Brian Wheaton MW
Became an MW 1967, died 2015
Tribute by Anne Wheaton
Brian became an MW in 1967, the only person to pass that year. He was never happier than talking about wine, teaching people about it, and sharing a bottle with friends. One thing he could not bear was a ‘Wine Snob’. He didn’t mind what people drank, as long as they enjoyed it.
Passing the MW encouraged Brian to change jobs, he left Hall and Bramley to go and work as a Buying Director for Mackay and Co in Guernsey. We spent 5 years there, during which time Brian took Massel’s Oenological Diploma and in 1970 was inducted into the Burgundian Order of the Chevaliers de Tastevin.
Brian spent almost 40 years in the Wine Trade, during which time he was Executive Secretary to the Wines and Spirits Association of Great Britain, and Wine Buyer for both British Home Stores and Littlewoods of Liverpool. Finally we ended up in Nassau, capital of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Brian had great hopes of spending days sailing round the many islands, but was disappointed to find there were surprisingly few yachts there. In addition to being Wine and Spirits Buyer for Bethell Robertson, he also ran night school wine courses both for Wine Waiters from the hotels, and the general public, at the College of the Bahamas.
On returning to the UK, Brian concentrated more on Wine Education. He lectured to Adults at the Birkenhead Six Form College for about 7 years. There were some lively evenings there: I believe they had to be moved from one classroom to another as they were making too much noise and disturbed the Maths class next door.
Finally Brian turned to lecturing about wine on Cruise ships. We were fortunate to visit some wonderful places, vineyards in Argentina and Chile being amongst the favourites.
He had just completed writing a children’s book and was still working on ‘The Dreaded Wine List, or how to avoid choosing the second cheapest wine on offer’ when he died. He was saddened by the fact that several courses of Chemotherapy had altered his sense of taste and smell, so he was no longer able to be a judge at the International Wine Challenge, or even enjoy a glass of his favourite wine.