With an oenophile father, a French mother and a name that translates as ‘of the vine’, it seemed inevitable that Lavinia be drawn to the fascinating world of wine.
After a degree in Philosophy & Modern Languages (Spanish and French) at Oxford University and a year at the Sorbonne in Paris, Lavinia's first job was in sales and marketing for a City-based, London wine merchant. During her first year she attended the 1998 Bordeaux en primeur campaign and participated in the harvest and winemaking at the first growth claret, Château Latour, as well as at the boutique champagne house, Jacquesson & fils (for whom she acted as UK ambassador). She was awarded a vintner’s scholarship and travel grant from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust for coming top in her exams.
Lavinia was then posted to the Far East to establish the company’s HK branch, where she was solely responsible for the running of the office including the buying, shipping, pricing, marketing, selling and distribution of its range of hand-picked wines. She participated in several buying trips: to Burgundy, to the Loire Valley and also to Bordeaux for the 1999 en primeur campaign. Seeing a niche in the market, Lavinia soon established herself as a wine educator, hosting networking events, fine wine dinners and tutored tastings across Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. She put together private cellars and investment portfolios for wine enthusiasts and restaurants, and gave private, trade and corporate wine lessons too – the foundations for her book Cracking the Wine Code. She conducted monthly tastings as part of HK Tatler’s monthly tasting panel, featured in Who’s Who of Wine in Asia and was interviewed in Home Journal lifestyle magazine. Lavinia was also a member and regular speaker at the International Food & Wine Society, was invited as guest wine auctioneer to the Ritz Carlton’s annual Food & Wine awards gala dinner in Singapore and was asked to write a feature article for Tatler’s Best Restaurant Guide, HK on food and wine pairing.
Lavinia then moved to the luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH, where she was responsible for setting up the corporate and private client division for Moët Hennessy’s Asian distribution arm. After a two-year stint here she became global marketing manager for the uber-elite Amanresorts hotel group, from where she was headhunted two years later to become Asian events manager for ABN AMRO bank. In 2007 she moved back to Europe and whilst in Geneva for just over a year, set up the wine department for the auction house, Hôtel des Ventes. On returning to the UK in 2008, she was employed as wine specialist for Bonhams auction house and in 2009 launched her own business as a wine events organiser and educator, to coincide with the publication of her pocket-sized guide to wine Cracking the Wine Code.
In her spare time she continues to enjoy exploring Asia and she is also an avid skier, yoga bunny and runner (partly to compensate for her equally avid enthusiasm for the consumption of fine food and wine).