Team news

Nick in his hospital bed

Medical matters, building work, work permits and more.

Quite a lot has been going on behind the scenes at Most notably for me, Nick has been in hospital for more than a week and has just come home. He was booked in for a 1,000-mile service of his gut, which has been a problem since he was a teenager.

(The squeamish should skip this paragraph.) When he opened Nick up, the surgeon was pleased to discover what is likely to have caused him intermittent pain since his last major surgery in 2012 (which precluded my reviewing the 2011 primeurs in Bordeaux). There was not only a giant hernia and various adhesions but a nasty kink in his intestine. So he got out the iron…

The surgeon was pleased with his handiwork and how Nick seemed to be recovering from the 3.5-hour operation (the picture above was taken the day after the op) but on two separate subsequent nights Nick’s heart rate shot up to 165 when it should be between 60 and 100, with the result that of Nick’s eight nights in hospital, four (or was it five?) were spent in intensive care.

He’ll have to take it easy for the next few weeks, and it’s difficult to see him doing much restaurant reviewing in the short term, but before he went into hospital he supplied a review for this Saturday, of an excellent new Indian place in central London.

Julia’s life has also been transformed. You may have noticed that she has not been quite as prolific as before on Until September 2022 she is spending three days a week on the next, fifth edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine of which she is lead editor, ably assisted by Tara Q Thomas, editor-at-large of Wines & Spirits magazine in New York. As if that weren’t a big enough change, she has also temporarily located to her fiancée’s flat in Bromley while her house in Forest Gate is extended to make way for the happy couple. They hope to move back to Forest Gate in late August.

Julia’s previous role as fastidious copy-editor has been ably assumed by Andrew Morris, the other professional copy-editor on our team.

Richard has also changed his role so that he is devoting only one day a week to now that he is employed four days a week by the wine-minded members’ club 67 Pall Mall (currently much discussed on our Members’ forum) in Singapore. As you can see in this video, they are opening a second club there. Richard had a bit of a scare when it seemed as though he and his wife Kath were going to be chucked out of the country. (The Singaporeans don’t recognise wine expertise as a desirable skill apparently.) But he recently reported, ‘I’ve been granted an increasingly coveted Employment Pass for a two-year period’.

After what felt like a frustratingly long time confined to barracks in Padova, Walter has gingerly started to travel again within Italy and will soon be sharing the fruits of his labours on recent trips to the Langhe and Custoza. Michael has been tasting like mad at his home in the Ahr Valley. Look out for his comprehensive review of 2020 Mosels from VDP members next week.

Matthew Hayes has been deep in the work required of any first-year Master of Wine student and has also seen too much of the inside of a hospital, Dijon this time. Samantha Cole-Johnson has applied to join him on the MW study course and is currently hard at work as a viticultural intern for Harlan Estate in Napa Valley. We look forward to welcoming Elaine Chukan Brown back into the fold now that she is slightly less preoccupied by presenting great webinars for the California Wine Institute, although she is currently looking after her parents in her native Alaska.