After completing a joint honours degree in English and Italian at Cardiff University, Ian Elton-Wall began working in the wine trade in 1994. His first job was in a branch of Oddbins where he started as a sales assistant; later becoming an assistant manager; and a branch manager – and finally manager of one of Oddbins fine wine departments at (what was then) the Oddbins’ highest grossing shop in Notting Hill Gate. Oddbins provided Ian with a broad range of experience in the sale (and consumption!) of wines from every significant wine producing region. Following 4 years at Oddbins Ian joined Armit Wines in 1998 where he worked in private client sales, before being given responsibility for the private investor trading department.
As well as working on investment sales, during his 8 years at Armit Wines Ian developed a passion for great Burgundy and gained his first direct purchasing experience, visiting many of the greatest Burgundy Domaine whilst on buying trips from 1998 to 2006. Ian left Armit Wines to become Manager of Private Sales for MARC Fine Wines in 2006, where he first worked with Genevieve Smith. Ian’s role once again encompassed direct purchasing responsibilities for Burgundy. At MARC Ian also began to develop an expertise in trade sales and purchasing. In 2010 Ian was headhunted to work for Wine Networks, a subsidiary company of the SK Group, one of South Korea’s largest conglomerates. As ‘Head of Private Sales & Purchasing’ he shared purchasing responsibility for the whole of Wine Networks as well as selling to a broad spectrum of trade and private clients.
Prior to setting up Renaissance Vintners, Ian was part owner and Managing Director of Premier Cru Trading Ltd, assuming overall responsibility for all sales, purchasing and management functions, as well as providing market analysis and consultancy for Premier Cru Fine Investments, the parent company of Premier Cru Trading. Ian headhunted Gen to work at Premier Cru as Operations Manager. Apart from being passionate about wine from a wide variety of regions, Ian is a keen cook, a passionate golfer and an avid armchair football fan.
Genevieve was born in Tuscany and grew up in a house with a vineyard in the back garden and a wine cellar in the cellar. Gen took her first sip of wine at the tender age of 3 – encouraged heartily by the winemaker! She went on to live in various countries in Europe in her childhood, where she learnt to speak Italian and German fluently. Unfortunately, she “unlearned” Italian when she had to learn German and English! While at Sheffield University, Gen turned her part time role working in a pub into a full time role and became a pub manager in Sheffield and subsequently in Central London.
In 2008, Gen joined MARC Fine Wines where she first met Ian Elton-Wall. During this time, Gen supported MARC Fine Wines Operations Manager in undertaking a full warehouse move from Octavian to EHD, as well as implementing a new software system. Due to Gen’s increasing passion and knowledge of wine, she was promoted to a sales role in January 2012. In January 2013 she joined Premier Cru Fine Wine Investments, taking a more senior role as an Operations Manager.
At Premier Cru Gen utilised her previous experience undertaking a complete warehouse move and implementing an entirely new stock, CRM and accounting system. At Premier Cru Gen also re-joined forces with Ian who was running a subsidiary company, Premier Cru Trading. Other than wines, Gen’s passion lies in partaking in the ritual of food. Whether that be preparing it at home or devouring it in the finest establishments in London or local food-stalls.