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Unusual jobs: a day in the life of a champagne connoisseur

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Rachael Wotherspoon, 30, is the national account manager at Pommery Champagne. She lives in Edinburgh with her husband, John, and dog, Dougal.

My alarm goes off…

As early as 4am if I’m catching the 6am flight to London, which I do twice a week. The rest of the time, I work from home in Edinburgh. At home, I wake up at 6.30am and take the dog for a walk. We live in the leafy countryside, so it’s a stark contrast to my days in London. For breakfast, I’ll have Weetabix and coffee. I dress pretty casually, usually jeans and a jumper. When I’m going to London, I’ll wear a dress from Reiss and heels. I download a book on my Kindle for the plane. Right now I’m reading The Tattooist Of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.

I’m responsible for…

Building and managing relationships with Pommery’s retailers. This involves everything from pitching new ideas to working on product development or taking clients to see our vineyards.

I got the job…

By studying events management. After my degree, my husband and I wanted to move to London. I think change is good when you’re young, and we’d been in Edinburgh our whole lives. I ended up working in sales at Red Bull. From there, I moved to Oyster Bay wine, before coming to Pommery three years ago as a national account executive and working my way up.

My typical day…

Starts in my home office at 9am if I’m in Edinburgh. My old, wooden desk overlooks fields filled with horses. I’ll start the day looking at sales reports to see if we’re hitting targets. If not, I’ll brainstorm some marketing ideas. I have a morning meeting with our off-trade director every day (we’re a team of two) to discuss projects we’re working on and any business proposals we’ve sent out. When I’m at home, we’ll do this over the phone. I could also be working on brand pop-ups or gift packs to propose to clients.

I stop for lunch at 1pm. If I’m at home, I make some chicken noodle soup and a sandwich, and when I’m in London I grab some sushi and read articles in Business Retail, Harpers and The Grocer.

I meet with buyers from main accounts, like Ocado, Waitrose and Asda, once every three months. We’ll discuss a business plan and propose new products. I manage 20 accounts, so I’m always juggling.

We often take clients to our vineyards in Reims, Champagne. We show them the chalk cellars 30 metres below ground where 20 million bottles are stored, then finish with a tasting. On a normal day, though, I’ll finish at 6pm.

Prosecco helps fight cardiovascular diseases


My most memorable moments…

Was the first time I visited Pommery Domaine in Champagne. Madame Pommery was educated in Britain and took inspiration from British architecture. It looks like a fairy tale castle – breathtaking.

The worst part of my job…

Is when you’ve worked really hard on winning a new client and it doesn’t work out.

The best part of my job…

Is winning new listings then actually seeing the products in store.

After work…

I’ll go for a run or sit outside and have a drink if it’s nice weather. Then my husband will cook, he’s a master of the roast dinner. Other days, dinner will be in the lounge at Gatwick. I try to relax by listening to music; I love The 1975’s new album Notes On A Conditional Form. I’m usually in bed by 11pm.

My Plan B: wedding planner

When I was at university, I worked at Archerfield House near Edinburgh and there were weddings there all the time. It’s the happiest day of someone’s life and I think the chance to be involved in that is really special. Plus, I’d be putting my events degree to good use.

Images: Holly McGlynn

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