Born in Glasgow in 1968, Laurie moved to London in 1989 to write a novel but instead joined Oddbins, leaving as head of marketing in 2003. After a brief stint as UK marketing director of HMV, he formed design agency Raisin Sauvage in 2004. He joined Las Bodegas in 2008 and set up Ucopia Wines in 2021, “about 10 years later than I should have”.

What’s the first wine you remember drinking?

As a new sales assistant in Oddbins North Finchley, 1989, Hungarian Merlot for £1.89. Three weeks later my area manager, the lovely Nick Mantella, let me taste Penfolds Grange. I preferred the Merlot. Before joining Oddbins my only “wine” reference was Buckfast in my student days.

What job would you be doing if you weren’t in the wine trade?

University lecturer, English literature. As a failed novelist this would have been a more respectable fallback than wine importer, possibly less fun though. I’m now sort of working on my second novel which has a lot more sex, love and death than my first attempt.

How do you relax?

Flyfishing for wild brown trout in small streams. Drinking Pinot Noir. Staring at the sea. Looking for remote stone circles.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

I’m a big fan of Margaret Atwood and was blubbing like a child when Hilary Mantel died. I recently enjoyed Lessons by Ian McEwan. 

Give us a Netflix recommendation.

The Bear. There might still be a couple of people in the UK who’ve not seen it. Brilliant performances all round.

Do you have any sporting loyalties?

Partick Thistle FC – Glasgow’s “other” fitba team. The Jags, as we call them, are in the blood, going back to my grandad and my dad who grew up in Maryhill. We’ve not actually played in Partick since 1909. We are a proudly non-sectarian team and we hate the Ugly Sisters (Celtic and Rangers) in equal measure.

Who’s your favourite music artist?

Impossible question. Probably Weller, all things considered. I also adore Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, Radiohead, The Clash, Roddy Frame, Julian Cope and many, many more. Bowie, obviously. I’m still not over that.

Any superstitions?

I try not to stand in the middle of the road.

Who’s your favourite wine critic?

The British public.

What’s your most treasured possession?

My T5 Classic Vespa scooter, Julie.

What’s your proudest moment?

Not passing out when my first child was born.

What’s your biggest regret?

Not buying a flat in Edinburgh in the mid-90s when I managed a big mad Oddbins shop and made a small bundle before the competition arrived. You can imagine what I spent the money on instead.

Who’s your hero?

I have several, but my biggest hero is my dad, who died a couple of years ago. He was one of those hugely intelligent men of his generation who left school at 15 and was never able to further his education. He was an incredible orator and speech maker, an enormously kind and intelligent optimist and a walking encyclopedia on world cinema.

Any hidden talents?

I’ve been known to write decent poetry and am still available to front a terrible ageing rock band. 

What’s your favourite place in the UK?

South west Scotland, particularly the coast around Campbeltown and the island of Islay. These are very special, peaceful places full of ancient knowledge and sprinkled with brilliant whiskies. Orkney is also incredible if you want to go to Scotland and yet not really be in Scotland.

If we could grant you one wish …

Get rid of these fucking idiots in Number 10. Please.

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