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Meet the team

Meet the team

Melissa Draycott
Managing Director
Melissa Draycott

With over 30 years’ experience working in the UK Wines and Spirits trade, including 12 years as Sales Director for our company, Melissa took over as Managing Director in 2021. She is well known in the trade from her time in Senior Wines and Spirits Buying roles at Sainsbury’s. On one particular buying trip she fell in love with the magical world of Sherry and Jerez.

She is committed to supporting the next generation of wine professionals and is involved in education with the WSET, Wines from Spain’s Gran Orden de Caballeros and the UK’s Champagne Academy. Melissa loves nothing more than being amongst our customers, partners and trade friends sharing her enthusiasm for our wines and spirits. Always with glass half full!

Suzie Parr
Sales Director
Suzie Parr

Yorkshire lass Suzie is our queen of the multiples, having experienced the supermarkets from both sides of the desk with her background as a buyer. Combining her consummate sales professionalism with an astonishing ability to party, she makes everything look a lot easier than we know it is! Her commendable language skills come in handy when ordering rounds of more than “cuatro cervezas” for her team mates. Constantly kept on her toes by two boisterous sons, Suzie loves a glass or two of Beronia Reserva Rioja to relax at the end of the day.

Paul Shepherd
Head of On Trade and Specialist Retail
Paul Shepherd
In 2011, Gonzalez Byass UK was looking to expand its Palomino-based empire Northwards. After several fruitless sorties outside the M25 the company was yet to find a suitable individual to meet its strict requirements; an intelligent, passionate and presentable wine enthusiast with own transportation. At the same time, a young Northern male was out foraging in the forests of West Wirral, searching for berries to ferment into something potent to sell to his neighbours. Frustrated with his job at the coal mines, he decided to erect some ‘Man+Van for hire’ signs around the North West in an attempt to find a new revenue source. One of these signs was seen by a wandering GBUK employee and the rest is history. Director of Sales, Melissa Draycott said of Paul’s appointment “While we couldn’t quite find anyone in the North of England to meet all five of our necessary requirements, Paul does at least have his own transport”. Paul can usually be found sitting on his rocking chair on his front porch drinking Beronia's 198 Barricas.
Ivo Stoyanov
Business Development Manager – London
Ivo Stoyanov
Since starting out in the hospitality industry in 1997, Ivo’s dedication to his trade quickly shone through, earning him the accolade of Best Sommelier of Bulgaria in both 2001 and 2003. He left his home country for London in 2005, where he his roles as head sommelier and wine buyer at prestigious account including Joel Rebuchon gave him an in depth understanding of the ways of the UK trade. Ivo brought his expertise to GBUK’s London team in October 2017, and is happy to indulge his passion for sherry with a glass of Tio Pepe Fino, his go to tipple.
Arthur Voulgaris
Business Development Manager
Arthur Voulgaris
Arthur likes to refer to himself as a boomerang employee. After a 12 month sabbatical in NYC he’s returned to work at GBUK in November 2019, heading up some key accounts in London and beyond. As a half Suffolk and Spitalfields resident, he likes drinking Champagne Deutz in the big smoke and Tio Pepe Sherry in the garden in Suffolk. A bit of a foodie, wine lover and traveller. Serial foster carer of dogs through Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
Bryan Smith
Business Development Manager – London & South East
Bryan Smith
Essex Boy Bryan started his preparations for working in the drinks trade by first joining the British Army. In true military fashion, he worked all over the world without ever realising which country he was actually in at the time. Then, after firstly honing his wine skills with Oddbins, he has worked across wine, beer and spirits and is now working as part of the London sales team at Gonzalez Byass UK. Passionate about Sherries, Ports, Wine, Champagnes and cocktails he couldn’t be in a better place. As a keen hillwalker, he has been known to disappear off the grid for a couple of weeks at time in the Scottish Highlands. Mostly now any spare time is spent around family, pets, DIY and his beloved beach hut. But when he gets a few quiet moments he does it with a chilled glass of Leonor Palo Cortado
Marcin Schilling
Business Development Manager – London
Marcin Schilling
