Meet the Tastings Team

Tim Schwilk

Tim Schwilk

Tim is the Tastings and Events Manager for The Wine Society. Often to be seen at tastings, his main role is to devise and oversee a broad programme of events across the UK and keep an eye on the budgets.

When did you join the Tastings and Events Team and where did you come from?

I joined in November 2017. Prior to moving to the UK I created and ran the Sydney Wine Centre, a wine events and education provider in Australia. Before that I was a lawyer who was more interested in sport and booze than contracts and legislation.

Favourite wine region to visit?

Mendoza (steak!!!) and any Australian region that combines beaches, pubs and golf courses! We have a few; you should come and check them out!

Favourite food and wine pairing?

Hunter Valley semillon and oysters

What do you get up to when you're not working?

I try to still play rugby, cricket and golf but my body no longer does what the mind wills it to do. I can happily watch every ball of a 5 Day Test Match whilst keeping an eye on five other sports at the same time.

Anna Spooner and Emma Briffett

Tastings and Events Co-Ordinators – Anna and Emma are responsible for coming up with ideas for future events, writing copy and presenting at many of the regional walk-around tastings as well as dinners and workshops in Stevenage and beyond.

Anna Spooner

Anna Spooner

When did you join the Tastings and Events Team and where did you come from?

I joined in February 2018. Before joining The Society I worked as a freelance wine educator and writer. I have a background in Food and Wine PR and completed an English Literature degree from Newcastle University.

Favourite wine region to visit?

I spend a fair amount of time in the Rhône as my parents live there and it continues to surprise me. There is no pretence or pomp and everyone is just desperate to share their wines with you. Sunshine and views of Mount Ventoux make it pretty special too!

Favourite food and wine pairing?

McDonalds nuggets and Champagne

What do you get up to when you're not working?

I used to do ballet until my early 20s, and whilst I don't have enough time to commit to getting back into such a hard discipline these days, I am about to start ballroom and Latin dance which should be great fun!

Emma Briffett

Emma Briffett

When did you join the Tastings and Events Team and where did you come from?

I joined The Society in October 2010 which seems like a lifetime ago. Before that I worked as a freelance wine educator, managed an independent wine shop and studied for the Master of Wine – an endeavour I have taken a break from as it can be a bit all consuming.

Favourite wine region to visit?

Those who know me know that my all-time favourite place to be is the southern Rhône – the sunshine, hilltop villages and lovely wine all help to make it a pretty magical area. However Champagne comes a pretty close second. I love the architecture of northern France, and the wine is pretty special too!

Favourite food and wine match?

Where to start! As we move into colder months steak and kidney pie with a large glass of Cotes-du-Rhône, and I always love a piece of brie with a glass of big, fat, new world chardonnay.

What do you get up to when you're not working?

I am a recent convert to Yoga, and I have a small dog who likes long mucky walks, so you'll often find me tramping through fields. Otherwise I do love to cook – there's nothing better than putting the radio on (you always need something to sing along to) and creating something (with varying degrees of success) in the kitchen.

Gil Riggans

Gil Riggans

Gil is the Tastings' Venues & Logistics Co-ordinator so he liaises with our venue partners working on the logistical side of our events. He ensures that the right wines are on the van heading to the right tasting – which can be a logistical challenge – and often assists at the tastings.

When did you join the Tastings and Events Team and where did you come from?

I joined The Wine Society in January 2018. Prior to this I spent several years with Corney & Barrow based in East Anglia working with both the on and off trade as well as managing the retail shop.

Favourite wine region to visit?

Would have to be somewhere I can incorporate a cruise as well so Loire, Mosel, Douro? There are too many to choose from.

Favourite food and wine pairing?

I've always been a huge fan of fin and fizz but one I discovered at a recent dinner would have to be Ras el hanout spiced chicken breast with Alsace Pinot Gris. Yum.

What do you get up to when you're not working?

When not at work, I love running, rugby and reading. I also like alliteration.

Maria McGuiness

Maria McGuiness

As Tastings & Events Administrator Maria is the go to contact if you have any queries relating to the events, including dietary requirements or seating requests. It is a little known fact, but Maria is also the one who keeps the Tastings team in check.

When did you join the Tastings and Events Team and where did you come from?

I joined the Tasting and Events team in January 2016 having initially joined The Wine Society working in the Member Services department. Prior to this my background is in Sales and Marketing.

Favourite wine region to visit?

I recently visited Hambledon Vineyard in Hampshire which was delightful. The wines were delicious and the scenery beautiful.

Favourite food and wine match?

Champagne with fish and chips, it's delicious!

What do you get up to when you're not working?

I enjoy cycling, yoga and going to the gym. I love entertaining and regularly make the time to meet up with friends and family. I have two children who never cease to entertain me and keep me busy!

