Meet our team

It is a privilege to work with some of the finest wines in the world, for the people who appreciate them. Our mission is to make every part of this experience enjoyable. Our team is knowledgeable, unpretentious and passionate about fine wine, and we’re proud to steward one of Britain’s longest standing fine wine portfolios since 1854.


Our Team

  • Katy Keating (née Andersen)
    Managing Director
    Mobile: +44 (0) 7736 456 987

    Katy joined Lay & Wheeler in January 2016 and became Managing Director in the summer of the same year. Previously, she ran the service development team at onefinestay, a UK-based hospitality startup, for four years, after a year at the wine sale site Lot18 in New York City. She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an AB from Princeton University, where she majored in French and Italian. Between university and graduate school, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Italy studying artisan cheese. She also holds a WSET Diploma, having graduated with merit.

  • Simon Staples
    Director of Private Clients
    Mobile: +44 (0)7500 533 583

    Simon joined Lay & Wheeler to head efforts to increase the merchant’s work with private clients, both in the UK and coming from abroad, who have significant cellars. Previously, Simon worked at Berry Bros. & Rudd where he built their fine wine business over 23 years which included time overseas. Simon got his start in the wine trade at Harrods. He loves Bordeaux at all levels for its consistency and class, as well as top growers from Burgundy, Northern Rhone and Ribera. Openly, and frequently, he remarks he's waiting to have his epiphany about any wine from Italy, which is especially awkward for him as he's half Sicilian.

  • David Isherwood
    Head of Finance
    Mobile: +44 (0)7585 338 502

    David arrived in November 2019 to head up the newly formed Finance department as part of Lay & Wheeler’s independence under new ownership. David was previously the Finance Director at The Edward Alexander Group and most recently lead a recovery and growth project as Finance and Operations Director of its subsidiary, Gainsborough, established in 1903 and holder of a Royal Warrant. He also has deep experience in financial accounting, reporting and controls. David holds a 2008 QBE - Part Qualified ACA. Outside of work, David has a young family, enjoying travel, culture and wine!

Wine Advisory

  • David Payne
    Head of Sales
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 214
    Mobile: +44 (0)7834 353 262

    David discovered his passion for fine wine at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire where he was butler to the 11th Duke of Devonshire and Deborah Mitford, the then Duchess and their family. Having served wine to luminaries such as Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, he took this excellent apprenticeship to London where he began a 24-year career in both retail and direct wine sales. Having sold wines in Spain, Italy, Germany, China, Hong Kong and South Africa, David joined us in the spring of 2016 to lead our fine wine advisory and customer care teams.

  • Adrian Heaven
    Senior Wine Advisor
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 241
    Mobile: +44 (0)7570 952 849

    After graduating from Imperial University, Adrian worked as a geologist before realising his passion lay in wine. He joined Oddbins for just over a year and then moved to the independent fine wine merchant La Vigneronne in South Kensington, later purchased by James Handford MW and renamed Handford Wines. After five years, Adrian went to Corney & Barrow on the private client side before joining Lay & Wheeler in 2007. He’s worked with private clients here since, taking a particular interest in Burgundy, Bordeaux and the finest examples of Riesling. Adrian completed the WSET Diploma in 2001.

  • Will Hepworth
    Fine Wine Advisor
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 257
    Mobile: +44 (0)7570 951 457

    When Will joined our team in July 2011, he was familiar with the Majestic family having spent eleven years within the group. He began his career in wine at the Brighton store before moving up as manager between the Guildford, East Grinstead, Reigate, Chichester stores. Will completed the WSET Level 3 in 2001 and has nearly completed the WSET Diploma. With deep knowledge of our entire wine portfolio, Will is a frequent guest of honour at client wine tastings, known as something of a jack of all trades. However, he particularly enjoys Italian wines, especially Tuscany. Outside the office, Will is an avid cyclist.

  • Paula Hunter
    Fine Wine Advisor
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 207
    Mobile: +44 (0)7551 025 424

    Paula came to Lay & Wheeler in 2006, having travelled the world for a year after university and having worked in Leeds for several years. Paula completed the WSET Diploma in 2014, and has developed quite a nose for Burgundy and Bordeaux, both regions where she has spent some time. More recently, Paula took some time out to be with her new daughter, Lily, and is just beginning to spend more time back in the office.

