Propeller is a unique distribution service for boutique producers seeking direct access to UK independent retailers and regional wholesalers.
Propeller was formed by UK wine trade stalwart Jamie Wynne-Griffths and Corinne O´Connor, an accomplished winemaker and sales strategist, originally from Philadelphia.
We provide ‘distribution as a service’ and set up producer’s wines for long term success in the UK market, without the cost base or competing agency priorities of a ‘normal importer’. Producers only pay a fixed monthly fee to support our sales team meaning that they retain control of the product lifecycle and can set optimal pricing for their wines.
Jamie has worked in the UK wine trade for nearly 30 years. In that time he’s run sales teams for the likes of Bibendum, Enotria and OW Loeb. He’s also been a trainer, presenter, buyer and occasional columnist. He founded Wild Ferment consultancy in 2018 before going on to set-up Propeller. When he’s not criss-crossing the UK selling wine he lives in Dorset with his wife, two kids and a menagerie of cats and dogs.
Corinne is an American winemaker and vineyard manager by training. She came to the UK in 2019 to be part of the emerging English wine industry. Beginning her career in wine shortly after university, she sold wine for a fine wine importer-distributor on the East Coast. Being most interested in the production of wine, she took a career pivot to apprentice under an award winning winemaker at Galer Estate Vineyard & Winery. Championing small producers and getting their bottles in the hands of consumers has always been at the forefront of Corinne’s mind. As a producer herself, she believes Propeller is the perfect partner for those looking to export to the UK for the first time. She’s currently the youngest independent winery owner in the UK and is looking forward to releasing her first vintage next year.
Jo Moore, our Finance Accounts Manager and overall office superstar, is Dorset born and bred. She has over 20 years experience in both accounts and customer services, and decided it was time for a change and some excitement which is why she’s joined the Propeller Team. When she’s not in the office, she loves nothing more than popping off for weekends in my caravan with family and friends, sitting by the camp fire with a glass of wine (or 2). She has also become our unofficial rosé taste tester as she loves rosés of all shades and grapes!
Matt Wakeford joined us at the end of February as part of our London and South East sales team. He’s a former professional cyclist he found his love for wine living in Europe. Matt has a long history of working in sales via the cycling industry before following his love of wine and learning into the wine industry five years ago.
He spent three years working in wine retail, managing some of the largest stores in his area, after which he decided to pivot and become a sommelier. He then spent two years as a sommelier, working towards the title of Head Sommelier in a few of the country’s finest restaurants.
During this period, he started his WSET Diploma and started the infamous Court of Master Sommeliers examinations in the hope to one day attempt the master sommelier’s exam.
In his free time which he now has after leaving the hospitality trade he loves to cook, his current favourite style is Korean and he is still an avid cyclist.
Schooled in Birmingham, Ben became a whisky aficionado while at university in York and quickly ran out of money. Wine’s greater diversity (and more accessible price point) came calling and he started his career at Loki Wine in 2018 while working his way through the first 3 WSET qualifications. His wife’s PhD studies then took them to Surrey, where he spent almost 4 years at independent merchant The Vineking. There he sold wine predominantly from small producers, sourced wines for the monthly wine club, ran tastings and dinners and studied for the WSET Diploma. Ben joined Propeller in 2022, a week after sitting his final Diploma exams, and now lives back in Birmingham with his wife Erin.
James’s love of grapes started at 18 after spending a couple of months in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. He spent most of the next decade managing restaurants at every level of the industry, and in 2019 was part of the team to bring Manchester its first Michelin Star in over 40 years. His experience working in wine merchants and as a sommelier helped him find his passion for shining a spotlight on boutique winemakers around the world. During the 2020 Covid pandemic James; a little late to the game, discovered the power of social media where he regularly reviews wines from some of the lesser known winemaking regions of the world. He lives in Manchester with his fiancée Meg and Springer Spaniel Paddy.
Elaine decided that wine was to be her career while studying something much more sensible at university a long time ago, and still thinks it is the best decision she ever made. She currently works as a WSET educator instructing the Diploma Wine Business module. She has previously worked in category planning for Waitrose and Ocado, and has an extensive understanding of the UK market. Elaine utilises a mix of strategic and operational knowledge to achieve financial targets for our clients. A passion for the dynamics of the global wine industry, and finding the opportunities within, has led her to Propeller, where she works as the resident market geek.
Lisa Mac is a global consumer branding expert, with over 20 years’ experience across a wide variety of sectors, but specialises in the alcohol category. She has worked with Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Berry Brothers & Rudd and directly with Mark & Spencer buyers to develop their portfolio of wines, beers and spirits. As co-founder of Dima’s, a newly-launched premium Ukrainian vodka, she has leveraged her broad experience and connections within the hospitality industry to drive exceptional brand growth during a global pandemic! Lisa is a keen cook, passionate about food and drink, and has the good fortune to have been classified as a ‘Supertaster’ and can be found judging food and drink awards such as the Great Taste Awards.
Sue Harris has run Westbury Communications for over 20 years specialising in wine PR and marketing. During this time she has run successful campaigns for generics such as Beaujolais, Argentina, New York and Ribera del Duero and wine companies such as Plaimont (Gascony), Concha Y Toro, the Ned and MASI. She has also worked for retailers Marks & Spencer and ASDA. This spread of clients has enabled Sue to build an extensive network of contacts throughout the wine trade.
The Propeller team is ready to help you tackle the UK wine market!