Angela Muir is known as one of the most influential wine personalities, with a highly reputable career that began back in 1970s. She came to the first Dubrovnik FestiWine five years ago and we're more than excited to see her return for our fifth anniversary. Her knowledge and experience is much valued and and we cannot wait to welcome her again in the magnificent Dubrovnik.

Hi Angela, it’s such a pleasure to talk with you. You have been in wine business since 1970s. That's a lot of years, almost 50! Tell us more about what has changed most since then?

In 1970, the wine market in the UK was very small: consumption was under 2 litres a head a year. We bought wine only from classic regions, mainly in France, as well as a lot of classic fortified wines: Sherry and Port. Wine was esoteric, difficult to understand and daunting for people who didn’t have a privileged upbringing. Right from the beginning, we understood wine to be a luxury, not a part of everyday life. It therefore needed to taste good. This has now become true even in producing countries where it is largely no longer enough to have a familiar taste. UK consumption very excitingly rose from 2 litres to over 25 litres a head; in the same period, consumption in wine producing countries, especially the giants of the industry, France and Italy, went down from 110 litres and 120 litres a head to under 50. This affected everything from Common Market/EU law on vineyard management and grubbing up…millions of hectares of vines were lost forever. Meanwhile, the technology of managing both vineyards and wineries improved out of all recognition, fuelled by advances in the New World which are now spreading throughout Europe. The majority of wines are drinkable and there is a far wider choice of delicious wines for anyone who wants to enjoy it. The world has joined us in expecting wine to be a luxury product.

Can you tell us more about your role in wine business? How has it changed since your beginnings?

I’ve sold it, bought it, marketed it, blended it, made it and even (but not for a living) written about it.

Everyone starts either by selling it or by making it. I worked backwards from the consumer to the producer but I never forgot what the consumer expects. There are still too many producers who don’t grasp this simple truth.

This is not your first time that you have taken part in Dubrovnik FestiWine. How did you like it last time and what do you expect from this year's edition?

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it every time I’ve come. Who wouldn’t? What a setting! Not only Dubrovnik itself but also all the gorgeous surrounding country and islands. Also, the judges include friends whom I shall be delighted to see again. More importantly, the wines themselves improve every year as local producers become aware of all that they have to do to compete on a world stage. It’s a thrill to taste this progress.

What is your biggest achievement?

In wine terms, probably becoming a Master of Wine. This is a qualification launched in 1953 in the UK. Today it is open to wine professionals worldwide. It’s a fiendishly difficult but absolutely fair set of exams, both theoretical and practical and there are still under 400 of us; perhaps not surprising once one knows just what a breadth and depth of knowledge of the world’s wine and industry is required. I passed in 1980, the sixth woman to do so and have since chaired its education committee, been an examiner and continued to mentor its students.

And what is your biggest challenge?

The whole business has given me an enormous amount of joy….everything and more that I hoped for and expected… and so many day to day challenges that I really cannot pick one out today.

Any future plans you'd like to share with us?

After a university degree followed by an almost 50-year career…you do the maths! I’ll try to write a useful account of things I learnt in the industry and I’ll try to make it entertaining.

Which is your favourite wine from the region?

Grk.


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