Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Julia Beran and I’m Co-Founder and MD of Vintner, an independent online wine retailer made for the uncomplicated where wine is for all, and there’s strictly no bull.
I have always worked in the wine industry and have been fortunate to call it home for the last 15 years. I started as a tour guide for Moët & Chandon in their cellars in Champagne and I haven’t looked back since. While I do love the liquid, my real passion has always been wine business. However, wine remains very traditional and complicated, and runs the risk of becoming irrelevant for future generations. The way we buy wine online is all wrong. There is just too much to contend with. Too much complexity and way too much choice. But that isn’t what wine is about. Wine is for drinking, for enjoying with loved ones, and for adding extra smiles to a life well lived. Vintner aims to make choosing and buying great wine uncomplicated, fun and one of the easiest things you do in a day.
What were you doing five years ago?
I was MD of Vintner, a B2B wine merchant selling directly to restaurants, city corporates, and catering companies. I solely worked in B2B until last year, and am now enjoying exploring the world of direct to consumer.
What has been the darkest day of your career so far and what did you learn from it?
Going into the first lockdown and having 95% of our business close overnight. I learnt not to panic, and instead to collaborate, and encourage everyone to be creative. As humans we work best when we have a deadline, and this was a pretty unprecedented deadline. As a result we were more productive and focused than ever before. The world has changed a lot in the last year, and people have become more resourceful, compassionate and are more willing to give their time than ever before. Now is the time for us all to keep an open mind and learn from one another.
What has been the brightest day of your career so far?
I’m fortunate to have had many, but the launch of Vintner was a particularly bright day. It was a real privilege to share with the world something that I had co-created with my business partner, Hamish Kirwan, and hugely believed in. A true labour of love.
What qualities do you look for in the people you surround yourself with?
People who are better than me, people I can learn from and people who inspire me. Also, ideally people who make me laugh. There are few greater joys than working with people who make each other laugh. We actually have a poster on our wall in our office that says,
“A day without wine is like a day without sunshine”. I always look at that and think “A day without laughter is a day without sunshine”.
What is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self as you were starting out?
Don't think that you need to have all the answers. Also, one person not buying into your long-term vision will stunt your whole team. If you feel someone isn’t right, trust your gut feeling, and don’t let it fester.
What one piece of music could be the theme tune for the business and why?
“Uprising” by Muse. The whole team enjoys a bit of a pump-up song and this always is the first thing played when we need a bit of energy.
What is your next challenge?
Building our audience, and spreading the word about Vintner. We are also in the middle of raising funds for growth which is keeping us busy!
Where do you see the business, and yourself, in five years?
Vintner will be the no.1 wine retailer for Generation Treaters, the go-to place for all wine needs. I would love still to be a huge part in that, but I hope I will also recognise the point at which others are adding more value than me (refer to earlier point!)
Get in touch
If you would like to speak with a member of the team you can contact our corporate and commercial solicitors by email, by telephone on +44 (0)20 3826 7511 or complete our enquiry form below.