Ella Lister, Founder & CEO
Ella, the driving force behind Wine Lister, is well respected in the industry for her accomplishments as a wine writer, fine wine market analyst and consultant. After a degree from Oxford University in French and Italian, Ella started her career as an investment banker at Lazard in London. As her passion for wine intensified, she started writing about wine in 2009, first for The World of Fine Wine, and subsequently for the Financial Times and Decanter. Until last year she also consulted to private clients on their wine collections, and was Fine Wine Strategy Consultant to Octavian for four years. Wine Lister was born from Ella’s desire to see a more comprehensive, logical and progressive wine rating system; combining her passion for wine with her analytical spirit.
Ella most loves French and Italian wine, with a current crush on Nebbiolo, but balanced offerings from California are seriously challenging her old world predilection.
Oleksandr Semenov, Lead Developer
Oleksandr studied information security in computer systems at the National Technical University of Ukraine (KPI). He began his software engineering career in the finance industry, and after six years decided he wanted to experience life in a start-up.
Oleksandr was 13 when he first tasted the family wine, made by his father in vineyards next to their house in Ukraine. He acquired a taste for wine, and his favourite grape variety now is Pinot Noir.
Richard Dawson, Head of Research & Strategy
A Chartered Accountant by profession, Richard discovered a lifelong love of wine when living in Chartres as part of his university degree. Unexpectedly generous invitations to visit a number of top producers initiated him to a world of excellence, kindness and hospitality and the inextricable link between fine wine and civilisation. While living in Tokyo he passed the WSET Diploma and subsequently taught WSET classes at the Academie du Vin and Cordon Bleu. More recently, he ran a wine bar, online wine retail service and boutique hotel, also in Tokyo.
A passion for wine coupled with a strong analytical and entrepreneurial background makes Wine Lister an ideal fit. Richard is always excited to discover new varieties, producers and regions.
Tara Albini, Head of Clients & Marketing
Tara’s ardent interest in wine was prompted by her employment at a London wine bar; a position that she started while studying for a BA in History of Art at the Courtauld Institute. It was during this period that she assisted in the organisation of several events and tastings, and helped manage the company’s various social media platforms. Alongside more formal training, she was quick to immerse herself in the practical side of the industry, helping with the harvest of two British winemakers. Tara is keen to apply her knowledge of the viticulture and vinification processes to her inveterate enthusiasm for research and writing.
Tara loves drinking Burgundian whites, and particularly enjoys discovering the distinct variations within the region.
Xenia Praksina, Events & Press Communications Manager
Xenia’s passion for wine was born out of her extensive travel. With a degree in Intercultural communication, she started her career working in the wedding industry, producing private luxury events in Thailand and around Europe. Wherever her work or personal travel took her, Xenia would seek out interesting wine producers to visit, and after nine years she decided to turn her love for wine into a new career path. With WSET Level 3 under her belt, she now creates bespoke events on behalf of Wine Lister’s clients, helping to share their wines and the stories behind them with key figures in the international fine wine industry.
While Xenia’s current crush is Pinot Noir, particularly from Alsace and New Zealand, she would never say no to a white Burgundy, and loves trying indigenous grape varieties from lesser-known regions.
Maïlys Baris, Junior Strategist
Originally from the Bordeaux region, close to the Médoc vineyards and their Grands Crus, Maïlys has loved wine from a very early age, but only considered it a professional career after gaining experience in marketing and wine tourism in Saint-Emilion. Immersing herself in the daily life of the château and having regular contact with wine enthusiasts turned her interest into a genuine passion. To deepen her wine knowledge, Maïlys studied Wine Marketing & Management at INSEEC in Bordeaux, and completed her end of study internship as a marketing and sales development manager.
Maïlys is particularly fond of Rhône wines, but she is increasingly enjoying the Gamay grape variety and discovering all that Beaujolais has to offer.
Mari Downing, Junior Strategist
Mari’s enthusiasm for the wine industry was first sparked during her undergraduate degree in French at the University of Oxford. She spent part of her year abroad working as a guide at a château near Bergerac, hosting tours and tastings for international visitors. Upon graduation, she further developed her curiosity in wine through a trade marketing role and wine retail experience, as well as undertaking the WSET Level 2.
