Ed joined the wine trade in 1983 after dabbling with radio journalism in his home city of Bristol, England. He worked for an old Bristol wine firm, Howells, before eventually moving to the bright lights of London. Here he sold wine to the Chelsea set for a company called London Wine Brokers; skills learnt included how to unload a container in less than 2 hours and how to sell wine to difficult as well as pleasant customers.
Ed’s first big break was working for Vinos de España in London. Having already lived for a while in Madrid in the early 1980s, this helped rekindle his passion for Spanish wine and all things Spanish – as well as showing him how to fill in the same form 3 times for the Spanish government. It was then 7 years as a buyer for the Co-op in Manchester. This was a fantastic job which involved travel and learning about wine; Englishman Ed passed the Master of Wine exam in1991, although that year is also remembered for the first meeting with a certain South African Bruce Jack at a wine tasting in London.
Moving from the liveliness of Manchester in 1994 to the sedate, rural idyll of Bridgnorth in the middle of beautiful Shropshire was something of a culture shock. However, the job with Western Wines made up for a lot. Ed was responsible for a lot of the buying, some marketing ideas (basically, anything to do with Spain) and for all quality control. It was also the time that Kumala was created which has since become a multi-million case South African brand.
Ed became a director of Western Wines in 1998 and benefited from the Vincor buyout in 2004. The following year he met up with Bruce again after a splendid tasting at Bruce’s Flagstone winery in South Africa and the Báscula plan was hatched to make wine in Spain.
Ed left Western Wines in early 2006 and is enjoying life immensely working on the Báscula project. He believes the best is yet to come…
Bruce Jack, Winemaker extraordinaire..
Bruce grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. He first studied English Literature at UCT, and later St Andrews University, Scotland, before completing an Oenology and Viticulture degree at the University of Adelaide, Australia.
Bruce worked in wine retail during his university years and then wine marketing, sales and distribution in the UK for two years, before completing his winemaking course.
As a newly qualified winemaker he travelled extensively, working in France, Australia and the USA before returning home in 1998 to start Flagstone Winery. He sold his wine business ten years later to Constellation Wines, then the largest wine business in the world. He remained on as South African Chief Winemaker for Constellation and eventually became Group Winemaker for Accolade Wines, responsible for the style direction of all the core brands of the 4th largest wine business.
In February 2018, after ten years with Constellation/Accolade, Bruce left Accolade to focus on his own wine estate in the Overberg Highlands of South Africa where he crafts very small volume, super premium, single vineyard wines under the Drift Estate label. He also makes wine under his eponymous, globally sourced Bruce Jack label and his mid-tier Bonfire Hill label.
Since 2006 Bruce joins Ed in Spain at least once, but often more frequently, to make the La Bascula wines. With a mother who spoke Spanish and played the Flamenco guitar, Bruce was brought up immersed in the sounds and flavours of Spanish culture. Crafting wines in Spain not only feels like a natural extension of this experience, but is something he is extremely passionate about.