  • Karen Graves
    Fine Wine Trading
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 259
    Mobile: +44 (0)7570 951 434

    In 2004, Karen joined Lay & Wheeler to manage fine wine trading. She had been working as the General Manager of a small Welsh vineyard, with responsibility for everything from production to the commercial side, which included selling their wine to the House of Commons. Karen completed the WSET Level 3 in 2013. She specialises in Bordeaux and Burgundy, and when she’s not helping to sell wine on behalf of our customers, she’s likely enjoying a good bottle of Bordeaux with her family, or perhaps on a trip to her favorite wine region, the Côte de Beaune.

  • Victoria Chaplin
    Fine Wine Advisor
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 207
    Mobile: +44 (0)7570 952 046

    Victoria joined us in 2003 after working in the IT sector in Cambridge, having first graduated with a psychology degree and worked for a local wine merchant where she developed a love of wine. Victoria joins us several days a week, whilst also looking after three young boys. Her favourite regions are the Rhone, Languedoc and the Loire, as well as Champagne. In her spare time, she runs, plays the piano and is learning to play the cello.

  • Sam Cunliffe
    Fine Wine Advisor
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 215
    Mobile: +44 (0)7570 952 596

    After seventeen years working within the hospitality industry, the past twelve of which were spent managing the wine programme at a local award-winning pub and wine store, Sam decided to pursue his interest in fine wine at Lay & Wheeler as a wine advisor. His love of fine wine extends beyond the usual suspects like Burgundy into Alsace, New Zealand and in particular, Spain, as he spent nearly two years working there. He completed the WSET Level 2 exams with Distinction in 2006 and looks forward to beginning Level 3.  Away from the office he enjoys a spot of fly fishing for trout, cooking and forever trying to teach himself the guitar.

  • Madelaine Riley
    Fine Wine Advisor
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 228
    Mobile: +44 (0)7551 245 465

    After studying Arabic and French at Oxford, Madelaine worked as a corporate lawyer at Slaughter & May before hearing the call of the wine trade. She spent a couple of years working for a Manchester wine merchant prior to joining Lay & Wheeler in 2018. She passed the WSET level three with distinction and is looking forward to beginning the Diploma programme. When not talking about wine, she can generally be found in an art gallery, or travelling around some of the less visited parts of the world.

  • Harry May
    Fine Wine Advisor
    Mobile: +44 (0)7570 952 161

    Harry joined the fine wine advisory team in January 2020. His love of wine led him to seek experience in all aspects of winemaking at Domaine Moss Wood in Margaret River, Australia, Château Giscours in Bordeaux, both Dog Point & Hunter’s Wines in Marlborough, New Zealand, and Quinta de la Rosa in Pinhao, Portugal. Prior to winemaking, Harry developed his interest in wine whilst working at Berry Bros. & Rudd for three years. He’s currently studying for the WSET Diploma. Outside of the office, Harry enjoys long-distance cycling and trying out new recipes in the kitchen.

    Harry is currently on leave of absence.

  • Steffan Griffiths
    Private Client Advisor
    Mobile: +44 (0) 7776956742

    Having studied Classics at the University of Durham, Steffan joined Berry Bros & Rudd where he organised and hosted events for private and corporate customers. He then worked at English wine producer Nyetimber as their Brand Ambassador, before joining Lay & Wheeler in September 2020. Steffan has held the WSET Diploma since 2017. Born into a world of wine, he grew up visiting vineyards at an age where he was unable to take full advantage of their produce, which is thankfully no longer an issue. A keen traveller and lover of the arts, Steffan’s wine tastes lean fairly classical but he has a particular soft spot for great South African wines

  • Alice Cave
    Private Client Advisor
    Mobile: +44 (0)7423 033061

    While studying French and Spanish at Newcastle University, Alice spent 6 industrious months at Ch. Haut-Bailly, where her love of wine was ignited. After a year at Majestic, she moved to Berry Bros. & Rudd, for a spell in their St James’s shop before switching focus to London institutions and corporate sales. She joined Lay & Wheeler in September 2020. She is one step from completing the WSET Diploma. She loves walking the South West coast path (with a good Riesling), swimming the cold seas of East Devon and, naturally, wine. Bordeaux and German Riesling remain her first loves but she also has a soft spot for all things fortified.

  • Iestyn Hooper
    Fine Wine Discovery Club Manager
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 217
    Mobile: +44 (0)7570 951 630

    After nineteen years at Pieroth Wines, a family wine business with a history in wine stretching back over three centuries, Iestyn joined Lay & Wheeler in October 2016. Prior to a career in wine, Iestyn had experience in hospitality, including responsibility for the wine list at a small, privately held hotel. This exposure piqued his interest, and he has worked in wine ever since. Today, he manages the Fine Wine Discovery Club and looks after these members.

