This week’s interview is with Catherine Monahan, Owner and Founder of Clink! Wines Ltd
RG: What is the first really strong memory you have involving food and wine?
CM: Having “braais” in South Africa every weekend during my teens at a boyfriend’s house, who’s folks had an amazing wine cellar – we always had the most fantastic premium South African wines . And then my mother always bought Backsberg for our everyday drinking wine. My father, being Irish was a whisky, gin and beer drinker. My mother never drank very much so I guess I get the genes from my father!
RG: Briefly describe a project, award or achievement in which you have been involved, which makes you feel proud.
CM: Starting Clink Wines Ltd and founding the “Forget Me Not” fund for Alzheimer’s, from sales of our wines.
CM: Adrian McKeon (now head of Asda BWS) gave me my first break at Hardys to become a brand manager – I’d joined from Sainsburys and was doing category management but dreamt of being in the more creative side of the wine business. His energy and drive was inspiring and still is. Following that I worked for a number of companies from BrandPhoenix, to Constellation, Tesco (vis Cube Comms) and Obital Wines over the years. Orbital Wines was the most exciting, innovative company I ever worked for and after that went sadly under, a few very special people said, hey why don’t you try launch your own business as you’ve got broad experience and good contacts. So with guts and no funding, I started Clink Wines Ltd and well here we are! Lots of hard work but it’s fun and when I look back I do feel proud of what I’ve managed to achieve to date.
CM: Jason Korman ex CEO of Orbital Wines and founder/creator of Stormhoek for starting blogging and social media for wine 5 years before it caught on. A certain buyer called blogging “chatroom rubbish” 6 yrs ago! I also love the branding of Absolut Vodka and the fact that it’s message remains the same even though they sell worldwide – not an easy thing to do for wine.
RG: What is your favourite wine?
CM: I can’t answer that!! Loads! But I’m madly in love with all things Italian at the moment. Avignonesi Montepulciano, Great Barolos etc. Adi Badenhorst’s wines in South Africa, Ben Glaetzer’s Amon Ra wines, St Clair Chardonnay, Billecart-Salmon Rose Champagne and Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne.
RG: Briefly describe the best restaurant experience you ever had.
CM: My brother’s 40thbirthday at Zuma where we had a private room and they cooked “live” for us – fantastic! Soft shell crab to die for…Apart from this, Juan y Andrea on the island of Formentera – set on the beach – incredible place.
Many thanks Catherine for your time, friendship and honesty.
The roving sommelier is the facilitator of liquid enjoyment and by sharing my knowledge, passion and experiences, I will be your friendly tour guide on this gastronomic jaunt.
A portion of my book sales will be donated towards the New Zealand Earthquake Appeal Fund.
I’m looking forward to hearing about your own food and wine stories and comments.
Follow my tweets and updates on Twitter @rovingsommelier
The epicurean odyssey continues…