Henry Powles

Oenologist, Encirc Wines, on acrophobia, Holst’s The Planets, and elephants

What was your first ever job? I was a complaints clerk at Fortnum & Mason. It certainly taught me the need for a quick and prompt response!

What’s been your worst job interview? I once thought I was interviewing for a particular role but it became clear the job wasn’t what I thought it was. I toughed it out anyway.

What was the first music single you bought? I was never keen on pop music, so it was Gustav Holst’s The Planets.

How do you describe your job to your mates? I tell them it’s one long wine-tasting session. They envy me, until I point out that my day starts at 8am and I could be tasting from then - it’s not as easy as it sounds.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? The knowledge that through our team’s due diligence, we ensure our customers’ expectations are not only met but exceeded on a daily basis. Making sure the consumer always gets the wine or beverage they expect is also very rewarding.

What is the least rewarding part? Having to taste wine before my first cup of coffee is always a challenge.

What is your motto in life? Have no regrets and live life to the full.

If you were allowed one dream perk, what would it be? A private train to take me around.

Do you have any phobias? Acrophobia is one of the main reasons I was glad to stop being a cellar hand. Climbing on top of tanks was not a lot of fun.

If you could change one thing in grocery, what would it be? The ­increasing consumer trend to only buy wine when it’s on offer. The wineries need to make a profit so the grape growers can be paid a sustainable amount.

What luxury would you have on a desert island? A cellar of wine ­representing the finest wines from Italy. There is enough variety and difference across the styles that life would never become dull.

What animal most reflects your personality? An elephant, because I never forget!

What’s your favourite film and why? Withnail ­& I has so many good lines and the tea shop scene is priceless.

Which celebrity would you most like to work with and why? Someone like Alan Sugar, who has built himself up from nothing.