Society Promise
Members before profit
Awards

Our website uses cookies with the aim of providing you with a better service. By using this website you consent to The Wine Society using cookies in accordance with our policy.

Close

4.4. Cookie Policy

By using The Wine Society website, you agree to cookies being used in accordance with the policy outlined below. If you do not agree to this, you must alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you or cease using the website.

The Wine Society uses cookies to enable easy navigation and shopping on the website. We take the privacy of all who use our website very seriously and ensure that our use of cookies complies with current EU legislation. The following guide outlines what cookies are, the types of cookies used on The Society's website and how they work.

You may alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you, but this will cause difficulties when accessing and using some areas of the site. Instructions on how to do this can also be found below.

4.4.1. What are 'Cookies'?

  • Most major websites use cookies.
  • A cookie is a very small data file placed on your hard drive by a web page server. It is essentially your access card, and cannot be executed as code or deliver viruses. It is uniquely yours and can only be read by the server that gave it to you.
  • Cookies cannot be used by themselves to identify you.
  • The purpose of a basic cookie is to tell the server that you returned to that web page or have items in your basket. Without cookies, websites and their servers have no memory. A cookie, like a key, enables swift passage from one place to the next.
  • Without a cookie every time you open a new web page the server where that page is stored will treat you like a completely new visitor.
  • More recently, cookies have also been used to collect information about the user which allows a profile of their preferences and interests to be created so that they can be served with interest-based rather than generic information about available goods and services.

4.4.2. How do Cookies help The Wine Society?

Cookies allow our website to function effectively. Cookies also help us to arrange content to match your preferred interests more quickly. We can learn what information is important to our visitors, and what isn't.

4.4.3. How does The Wine Society use cookies?

The Wine Society does not accept advertising from third parties and therefore, as a rule, does not serve third-party cookies. Exceptions to this include performance/analytical cookies (see below), used anonymously to improve the way our website works, the provision of personalised recommendations, and occasions when we may team up with suppliers to offer special discounts on goods or services.

The Society uses technology to track the patterns of behaviour of visitors to our site.

4.4.4. What type of cookies does The Wine Society use?

We use the following three types of cookies:

4.4.4.1. Strictly Necessary Cookies
These cookies are required for the operation of our website, enabling you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services like shopping baskets or e-billing cannot be provided. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Authentication Cookie and Anonymous Cookie
    These cookies remember that you are logged in to your account – without them, the website would repeatedly request your login details with each new page you visit during your time on our website. They are removed once your session has ended.
  • Session Cookie
    These cookies are used to remember who you are as you use our site: without them, the website would be unable to tell the difference between you and another Wine Society member and facilities such as your basket and the checkout process would therefore not be able to function. They too are removed once your session has ended.

4.4.4.2. Functionality & Targeting/Tracking Cookies
These cookies are used to recognise you when you return to our website and to provide enhanced features. This allows us to personalise our content for you. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Unique User Cookie
    This cookie is used to:
    • store your share number in order to identify that you have visited the website before. Without this cookie, we would be unable to tell whether you are a member or not.
    • record your visit to the website, the pages you have visited and the links you have followed. We use this information to make our website, the content displayed on it and direct marketing communications we may send to you or contact you about more relevant to your interests.
    • This cookie expires after 13 months.
  • Peerius Cookies
    These third-party cookies are used to provide you with personalised recommendations based on your purchase and browsing history. They expire within 4 hours of your visit.

4.4.4.3. Performance/analytical cookies
These cookies collect information about how visitors use a website, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies don't collect information which identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. It is only used to improve how a website works. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Google Analytics Cookies
    These are third-party cookies to enable Google Analytics to monitor website traffic. All information is recorded anonymously. Using Google Analytics allows The Society to better understand how members use our site and monitor website traffic.

4.4.4.4. Authentication Cookie
In order for us to ensure that your data remains secure it is necessary for us to verify that your session is authentic (i.e. it has not been compromised by a malicious user). We do this by storing an otherwise meaningless unique ID in a cookie for the duration of your visit. No personal information can be gained from this cookie.

4.4.5. How do you turn cookies off?

All modern browsers allow you to modify your cookie settings so that all cookies, or those types which are not acceptable to you, are blocked. However, please note that this may affect the successful functioning of the site, particularly if you block all cookies, including essential cookies. For example, In Internet Explorer, go to the Tools Menu, then go to Internet Options, then go to Privacy. Here you can change the rules your browser uses to accept cookies. You can find out more in the public sources mentioned below.

4.4.6. Learn more about cookies

4.4.7. Changes to our cookie policy

Any changes we may make to our cookie policy in the future will be posted on the website and, where appropriate, notified to you by email. Please check back frequently to see any updates and changes to our cookie policy.

 

Have a question?Live Chat

Live Chat