Hailing originally from Poland, Marcin has certainly made his mark on the London food and drink scene over the previous decade or so. Previous roles as a Sommelier and 7 years working in the Wine Department at Selfridges have given him a great understanding of the needs of the restaurant and prestige retail sectors. Hugely passionate about wine in all its form, Marcin is frequently found holding forth in masterclasses and tutored tastings for restaurant staff and consumers. Joining the London Sales Team in January 2013, he quickly earned himself a terrier-like reputation for seeking out homes for the most prestigious wines in the portfolio. Winner of the Champagne Academy Award in his Selfridges days, Marcin enjoys a glass of something rather special from Deutz or Domaine Zind Humbrecht’s Clos Jebsal.
David Hayward
Business Development Manager – Midlands, Southwest England & Wales
David Hayward
After a long career in catering and the culinary arts, David joined Gonzalez Byass UK in 2013, looking after the Wild West and the Welsh Valleys. When not stuck behind a herd of cows or a flock of sheep he can possibly be found flying Tiger Moths and Microlights or strolling the Wiltshire downs and walking his imaginary dog along the Kennet and Avon Canal. David is the true gent in the gang, and despite our best efforts to bring him down to our level, is rarely seen without a jacket and tie. However, we all know that appearances can be deceptive, and we have discovered that under that suave exterior lies a rocking karaoke singer! An enthusiastic cook and seafood lover, his favourite meal would be of Lobster Thermidor or Oysters, washed down with a crisp, cold glass of Jackson Estate Green Lip Sauvignon Blanc.
Hamish Bredin
Business Development Manager – North England, Scotland & Northern Ireland
Hamish Bredin
Hamish is truly nomadic by nature having grown up in South East Asia as the son of a Gurkha yet having also worked in Bracknell. He’s really seen it all. Absorbing some wine knowledge as a youthful, long-haired ruffian for Corney & Barrow, he went on to work for Majestic & Enotria only to discover not all wines came packaged in wooden cases. More recently he has lost all his hair & found himself in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, ostensibly due to the spoiling number of superb record shops to be found. When Hamish isn’t avoiding phone signal by delving deep into Northumberland he can be found at home alphabetising his post-punk record collection whilst honing his Geordie accent or fabricating the ‘perfect curry’. A keen gig goer & reader of words, Hamish prefers life unfiltered much like a chilled glass of Dos Palmas Fino paired with the unpredictable resonances of The Cure.
Steve Shield
Senior Business Manager – Multiple Retail
Steve Shield
One of GBUK’s founding fathers, Steve has worked as a business manager in the wine industry since modern records began. His huge experience, methodical approach and vast reserves of patience confer an air of Zen-like repose, make Steve a safe and reliable set of hands for a diverse selection of channels and accounts. It is no surprise that Steve also relies upon this acute mental discipline in his private life; perhaps when fishing or whilst enjoying a round of golf. The not-so-recent arrival of a daughter has transformed this former urban wolf into the model rural father. These days he is more likely to be concentrating on his rigorous fitness regime than partying, but don’t be fooled – he still throws some mean shapes on the dance floor! However, some things remain consistent; Steve likes nothing better than to relax with a glass of Quinta do Noval’s 20 year old Tawny.
Richard Witter
Senior Business Manager - Multiple Retail
Rich Witter
Having worked for GB for more than 8 years, working across marketing, independent retail and on-trade and now multiple retail, Rich is fast becoming part of the furniture. Affectionately known as the office hoover in marketing, less affectionately known as a biscuit thief in customer services, Covid enforced working from home has no doubt been beneficial to his health. Hobbies include nature photography, rescuing hedgehogs and attempting to exercise enough to justify his eating. Originally from Warrington, with subsequent spells in Bath, York, Newcastle and Windsor he has now become a respectable married man and dad to two daughters, and only occasionally indulges his penchant for dubious dressing up and drinking from shoes. There’s not much that Rich doesn’t drink, but his particular favourite is Disznoko’s glorious 5 Puttonyos Tokaji with as many desserts as he can muster.
Rachel Brown
Senior Business Manager – Multiple Retail
Rachel Brown
With a background in sales and marketing across both soft drinks and spirits, expanding her knowledge into wine felt like the next obvious step, particularly as a passionate wine consumer. A keen traveller and explorer, she loves to head off trekking in far off destinations ( favourites being either Torres del Paine in Patagonia or the Annapurna Region of Nepal). The arrival of her two young sons means that adventures tend to be limited to the zoo or soft play, and she is more likely to be found carrying scooters and bikes rather than backpacks… but there’s always retirement to look forward to! At the weekends she loves to dine out with friends, and then blow away the cobwebs with a lively game of netball the next morning. Rachel likes to relax at the end the day with a delicious cold glass of Zind, or a refreshing London No1 Gin & Tonic in the early evening sun.
