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Our Wine Experts

Professional wine experts with years of experience

Our WineMatters lecturers are experts in providing wine tasting courses. They have WSET qualifications and over 10 years of experience. Choosing WineMatters as your course provider is the right choice towards achieving the full qualification as a wine expert.

Michael Palij MW
Director of Education

“The more I studied wine the more I believed that sharing my knowledge with others was essential if our industry were to continue to flourish.  The rise of the New World in the early 1990s marked a fundamental shift not just in what people drank but in our relationship with wine.  Almost overnight the centuries of snobbery that had consigned the vast majority of wine drinkers to an unpalatable diet of alcoholic sugar-water were over.  Gone were the indecipherable labels and arcane language and in its place stood shelves full of easy to understand, delicious, uncomplicated wine.  Having lived through that revolution I am certain that we must a) never let the wine get that rarefied and b) ensure that we’ve not just burnt the books.  There is a place for both the straightforward and the sophisticated.  Sometimes it’s jeans and a T-shirt and others it’s a dinner jacket.   Neither should be intimidating and neither is obligatory.  What you drink is a choice; What I want to do is make sure it is an informed one.”

Favourite Wines

Barolo, Champagne & Rioja.


I'm a full-time parent at the moment but running and cycling when I get the chance.  Cooking when I’ve managed to run and cycle first.

Favourite quote from a book/film

Withnail and I:  the part where Richard E. Grant quotes a  Hamlet soliloquy whilst necking Margaux ’53.

Interesting/unusual fact about yourself

I originally studied Engineering at University.  All my bridges would have collapsed, I’m sure!

If you were a wine what would you be and why?

Barolo, shy yet assertive at the same time.

What 3 items can you not live without?

Moisturiser, steak & running shoes.

Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW

Michelle is a dual Italian/Canadian citizen who left corporate life in Toronto moving to London (UK) to pursue her passion for wine. Today she is a highly-respected wine lecturer, having taught wine industry professionals since 2004 at the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) in London where she a consultant tutor, specialising in Italy, regions in France and the New World. She has authored articles on wines, wine regions and wine-related events in trade publications and WSET journals. Michelle is a frequent guest wine expert at major wine shows, are a Chair Judge and member of the Wine Judging Committee for the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC). Michelle consults with restaurants, wineries and is an ambassador for trade bodies utilising her specialist knowledge of wine areas.

Favourite Wines

Anything from Italy, Burgundy, Champagne and Northern Rhone.


Cooking, pilates, golf and reading

Favourite quote from a book/film

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Interesting/unusual fact about yourself

I was a figure skater until I was 19 and was more at home in skates than shoes!

If you were a wine what would you be and why

Champagne Charlie (any vintage). Rich, concentrated, with layers of complexity and youthful on the palate with lots of fresh acidities. Rare and hard to duplicate.

What 3 items can you not live without

My kindle, lip balm and sunglasses.

Nancy Gilchrist MW

"Wine is a mediator of the first order. It can introduce you to the culture, geography and history of a region with extraordinary insight and clarity. It can create bonds of friendship that live a lifetime and beyond. It brings pleasure to so many. If I can communicate some of the passion, dedication and expertise it takes to create wines with real personality and authenticity then I like to think I shall have contributed a little something to furthering international understanding, culture and well-being... Nothing like aiming for the stars!"

Favourite Wines

White Burgundy, traditional method fizz, Madeira


Hiking, trying to make paintings of clouds, discovering olive oils

Favourite quote from a book/film

"We want the finest wines available to humanity! We want them here and we want them now!"  from Withnail & I.

Interesting/unusual fact about yourself?

Just after university, I drove double-decker tour buses around Washington DC

If you were a wine what would you be and why?

I’d aspire to be a Vintage Champagne Blanc de Blancs, a wine with a clear sense of identity and direction but revealing deliciously unexpected nuances with age!

What 3 items can you not live without

My walking boots, radio, and olive oil body butter

Sally Easton MW

Sally Easton MW is a freelance educator, journalist, author, and consultant. She is a certified educator and lecturer for the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), for whom she has worked closely for 20 years, in both physical and online classrooms, as well as writing various study materials during much of that time.

Most recently she has written the book ‘Vines and Vinification’, commissioned and published (December 2017) by the WSET, which accompanies the Diploma coursework on the production of wine. It is her first book. In July 2018 this book was awarded the OIV (International Organisation for Vine and Wine) award for 2018 in the ‘Viticulture and Oenology’ category. The book is also shortlisted for the Gourmand Awards 2019 (Best in the World, results due in July 2019).

Many, many years ago Sally was awarded the Vintner’s Cup, which is presented annually to the graduate achieving the highest aggregate mark in the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits.

Other aspects of Sally’s business encompass writing for trade and consumer press in various countries, wine industry consultancy and delivering consumer tastings.

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Why Choose Us

High quality wine education in Oxford and surrounding area


Wine tasting courses in the heart of Oxford