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Wine Society announces new head buyer

The Wine Society has announced that Tim Sykes will replace Sebastian Payne MW in the role of head of buying.

Tim Sykes (pictured) is currently buying director at importers Enotria, where he ‘has worked for many years with The Society’s buying team and already has direct relationships with several of its suppliers,’ the Wine Society says.

Sykes will lead the Wine Society’s buying department team, including the five other buyers: Mark Buckenham, Joanna Locke MW, Pierre Mansour, Toby Morrhall and Marcel Orford-Williams.

Announcing the appointment the Wine Society stressed that as it is a mutual society run for the benefit of its members, ‘the responsibility of the buyers is purely and simply to buy the best wine at the best possible price for members, rather than focusing on price points and profit margins.’

The result is strong and long-lasting relationships with producers around the world, it said.

Sebastian Payne, who is leaving the Society after 38 years, is ‘stepping back from the lead role, [and] looking forward to continuing to buy from many interesting areas,’ the Society’s statement said.

However, Payne told Decanter in an interview published in the December 2011 issue that as soon as a successor was found, ‘I will disappear. I promise not to step on anyone’s toes.’

Wine Society chair Sarah Evans said, ‘We very much welcome Tim to our team and are confident that his understanding of The Wine Society and our ethos, combined with his experience, expertise and dynamic approach will ensure that The Society remains at the forefront of the country’s wine merchants.’

Sykes will join The Wine Society in March 2012. He said, ‘I am thrilled to be taking up the position of head of buying at The Wine Society, a unique organisation for which I have the highest regard.’

The Wine Society has been named at the Decanter World Wine Awards Retailer Awards every year since 2007. This year it won National Wine Merchant of the Year.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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