Mark Brandon is 74, married to Sue for fifty-two years and with two adult children and six grandchildren. He was the Wine Trade’s last indentured apprentice and has worked in wine continuously for over 50 years, starting at J.H.G.Hamilton in Canterbury.
Intent on one day running his own business, he sought positions that would further his knowledge. He thus ran (and rebuilt) the cellars of the oldest, and then largest UK mail order wine business, the (I.E.C.) Wine Society, before joining IDV, now Diageo, the world’s largest wine and spirit company.
There he spent two years in Quality Control, two years in Wine Purchasing and four years in Product Marketing, where he controlled 10% of the Country’s wine imports.
After moving to Dorset in 1974, he spent twelve years in charge of the Wine & Spirit department at Hall & Woodhouse brewery, switching their purchasing from the UK Trade to direct sourcing abroad. Mark was also a Director of the Clansouth consortium of 26 breweries, where he formed, and then chaired for five years, the wine-buying committee. For five years (starting in 1981) his own company, International Wine Services, provided the shipping, scheduling and bottling function for Clansouth.
Whilst in Dorset he regularly tutored catering students on the WSET courses at Bournemouth College, and he and his wife Sue ran a successful consumer Wine Club. They also opened a specialist wine shop Brandons of Salisbury, but with the onset of recession decided it had become impractical.
In 1987 he joined Mayor Sworder the City wine merchants, and ran their purchasing and stock-control for eight years. Following the take-over of Mayor Sworder by J.T.Davies in 1995, he left to form Brandon Associates, using his experience as a buyer to help educate and inform both the trade and consumer. As well as his distinction and two scholarships in the WSET wine trade exams, Mark is a member of the Champagne Academy.
He has achieved an Adult and Further Education teaching qualification and was also a panel judge on the annual International Wine Challenge. In 2002 after an 8-year art and history course with the Open University he also gained a BA.
Mark has tutored courses for Tesco staff, EDAP (Ford Motor Company), ACE (Peter Symonds College) Winchester and Eastleigh College. He then concentrated on weekend residential consumer courses for ARCA colleges in Sussex and Wales, and HF (Activity) Holidays around the country. He has written for Robert Parker in the US, and worked with Taste of the Vine, an international specialist in corporate entertainment. He also tutored courses at the prestigious Marlborough College Summer School.
For nine years he used his buying experience to manage a multi-million pound budget for the local NHS Trust, specialising in maintenance and printing. He also led on innovation in recycling. On retirement, Sue and he set up a Re-use unit at the hospital, saving the Trust £100,000 a year as well as sending redundant equipment to Africa.
Now mark divides his time between: SWIG (Salisbury Wine Interest Group), Salisbury Garden Volunteers (The Green Team), guiding in the Cathedral (especially Magna Carta) and working on the Cathedral archives. He also proof-reads patient documents for the Hospital and Cathedral and produces three websites:- and www.sgv-greenteam.com.
His latest project is Jot & Tittle , a newsletter for Cathedral guides on interesting items found in his archive research work.
Marlborough College wine course
Tasting at the International Wine Challenge in London
OU Degree ceremony at Festival Hall
Shredding and baling paper for re-sale