To celebrate the release of our 2019 vintages, ‘Rathfinny & The Masters’ shines a light on our exclusive partnerships with independent wine shops, hotels and restaurants and the talented professionals we work with. Time and again, we are blown away by the expertise and dedication of the people we meet in the trade. In this blog we chat with Julien Le Doaré, General Manager at the spellbinding wine shop, Hedonism in Mayfair who has years of experience in the world of fine wines and spirits, both in retail and hospitality.

Rathfinny: What is your background and how did you get into the drinks industry?

Julien: My family used to run a small wholesale drinks business in Brittany. Although I initially took a different path for my career, I eventually came back to it and got trained up in London, where there is such a wide diversity of wines to find and taste.

Rathfinny: You were born in Brittainy and lived in Paris for some years so what brought you to London?

Julien: Love! My wife and I are from different countries. When the time came to find a place to live together we looked at the map and picked London, a city that was offering many opportunities for both of us.

Rathfinny: Tell us a bit about your role at Hedonism.

Julien: As GM, I am privileged to work with all departments and interact with our customers all at the same time. My key responsibility is to ensure that Hedonism Wines makes our customers’ life better by delivering the best possible service and keeping their wine journey an exciting and joyful one.

Rathfinny: What do you enjoy most about being on the shop floor at Hedonism?

Julien: I am very lucky to work with a team of dedicated professionals who have a vast knowledge of the products. This also applies to a large proportion of our customers so it makes the conversation a very interesting one for any wine and spirit lover. In the world of retail, it is a chance to be able to connect with customers and it definitely makes the job rewarding.

Rathfinny: What’s your approach to recommending a wine to a customer?

Julien: My first goal when starting an interaction with a customer is to understand why they want to purchase it, what do they want to achieve with the wine(s) they are going to get. Then we can drill down and discuss personal preferences, but I think understanding what the purchase means to someone really helps to perfectly tailor the offer. The same person could buy very different wines depending on the occasion and their purpose.

Rathfinny: Favourite London bar?

Julien:Comptoir Cafe & Wine on Weighhouse St. It’s close by to work and they are always changing their small by the glass selection, which is great. The relatively new Noble Rot in Shepherd Market is also a great place to engage with wine lovers.

Rathfinny: What is your opinion of English Sparkling wines?

Julien: I love the pride that England has taken in naming itself the “home made” sparkling. I think it is a refreshing view on how a region can become a significant new wine player and although it is still a small production in volume it has definitely gathered a lot of attention in the world. That pride is also reflected in the quality of the wines and I am always keen to introduce my dear French friends & family to English Sparkling.

Rathfinny: Do you have a particular favourite Rathfinny Sussex Sparkling?

Julien: Definitely the Blanc de Noirs. It has been a long time favourite of mine in the sparkling category in general and for Rathfinny in particular. I love the density and freshness of the wine. As a Breton, I also love the label and the connection to the sea.

Thank you Julien for your time. Visit the Hedonism website to discover more.

2019 Blanc de Blancs Hedonism Landscape

Discover 2019 Blanc de Blancs

Julien showcases our new 2019 Blanc de Blancs. This 100% Chardonnay sparkling is made from grapes grown and hand-harvested on Rathfinny’s single estate in East Sussex. Bearing the Sussex PDO and B Corp certification, the 2019 vintages reflect our dedication to craft and quality as a grower-producer of the finest Sussex Sparkling wines.