Robert Markham
Head of Fine Wines
Robert Markham
Rob began his career in wine in a small independent wine shop in rural Wiltshire. It was here he spent solitary Sunday shifts behind the till, sifting through wine literature. His first ever trip to Spain was to Jerez as a 13-year-old on an exchange and years later he went on to study Spanish and French at university, so it’s rather fitting he landed up with Gonzalez Byass! After 6 years living the London life, Rob retreated to his country roots in west Hampshire in search of more space for his growing family, and oversized wine fridge. Rob likes to spend his spare time doing all manner of outdoorsy things, but what better to come back to than a glass of Pinot Gris Rotenberg from Domaine Zind Humbrecht with some good locally sourced food.
Alison Easton
Marketing Director
Alison Easton
Joining GBUK in January 2009 for a six month stint, it appears that Alison must have enjoyed herself as she is still here ten years later. Having been in the wine trade for rather more years than she cares to count, she is in her element when thinking up new and often slightly bizarre ways to enthuse the great British public about our wines. Country living mum of three, with a bouncy rescue dog and two cats, she loves salsa dancing, making endless plans to redecorate her house and wondering what the term ‘spare time’ refers to. Spoilt for choice, her favourite tipple of the moment is a chilled bottle of Pazos do Lusco Albariño by the stream at the end of her garden.
Sarah Pollard
Senior Brand Manager
Sarah Pollard
Making budgetary control look like an art form, we are convinced that Sarah was put on earth to prove that it is possible to fully understand a spreadsheet, complete with pivot tables, and still be someone you want to spend time with. Responsible for our range of authentic Sherry, she is a hugely experienced brand manager, combining cool resolve with a flair for impeccable implementation. She somehow found time to complete a Diploma in Digital Marketing. Busy mother of three, Sarah is also obsessed with challenging herself to run crazy races, so it comes as no surprise that Sarah has hefty reserves of tenacity, patience and commitment. Her hectic schedule allows for little opportunity for relaxation and the only thing that keeps her going is the thought of a glass of ice cold Tio Pepe at the end of the day.
Steph Hill
Senior Brand Manager
Steph Hill
Born and raised in Hertfordshire, Steph fell in love with all things vinous working for Majestic, and was Manager at Gerards Cross before moving to Gonzalez Byass UK. Priding herself on her organisation skills, Steph is currently undergoing counselling for her obsessive compulsion to write lists. We have a secret competiton running to see if we can find something that she has forgotten to put on her to do list – no winners to date, but we are ever hopeful. A keen painter, in her spare time Steph can be found indulging in her artistic side, cuddling her adorable baby boy, running around after her boisterous spaniel Jake, or just curled up on the sofa with a glass of Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Pinot Noir.
Victoria Jupe
Senior Brand Manager
Victoria Jupe
Victoria looks after our spirit brands and has lived the food & drink industry from birth, brought up in pubs & restaurants. Dinner table chat has always been discussing the finer detail of range changes, menus, rotas and P&L’s. So it made sense for her to head straight to Mitchell’s & Butlers where she worked in marketing for 10 years. When her twin girls arrived she set up on her own before finding her way to GBUK. She loves living on the south coast and splits her weekends between long walks in the New Forest with her girls and paddle boarding when she can escape them! Having always loved a good Cabernet, she now loves nothing more than a London No 1 Martini to kick start the weekend.
Jenn Slater
Digital Marketing Manager
Jenn Slater
Hailing from provincial New Zealand, Jenn was lured to London in 2011 by cheap Ryanair flights and the concept of Christmas in winter. Starting her career in the on-trade and experience as a brand manager, Jenn has developed an in-depth understanding of the needs of both the on and off trade. Outside work, Jenn enjoys planning trips to offbeat destinations (Uzbekistan is next on the list) and running through the green spaces of London. An avid cricket fan, a glass of Wirra Wirra’s 12th Man Chardonnay while catching up on this week’s highlights is Jenn’s idea of the perfect pairing.
Helen Yates
Brand Manager
Helen Yates
