Meet your buyer: Charlotte Cels
Mofo Wine Buyers have one of the most envied jobs around, but they actually work their butts off to bring us all the good wine at the right price (just don't tell them that, their heads are big enough). Charlotte has had a long history with the founders of Vinomofo, and started at the 'fo back in 2013 as our one and only customer service rep. Instrumental in bringing Vinodirect – our winery direct wine sales service – to life, Char was elevated to the lofty ranks of Mofo Wine Buyer in 2018. You can thank her for many of the delicious drops you get to enjoy as a mofo.
Too often we only see the glossy Instagram #buyerlyf, without any context of what goes on behind the scenes. But for Charlotte, it's all about her relationships.
"My clients are the rockstars of the industry," she says.
"Wine industry people are all pretty similar, so I end up becoming friends with a lot of them. Which makes buying from them far more enjoyable.
"And that buying’s made easier because we have so many options for a wine. We could sell it as a Black Market deal or in a mixed pack, or it could be going to one or all of the markets we are in... or it could be a phone-only deal. The options are endless. It's also an opportunity to get their wine out to a greater audience than they normally might."
To maintain the standard Vinomofo set themselves – ‘only the wines we drink and love’ – everything runs through the buying team tasting panel. But first, potential wines are put through a vetting process.
"For example," explains Charlotte, "if a producer was to reach out and offer an old savvy b, I wouldn’t be rushing to get some tasting stock as I know fresh is best. It has to start and end with our mofos in mind, and what they want."
Charlotte is the lady behind getting such wines as Oliver’s Taranga Tempranillo, a variety she reckons is totally underrated from McLaren Vale. She's also a key driver behind our producer relationships for our own Homeless Grapes Project, which she's rightly proud of. Not to mention our recent collaboration with Hentley Farm in a wine called The General, an epic parcel of Barossa shiraz.
"It’s the first time we've had Hentley Farm wines on the 'fo, and it's damn good"” says Char. Agree to agree.
"I’d love to see more chenin blanc at Vinomofo, too," says Charlotte. "Chenin isn’t a huge category for us, however if we can educate more people about these unique categories then hopefully there will be more need for them. And it’s delicious.
"I will never get sick of pinot. If I’m stuck on an island with endless amounts of pinot I’m in heaven. More specifically Chatto Pinot. (Say ‘pinot’ again...)"
Now we know the way to Charlotte’s heart is through her pinot glass. Is yours? Well, you know where she works, and she’s open to bribery, whatever the occasion.
"When I was young it was probably Passion Pop for five bucks a pop, and I remember getting stuck right into NZ savvy b for awhile. But I’m glad those days are behind me, to be honest. Bring me pinot and I’m happy.
"Crap, I said it again."