Derek Stuart Todd MW
Became an MW 1957, died 2018
After serving in the RAF and Army Derek joined the family wine business run by his father in the West End of London – Bostock and Kimpton Wholesale Wine Merchants, which specialised in sales to both the Army and Air Force Offices’ Messes. The company was then taken over three times in four years. The business was sold in 1959 to Hatch Mansfield and the combined business was sold again in 1960 to the gin distillers J & W. Nicholson who in turn sold it to Grants of St James in 1962.
Derek enjoyed a very successful career in the wine trade, and became an MW in 1956. He served as Chairman of the Institute in 1964 and led the first visit made abroad by the IMW.
For both business and the Institute, Derek travelled widely including many trips and wine tastings to the wine regions of France, Germany and South Africa. Derek was very modest about his considerable work achievements, always describing himself to others very simply as a ‘wine merchant’. His career embraced soft drinks, liqueurs, spirits, wine, sherry, beers and ales, breweries and Champagne.
He retired in July 1986 and during the early years of his retirement, which started 32 years ago, he remained on the board of many companies including Allied Domecq, Grants of St James Ltd, Harveys of Bristol, Victoria Wine Company, Britvic, C&C in Ireland and Chateau Latour in France. For a few years, he also enjoyed a consultancy and mentoring role. Derek died peacefully at his home in Lymington, aged 92. He bore his increasing fragility with fortitude and stoicism, and retained his sense of humour right to the end. From
Tribute by Angela Muir MW
I took the exam more than once before I passed in 1980. My handwriting would make a demented spider jealous and I know at least one of my contemporaries who had a similar problem and didn’t pass, I believe, as a result. One of the most terrible experiences of my life was taking the exam with a shocking head cold. The following year I passed the tasting and was hauled into Derek’s office (not that I’d have called him Derek at that stage in my career). He said “Imagine that you are an ageing and very senior member of the wine trade with a time consuming job; you then go home and start marking MW exam papers. Around three o’clock in the morning, you come across one, which you can hardly read. What do you think you are likely to do with it??? Get yourself a fountain pen!” It’s much more difficult to scrawl at something approaching the speed of your thoughts with a fountain pen than it is with a biro. Anyway, I got the fountain pen, passed the exam and reverted to a biro for my own notes that I DON’T want others to read. I shall be forever grateful to him.