On joining the marketing team, Helen quickly curried favour when she started bringing in her delicious baked goodies and lovingly made cakes into the office! Helen looks after Gonzalez Byass Sherries, La Copa Vermouth, Croft Twist and our Spanish singular estates (these cover Viñas del vero, Pasos de Lusco, Dominio Fournier, Finca Constancia & Txomin Etxaniz). Always armed with a cheery smile and a can-do attitude, she tackles everything we send her way with enthusiasm. Helen’s rather strange love for pigs has her crowing over all things porcine. Her ideal day out is a trip to the micro pig petting zoo or the dream of course would be a holiday to the Bahamas to visit the Pig Beach in Exuma. A keen summer festival goer, Helen rocks the flowers-in-the-hair and wellies look with a glass of chilled Croft Twist in hand.
Billie Goodman
Assistant Brand Manager
Billie Goodman
Billie brings a touch of glamour to the office and knows more about the latest fashion, beauty and shopping than anyone. She joined the team in January 2015 in a marketing admin role and has now moved into brand support, working closely with Steph, helping to turn her brand vision into a reality. Outside work, she is kept busy running around after her two young children. When she manages to get a rare night off, she likes nothing better than getting together with her friends with a bottle of Vilarnau Cava. The question – should she go for pink or blue? The answer: both bottles are so pretty, she’ll have to take one of each. Cheers!
Emma Jones
Trade Marketing Manager
Emma Jones
Emma supports the on trade with all of her marketing and design expertise. Originally from Decanter, her vast experience in all things events definitely comes in handy when organising our annual trade tastings and the many types of online events we have these days! In her spare time, she can be found at home in her art studio where she enjoys creating paintings to exhibit at galleries in the South East.
Becky Smith
Marketing Admin Assistant
Becky Smith
Becky is the newest member of the Gonzalez Byass UK marketing team joining as Marketing Admin Assistant. Becky works closely with Brand Managers Helen & Victoria but is always available to offer a hand to whoever needs it. A life long Hertfordshire countryside girl, Becky can often be found out on long walks with her family including her dog and her young son, before settling down in the garden with a nice cold London No.1 and tonic!
Kerry Reid
Customer Services Manager
Kerry Reid
Kerry has been with GBUK since 2012, she is a mum of two who loves to travel with her family and her greatest wish is to cage-dive with Great White Sharks (one day)! No less exciting, but slightly safer, her day job is right at the sharp end of GBUK, managing the Customer Services team, whilst keeping a close eye on our stocks. In her spare time (when not taxiing her children around), she enjoys going to the gym, creating shapes at yoga, and the occasional chilled glass of Wirra Wirra 12th Man Chardonnay.
Kim Anderson
Customer Service Administrator
Kim Anderson
Born and raised in Harpenden, Kim joined the Customer Service team at Gonzalez Byass UK in January 2015. In her spare time, Kim enjoys travelling to places such as Thailand, Australia, South Africa and visiting her family in America. Kim is often getting out her running shoes for charity and has taken part in many runs including the Moonwalk and the London Marathon. Her wine of choice is Beronia Rioja Reserva.
Janet Betchley
Customer Service Administrator
Janet Betchley
Janet is a founder-member of the GBUK team, although, not content with the balmy St Albans’ climate, she did temporarily move her desk to a beach in Spain. Jan is a compulsive list maker (bordering on OCD), has excellent attention to detail, and is a great listener, especially when its Adele or Ed Sheeran on the gramophone. She loves being by the sea, reading and music, and is passionate about good food and wine, especially Vilarnau Cava Rosé. Jan’s motto is – Life is not a dress rehearsal.
Julie Schneider
Customer Service Administrator
Julie Schneider
Julie joined the customer service team in April 2022. A dedicated mum to two girls she is always on the go. If she’s not dropping the eldest daughter to dance classes then she may be found enjoying the peacefulness of the countryside with her youngest daughter. Since joining the company she has enjoyed sampling the Gonzalez Byass range and is yet to decide on a favourite!
Morag Woodliffe
HR Director
Morag Woodliffe
Morag has been our Part Time HRD since 2013, she is the one that is responsible for pulling together the brilliant team of people that work in our business and for ensuring that once they are here they rarely leave – we’re never sure of her tactics. It didn’t take her long to be fully absorbed in our business and she has become quite adept at consuming our brands – she says its really important to know a company well to be able to provide great HR support, we’ll believe her, thousands wouldn’t. She ensures we are all developing and growing in our roles and that we have a great company culture. When she is not doing things all HR, she is dashing all over the country with her cycling mad family. If you are interested in finding out more about opportunities, get in touch on morag@peoplepuzzles.co.uk.
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