Expert Sommelier, Louise Gordon, joins the Hand Picked Hotels team to continue to strengthen its food and drink credentials.

Hand Picked Hotels today announces expert Sommelier, Louise Gordon, has joined the award-winning food and beverage team as the collection’s first Head of Wine. A new position, Louise will oversee the wine portfolio across the 21 Hand Picked Hotels luxury country houses and coastal retreats, as the business drives its focus on offering guests the highest quality food and drink.

Louise brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience from over 20+ years of working in the industry. Discovering her passion for wine when working at The Wine & Beer Company in Calais, Louise has since become an expert in the field. Louise joins Hand Picked Hotels having previously held positions including Head Sommelier & Wine Buyer at the renowned French restaurant, Clos Maggiore, Head Sommelier at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in Knightsbridge, Head of Wine & Bars at Heckfield Place, where she notably created the opening bar and wine lists, and most recently Head of Wine & Bars and F&B Operations Manager at The Newt in Somerset.

During her time as Head Sommelier at Limewood Hotel, Louise won the coveted Conde Nast Johanssons Best Overall Wine List of the Year and Most Innovative List.

Louise is a Level 5 Certified Educator for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), having taught levels 1,2 and 3 wine internally for a number of hotels.

Louise’s depth of experience will enable her to continue to elevate the wine offering across the Hand Picked collection’s bars and restaurants. Working alongside the hotels’ award-winning chefs and sommeliers, Louise and the team will hand-pick the best wines to pair with the modern British cuisine offered across the collection and create bespoke wine offerings for each hotel. Louise will also oversee all wine-related staff education and training.

As part of the role, Louise will also work closely with the team at Villa Saletta, a historic estate and boutique winery nestled in the beautiful Tuscan landscape and owned by the Hands family. One of Louise’s first activations will be a series of five wine experience across the portfolio in partnership with the Villa Saletta vineyard. Guests will have the opportunity to sample a five-course Italian dinner expertly paired with wines from the estate. With roots which can be traced back to 980AD when the first account of the estate’s winemaking was recorded, today Villa Saletta produces some of the finest, award-winning wines in Italy.

Louise Gordon, Head of Wine, comments: “I am thrilled to be taking on the new challenge of Head of Wine across the Hand Picked Hotels collection. I truly believe wine, combined with incredible food, is such a personal part of any guest’s experience. Food and drink can conjure memories and also be central to making new ones. Being part of that journey and having the opportunity to seek out wines which I believe will help elevate the overall guest experience, is a true honour.

“It’s been a busy start to my journey at Hand Picked Hotels, working with our sister team at Villa Saletta to launch a series of exclusive Italian wine dinners this November. However, it’s great to hit the ground running and I’m excited for what the future will bring.”

Julia Hands, CEO & Founder of Hand Picked Hotels, adds: “I can confidently speak for our team when I say it is a pleasure to have Louise joining the team and sharing her array of wine knowledge with us. Food and drink is a passion every team member shares, and we are dedicated to ensuring we have a high quality and unique food and drink pairing for our residents and guests alike. We have some exciting experiences planned, including the Villa Saletta Wine Dinners, so Louise will definitely be hitting the ground running.”

Hand Picked Hotels is a collection of 21 privately owned, luxury country houses and coastal retreats, founded in 2001 by owner, Chairman and CEO, Julia Hands MBE.