Mari looks forward to exploring her passion for wine further by combining it with her love for writing. Although on a continuous quest to expand her horizons when it comes to tasting wines, her loyalties currently lie with Sancerre.
Audrey Lourenço, PA & Office Manager
Having grown up in South Brittany, Audrey started her career as an Executive Assistant in a marketing start-up, igniting a keen willingness to support and care for the teams around her. Going on to assist several companies in a variety of fields, Audrey has now come full circle, and is excited to put her skills to the test by once again becoming immersed in the start-up spirit at Wine Lister - in a field that inspires her.
As one might expect, Audrey has a great fondness for French wines, but is always curious to explore new countries and regions – her most recent discovery was a Château Musar 2012 from Lebanon.
Aita Ighodaro, Strategy & Events Consultant
Aita Ighodaro studied German & Linguistics at Oxford University, during which time she also developed an appreciation for the finest Rieslings. Since then, she has gone on to advise numerous prestigious organisations and businesses on business development and international markets. She has worked across a number of sectors, encompassing wine, fine art, digital and finance, and has been involved with Wine Lister since its inception.
Aita is also a published author and an active supporter of contemporary art, having served on an acquisition committee at Tate, with a remit encompassing Tate Modern and all other galleries across the UK.
Luis Correa, Strategy Consultant
Luis is an experienced strategy and management consultant that spent the last 12 years building sales and marketing solutions for some of the worlds largest FMCG companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia. After working with companies like Red Bull and Diageo, he decided to use his skills to help the people behind the beverage he enjoys the most - wine. Luis has also has valuable experience scaling up businesses, having led the new UK operation of a boutique management consulting firm for the last 5 years. He currently helps Wine Lister with sales strategy and project delivery advice.
Coming from an Italian family, Luis feels the moral obligation of manifesting his love of Lagrein (but his WSET education keeps pushing him beyond the borders of Italy).
Tom Burchfield, Research Consultant
After graduating in Italian from Bristol University, Tom went on to study for an MA at University College London. During this time, he started managing a local restaurant, of which he soon became partner. In his five years at May the Fifteenth restaurant, Tom learned invaluable skills, displaying a passion for business and the food and drinks trade.
Having lived in Piedmont for a year, Tom has a love of the region’s great wines (when funds allow), although his current passion is for Loire whites.
Simon Woolf, Data Architect Consultant
Simon is at once an experienced IT professional and a wine expert. Having completed a degree in Music from the University of York, Simon began working in the realm of IT, eventually building up and then selling his own IT consultancy. Now Chief Technology Officer for Qoin, an alternative currency provider, Simon also writes about wine, both for his blog, www.themorningclaret.com, and as a freelance journalist for publications such as Decanter. Drawing on this unique skillset, Simon has played an instrumental role in the set-up of Wine Lister, from designing a flexible database, to overseeing the agile development process
Simon is possibly the world’s most vocal advocate for orange wine.
Rishi Nalin Kumar, Chief Data Science Consultant
Rishi combines an impressive list of academic achievements with a pleasing ability to apply the science to real life. He holds a double BA in Mathematics from Wilfrid Laurier University, an MSc in Applicable Mathematics from the LSE, and a PhD in Mathematics from Imperial College London. He has put these skills to practice in various roles, including leading data science and analytics at Unilever for the best part of a decade. Currently, Rishi is the chief data scientist at eBench.
Rishi has relished the opportunity to drink more wine with the Wine Lister team, and is currently loving Penfolds Grange.
Will Hardman, Data Science Consultant
Will is an experienced data scientist, with a creative and practical approach, and a deep knowledge of machine learning. After a BSc from the University of Warwick in Computer Science, Will completed an MSc at the University of Sussex in Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems. He is passionate about problem solving, applying his analytical skills to his subsequent roles as a consultant at PA Consulting Group and KPMG. Will is currently Director of Data Science at Elucidata.