Jane Rakison

Interview with a wine expert

Jane Rakison is a world-renowned wine expert and broadcaster, famed for her role on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen Live. A regular contributor to CWO At Home and CWO Dinner events, Jane brings star quality to our events as her uniquely confident, charismatic, and relaxed style does a fantastic job of educating and entertaining.

Jane is a judge, author, and editor, having had two books published and running the bimonthly digital magazine, Cherry. She was also the winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year in 2014 and received the Chairman’s Award at the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards.

We interviewed Jane to learn more about her wine loving origin story and get her recommendations for some underrated gems.

Chief Wine Officer: Tell us a little about your background – how did you first become interested in wine?

Jane Rakison: “I love reading answers to this question as the wine trade can be so random, no two stories are ever the same. Mine was thanks to a professor at university who derided me for having no idea what I wanted my final year dissertation subject to be, the research of which had to be done during my third year abroad in France. By TOTAL luck, I got sent to study at the Université de Bourgogne in Dijon for a year, so the canny professor advised me to do my thesis on Dijon mustard or Burgundy wine. Guess which I chose??”

What’s the best thing about your job?

“I’m going to sound corny as hell here but it really is the people (*groan). That’s what first got me hooked, meeting all these everyman superheroes who are so intimately connected with their patch of land on this earth they make it their life’s work to produce something joyful and pleasurable for other people. How great is that? I also love how everyone knows EVERYONE else around the world by two people removed at the most. The wine community is global yet also local which makes it such a fascinating and loveable industry.”

What wine do you think people should appreciate but don’t?

“There are a few actually. I think good quality Cru Beaujolais can be a great drink, but maybe people remember Beaujolais Nouveau and think it’s the same thing. Italian white wines tend to be underrated – top quality Soave Classico is just one example.”


"If you want a wine cold but the bottle isn’t cold enough, there is no shame in sticking a big fat ice cube in the bottom of the glass to get the desired end result."

– Jane Rakison


What is your favourite expensive wine, and your favourite affordable wine?

“I go weak at the knees for exquisite Champagne, especially Blanc de Blancs, and Salon is probably my most coveted house. And hyped though they are, I just adore Super Tuscans like Tignanello or Sassicaia. Anything underrated is usually affordable in wine terms, so in my house that means the reds of the Loire Valley which are fragrant, juicy and low in tannin. Usually made with the Cabernet France, Gamay or Pinot Noir, they’re divine.”

What wine fact can you share with our readers so they can impress their friends?

“The ‘room temperature’ advice for serving red wine comes from days of old, before central heating. This means our houses are now much warmer in general which means there’s too much warm red wine about in general! The moral of the story is don’t be afraid to put your red wine in the fridge.”

If you were hosting a dinner party, who would you invite (from anytime, anywhere)?

My grandpa, JK Rowling, Dom Pérignon, Barack Obama, Clementine Churchill, Dylan Thomas, Denise Lewis.

What is your wine guilty pleasure?

Um, ice!? If you want a wine cold but the bottle isn’t cold enough, there is no shame in sticking a big fat ice cube in the bottom of the glass to get the desired end result. 

Meet Jane

Attend a CWO event in London and meet award-winning wine expert herself

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About Jane

Visit Jane’s website for a breakdown of her expertise and services as wine expert and broadcaster

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Any questions?

If you have any wine tasting or wine industry questions for Jane, email us and we’ll send them on