Leaving the autumn wine-tasting in the cellars of Berry Brothers and Rudd last October was more difficult than normal: not just because it was saddening to leave behind the blissful wines and the delightful company but also because, towards the end of tasting tables, was stationed the … well, I don’t know a better way to describe her, even though it appears patronising, than “charming” Amanda Baxter, the Product Training Manager from the spirits side of the business. She was offering tastings of rum (fabulous) and whisky (oh my!). This was after a string of Madeiras and wonderful, can’t-bring-myself-to-spit wines … so the undulating stairs up into the “real” world were more of a challenge than usual. And they really do undulate – the shop has been there for over 300 years, there’s barely a straight line in the place; it’s an Ikea designer’s nightmare! So I had to book a more sober appointment to learn more about the lesser-known side of Berry Brothers and Rudd – their spirits department, where I met a very contented and hard-working bunch of people.