Clare Tooley MW

Clare began her wine life in London with John Armit Wines in 1995 after a degree in French and Spanish at Cambridge University. She joined Direct Wines Ltd as a wine buyer in 2000 and moved to Bordeaux in 2006 to establish Direct Wines’ international wholesale division and manage the group’s winemaking facility in Castillon.

In 2014, Clare moved to California with her husband and two sons, to work as the director of wine development for Lionstone International. She is based in Napa and currently sources the US wine range for several national wine clubs, including the Wall Street Journal, Laithwaites, NPR, TCM and National Geographic.

Despite the fires, the droughts, the floods, the earthquakes, the rattle snakes and the mountain lions, Clare still thinks of California as a truly golden state. Clare is a Chevalier of Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne, and became a Master of Wine in February 2021.

Clare writes about premium California wine for She contributes to Tim Atkin MW website ( and her essays have been published in The Academie du Vin's recent book 'On California'.