Lance Foyster was seven when he first became aware of the existence of wine on family holidays to Portugal. He observed his parents’ amazement and delight at the large and apparently free bottles of wine which regularly arrived on the dining table at lunch and dinner. Upon subsequent visits, when he and his sister hit their teens (still not drinking, mind, but no longer paying child fares) he witnessed his parents’ valiant attempts to polish off the second bottle which now appeared automatically. Once he hit 18, there was no holding him back as he set off to work on the harvest in Tavel, where he discovered the romance of the vineyard. Later still, with his BA Hons (Oxon) in his back pocket, he passed over the opportunity to join the world of banking, law, teaching, academia (as if…!) and followed his growing passion in a series of menial jobs in the wine trade which eventually led him to the MW in 1991. The next 10 years saw him exploring all areas of the wine trade, from own-brand wines for supermarkets, to sourcing top Burgundy.
The opportunity to set up Clark Foyster Wines came in 2002. He looks after buying and selling, in collaboration with his colleagues, and finds his enthusiasm for this endlessly fascinating subject as vivid and stimulating as he ever did.
Clark and Foyster met many years ago in the library at Magdalen College Oxford. Foyster was a worried finalist trying to make up for lost time spent on the hedonistic pursuits of rowing and wine; Clark was a keen fresher who was conscientiously ploughing her way through all 24 books of the Iliad in Greek. After many years, and many more hours in the library, she finally emerged from the world of academia with a D Phil in an obscure subject and a determination to earn a reasonable living. She was initially lured into the bright shiny world of accountancy and finance, but soon tired of corporate life and envied Lance his carefree days of long lunches, convivial tastings and glamorous foreign travel. When the opportunity came for Lance to take over a small wine business, she sorted out all the back office work and became increasingly involved as the business grew until she was able to chuck in her boring day job and become a full-time member of the wine trade.
Amongst other things, she looks after finance; the dull but essential stuff!
Bénédicte joined Clark Foyster Wines, in June 2004, as an office/admin support to help Lance manage the growth of the company. With a background in IT (project management), she seemed, on paper, to have little to do with the world of wines except for her French roots, her Burgundian in-laws, a taste for change and… bien sûr… enjoying drinking wines! Entering the “world of wines” and meeting so many passionate and knowledgeable people has been very fascinating and hmmm… quite different from the world of sofwtare development!
At Clark Foyster Wines, she mainly looks after stock replenishment and shipping, events organisation and marketing. Please do not hesitate to contact her with any query.
Oliver joined the team here at Clark Foyster Wines in March 2018. Oliver’s interest in wine and food date back to his childhood where he has fond memories of big family meals. The wine would be passed around from when the cooking started until the cheese was finished, and then it would be time for a digestif! His passion and interest in wine really sparked while he was studying his Hospitality Degree and working in a fine dining restaurant in London. Whether he was learning how to decant fine wines or deboning Dover Sole it drove him forward to gaining his Advanced WSET. After over ten years in the hospitality industry he then moved to New Zealand for two years and had the opportunity to work in the Gibbston Valley. Here he fell in love with Central Otago Pinot Noirs, though whether this was from the fact he could spend his mornings skiing and his afternoons touring vineyards we’re yet to find out!
South African born, Guy grew up amongst the Cape vineyards, but his love of wine was truly unleashed when he moved to London in the late 90s. Working at Michelin-star restaurant Chez Bruce, the head sommelier Jason poached Guy from bar duty and introduced him to wine service. Lucky he did, as it was this that sparked the passion. Guy went on to hone his nose and palate in some of the finest establishments in London, working with the world’s finest wines.
He moved on to sommelier roles at The Ledbury, Theo Randall and Pied-à-Terre, before returning to South Africa to manage private client and trade accounts for an international wine importer specializing in Burgundy – one of Guy’s first loves in wine.
The pull of Europe was too strong though, and Guy returned a few years later to continue his career in wine sales, based in London. Now, with more than 15 years of experience in the business, from service to sales, he has joined Clark Foyster, working once again with the selection of wines he first grew to appreciate at Chez Bruce, including his much beloved Schloss Gobelsburg from Austria.
Ed joined the team at Clark Foyster Wines in September 2022. He has a deep-rooted passion for all things wine which stems from his many childhood holidays across Europe and beyond. Following a decade long stint in the colourful dance music industry he decided on a change of direction to follow his interest in the wine trade. Ed began working for the acclaimed London wine merchant, Jeroboams, where he was able to surround himself with many a fine wine and host private events for a range of clients, all whilst honing his wine skills and wine knowledge. He has since completed the WSET Level 3 Award, earning distinction, and is currently studying for the more advanced WSET Diploma.
Now a fully-fledged member of the team at Clark Foyster Wines, Ed is responsible for the day-to-day handling of our orders and overseeing our marketing activities.
Katey joined Clark Foyster Wines in April 2022. After spending many years in the field of health research she was ready for a change. Upon learning more about the role in logistics and operations, she was pleasantly surprised to learn that her skill set was perfectly suited to the role. She has really enjoyed learning more about our producers as well as establishing relationships with our transport companies and warehouse staff. She also thinks her knowledge of European geography is improving. The career change was unexpected but extremely rewarding and she looks forward to learning more about the world of fine wine. She is finally expanding her palate from her love of Italian red wine and branching out by trying new and different wines.
Katey’s main responsibilities are to assist Bénédicte with stock replenishment and shipping, as well as providing support to Isabelle with bookkeeping.
It was during childhood summers spent in the hilltop villages of the Haut-Languedoc that Alma first discovered wine, attracted to the joy and celebration it represented. Beautiful vineyards, eccentric, local vignerons making wines from “just down the road”; it all seemed so exotic and exciting compared to the familiar Scottish landscapes back home. Following her graduation in French and Business, Alma lived and worked in Paris where she developed interests in food and wine, later moving into wine retail upon her return to the UK. In March 2014 she jumped at the opportunity to join the team at Clark Foyster Wines and moved to London to focus on trade sales and assist in the business’ many varied and colourful aspects, achieving her WSET Diploma in 2016. After an adventure by bicycle that took her across the vineyards of Europe to meet the wine producers of Kakheti, Georgia, as well as some years spent experiencing life in France’s gastronomic capital, Lyon, Alma has now landed back in her native Scotland, where she is excited to continue her work with her favourite winemakers and the talented, passionate team that is Clark Foyster Wines from her base in the Scottish Highlands.
Martyna’s journey into the world of vines and wines started over ten years ago. At that time she was very lucky to get to know the people who were a real inspiration to her and who impacted her decision about choosing a career in wine.
Over the last decade she has worked as a sommelier and head sommelier at many top end hotels and Michelin star restaurants all the while gaining her skills and knowledge. In 2017 she completed the WSET Diploma and Court of Master Sommelier level 2 in this same year. More recently, she has started studying for the General Certificate in Brewing and Distilling with IBD in London. It was during her time working as a sommelier that she developed an interest in spirits and decided to deepen her knowledge about this category of drinks with the thought in mind that she may one day run her own distillery!
Martyna enjoys the diversity of the wine world and how many different areas of life and expertise it combines. It is an endless source of learning, an opportunity to get to know fascinating people and travelling to some of the most interesting destinations.
Martyna has joined our London team and is adding her expertise to our sales team.