  • Tarka Collins
    Fine Wine Discovery Club Advisor
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 243
    Mobile: +44 (0)7570 951 811

    Tarka came to Lay & Wheeler in the autumn of 2016, after four and a half years working at Pieroth Wines, a family wine business with a history in wine stretching back over three centuries. During university in Cirencester, Tarka took a course in wine in her final year, and fell in love with it. After graduating with honours, she completed the WSET level 2 and joined Pieroth. Today, Tarka is working to complete the WSET level 3 programme, while also studying for a Bachelor of the Arts degree in English Literature. Her favourite style of wine is Amarone, though has been fortunate to enjoy aged Bordeaux from her family’s cellar.

     

Customer Care

  • Issy Cooper
    Customer Care Manager
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 224
    Mobile: +44 (0)7586 918 433

    Issy joined in the autumn of 2016 after experience in hospitality, having worked at the Orwell Hotel in Felixstowe and at the Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club.  Her role spans all activities that ensure our customers and their wines are cared for, and that we go above and beyond to deliver the best possible service. Issy has a preference for New World reds like the wines of Penfolds, a good Pinot Noir and sparkling wines. Issy has completed the WSET Level 2, passing with distinction, and Level 3, passing with merit. When not at work, she’s likely to be walking her labradoodle on the beach, or enjoying a good meal with her friends.

  • Pauline Barr
    Customer Care Advisor
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 218
    Mobile: +44 (0)7570 952 170

    Pauline has been at Lay and Wheeler since April of 2008, after working in the public sector. Initially taking on roles in administration and human resources, today Pauline works in customer care and also helps to manage the needs of the office. Pauline enjoys good white Burgundy or a glass of Bouvet. When not at work she can be found spending time with her family and two young children, often on a family bike ride or run.

  • Sharon Foxwell
    Customer Care Advisor
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 203
    Mobile: +44 (0)7570 952 979

    After graduating from Canterbury Christ Church University, Sharon spent many years working overseas in Europe, Asia and Africa teaching both maths and English. While abroad, she also ran training programmes predominantly within the oil industry. It’s from both this exposure to other countries and cultures, as well as a course at university, that sparked her interest in food and wine. In her spare time, Sharon enjoys reading and listening to podcasts on food and drink, and trying out new recipes. Sharon has successfully passed the WSET Levels 2 and 3, earning distinction both times.

  • Ksenia Hammerton
    Customer Care Advisor
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 255
    Mobile: +44 (0)7570 952 942

    In January 2017, Ksenia became part of the Customer Care team. Ksenia brings with her experience in hospitality, working in and managing several restaurants. She also has several years’ experience as a personal banker at Lloyds TSB Bank. Ksenia has begun to learn more about fine wine since joining the team and enjoys our regular tasting. Outside the office, Ksenia is most likely spending time with her young daughter. Ksenia has completed the WSET Level 2, passing with distinction.

  • Sam Wenzel
    Customer Care Advisor
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 237
    Mobile: +44 (0)7570 953 416

    Before joining Lay & Wheeler Sam spent 16 years in a role supporting young people and their families. Ready for a career change, Sam was keen to learn more about wine at Lay & Wheeler, joining us in 2018 as a customer care advisor. She completed the WSET Level 2 course in 2019 and is also a qualified reflexologist. Outside of the office, Sam enjoys eating out, cooking and going to gigs.

  • Celia Burrow
    Private Client Account Controller
    Mobile: +44 (0)7423 023301

    Celia joined the team in July 2020, bringing decades of experience in accounting and credit control to Lay & Wheeler where she helps private clients keep their accounts up to date. With a daughter and son-in-law in fine wine, she’s thrilled to join the family vocation herself. Qualified in early years education, Celia supports the local pre-school and her grandchildren. She lives by the seaside in north Kent, where crab catching is a favourite pastime. Her drink of choice is a crisp sauvignon blanc, to accompany a delicious seafood dish. She loves to dance, sing or play tennis whenever there is an opportunity.

Buying

  • Robbie Toothill
    Buyer
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 254
    Mobile: +44 (0)7834 353 259

    After graduating from the University of Cambridge, Robbie worked in Majestic stores in the southeast for nine months. He joined the team at L&W in 2014, initially responsible for marketing, and was promoted to Buyer at the end of 2016. Robbie completed the WSET Diploma in 2019, winning a scholarship, and is now working towards the Master of Wine. He’s responsible for buying all regions aside from those covered by Catherine or John, focusing on Bordeaux, Italy, and South Africa, as well as merchandising. In his spare time, Robbie enjoys sport and lives on a working farm in East Sussex. He also speaks near fluent French and passable Italian.

