you would like to pass on your condolences to the family, the IMW can arrange this for you – please email Luke Stephen: