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Fred Clelland - From Wine Lover to Wine Professional

Fred shares his journey from wine lover to wine professional in the space of two years during the lockdowns. Fred has founded the wine subscription service Plonk Here he explains how he made it happen.

Just as everyone’s taste in wine is unique, so is everyone’s journey into developing the bug

of intrigue and curiosity to know more and more about the magical drink we all love (well, I

assume you have that adoration if you find yourself here!).

Whilst my Level 3 with Rebecca in 2021 propelled this hunger to new heights, the nascent

beginnings formed long before. Having been lucky enough to spend a year working for a

winemaker and importer in Bordeaux back in 2013 during my studies, my formal application

to wine was side-lined for a number of years as I forged a career in advertising.

Come 2020, somewhat disillusioned by the path I’d taken, and with far more time to see the

wood from the trees during the UK’s first lockdown, I took the decision to re-start my line of

work, and follow my true passion – wine. A WSET Level 2 crash-course at the main school in

Bermondsey, and a fortunate segue from advertising, into a job looking after marketing for

an online wine shop, and I was on my way.

But I knew there was so much more to learn, to explore and to experience, and more exciting environments to venture into in order to begin really satiating this endless desire for wine understanding and connection. Roll on January 2021, and the UK’s third / fourth /fifth lockdown (they seemingly blurred after the first one), and what better way to productively fill the evenings and weekends than Rebecca’s three-month WSET Level 3 course online.

I couldn’t have asked for a better structure and approach to learning. Every

lesson and section perfectly covered the technical aspects of wine in every single step (and there are thousands of influences!) but also the more nuanced and enthralling element of tasting this much-loved liquid.

With the tools at my disposal and a solid pass in L3 (thank you Rebecca!), to pursue my love

of wine further, I started as a sommelier/front of house at a wine bar in Hackney in the

summer of 2021, and have gone onto be responsible for the wine buying in this

establishment too. Further to that, I also run a side-business called Plonk that curates monthly wine subscriptions specifically to each individual’s tastes, and provides informative tasting cards on each wine too (useful for the budding enthusiast and also those who know their stuff!). You can check the wine quiz out here if you want to start your journey.

It is without doubt thanks to the mass amount of knowledge acquired from my L3, that still

to this day underpins my decision-making of so many areas in my day-to-day job in wine,

that I am able to interact with my passion and earn a living from it.

Whether it’s as a hobby, or to carve out a career in wine, I see Rebecca’s L3 course as

essential to better comprehending the many elements that contribute to the end product of

wine, and ultimately what therefore influences everyone’s own subjective adoration of it.


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