  • Catherine Petrie MW
    Buyer
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 254
    Mobile: +44 (0)7586 966 318

    Catherine joined Lay & Wheeler in January 2020 as French wine buyer, responsible for all the country’s wines, excluding Bordeaux. She became a Master of Wine in 2017 with a research paper on Sancerre, where she had spent two vintages making wine. She has also made wine in Bordeaux, Friuli, Australia and New Zealand, and has done six vintages in Burgundy, including one full year working in the vineyards and cellar as assistant winemaker at Domaine Comte Armand. Previously she was a buyer at Goedhuis & Co.

    Read about Catherine's time in Burgundy, in her own words, as published in the World of Fine Wine, here.

  • John Phillips
    Buying Coordinator
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 206
    Mobile: +44 (0)7834 353 264

    John graduated with honours from the University of Nottingham with a BSc in Chemistry in 2015. During that time and after university, he worked at the Sun Inn in Dedham and Church Street Tavern in Colchester, establishments known for their excellent wine lists. He finished the WSET level 3 in 2017 and is currently studying toward the Diploma. John joined Lay & Wheeler in January 2017 to assist in operations , including stock movement and management. He has since moved into the buying team and besides supporting Robbie and Catherine, he now looks after the wines of Australia, New Zealand and California.

  • Lucy Fisher
    Marketing Coordinator
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 254
    Mobile: +44 (0)7551 247 945

    Lucy joined us in October 2019, returning to the team after a five year hiatus. She first started at Lay & Wheeler in 2006 and took on various roles over almost ten years. Lucy graduated from the University of Hull having studied French and Spanish, and completed the WSET Diploma in 2009. She will always have a soft spot for Burgundy and loves almost every wine she has ever had from Italy. When not working, either for Lay & Wheeler or teaching languages, Lucy is renovating a 1960s bungalow with her husband and enjoys cooking, camping and talking to her chickens.

Operations

  • Rick Terry
    E-Commerce Manager
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 235

    Rick began working at Lay & Wheeler over Christmas, when Lay & Wheeler had a shop in Colchester in 1995. He returned to work there during university holidays while at the University of East Anglia, and worked the harvest at Rauzan-Segla in Bordeaux, too. Upon graduation, Rick joined the team full time, initially responsible for managing tastings, before assuming responsibility for technical support. Today, Rick manages our website and the technology behind it. With a self-professed sweet tooth, Rick’s favorite wine is Tokaji Essenzia. A devoted father, Rick spends his time outside the office watching his two daughters play tennis.

     

  • Tamara Vetesi
    Shipping & Stock Controller
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 209

    Tamara joined our team in June 2015, where she applies her previous experience with shipping products and stock control at Lay & Wheeler, tracking and managing the whereabouts of our wines. Tamara is also studying for the WSET Level 3 qualification. Her favourite bottle is a Romanian wine, Princess Cadarca Reserve, one she enjoys most with roasted lamb and homemade green pesto with mint. Outside of the office, Tamara is studying for an honours degree in maths, though you’re also likely to find her on a bike or in her garden.

  • Zsuzsanna (“Suzie”) Banfi
    Operations Coordinator
    Office: +44 (0)1473 313 211

    Suzie started on our operations team in June 2019. She attended university in her native Budapest in Hungary, studying both IT and hospitality. Since moving to the UK in 2011, Suzie’s taken on several roles in hospitality, before shifting focus to warehousing and logistics where she is also earning a degree in supply chain management. When she is not looking after wine logistics at Lay & Wheeler, she has a love for extreme sports (and even wrote her thesis about them) and photography, though is most likely playing Lego with her son.

  • Sarka Karafiatova
    Financial Accounts Manager
    Mobile: +44 (0) 7825 902 435

    Sarka joined the Majestic Group in 2007, after working in marketing in London. Originally from the Czech Republic, she studied business at university there before moving to England in 2002.

    She’s been on the finance team the entire time, first looking after Majestic, then Les Celliers and now Lay & Wheeler since 2011, just after the Majestic acquisition. Sarka handles all of our accounts, and looks after our finances.

    Outside the office, she enjoys rowing, snowboarding, cycling and looking after her young son Alex.

  • Joni Bennie
    Finance Assistant
    Mobile: +44 (0)7864 987031

    Joni joined Lay & Wheeler in September 2020 as Finance Assistant. Originating from South Africa, she moved to Wales before settling in England in 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in community and health psychology, but soon realised her passion for numbers and is busy studying towards her AAT qualification. When she is not in the office or studying, she enjoys reading a good book or spending time in nature.