Meet Nathan Last, a wine connoisseur and awesome Boomer! We pick Nathan's brain for an insight into the wine industry, and some tips for the best bottles we should be including in our Friday night chill...
Hey Nathan! Can you tell us more about your job in the wine industry?
Hi! I am a Customer Business Manager for Pernod Ricard UK. Pernod Ricard is the world's largest premium spirits and wine company, with spirits brands such as Absolut Vodka, Jameson's Irish Whiskey, Havana Club Rum and Malibu, and wine brands such as Campo Viejo, Brancott Estate, Jacob's Creek, plus Mumm & Perrier Jouet Champagne. I look after Tesco on the wine side of our business.
When did you start Booming?
Right at the very beginning. Hilary and I used to spin together in another gym before the days of Boom Cycle, so when I heard about Boom I was there from the get go!
Has exercise always been important to you?
I have always played a lot of sport - Rugby & Cricket mainly, but as I got older and had a family I played less and less organised sport on a regular basis and started to hit the gym more. As I used to play team sports, I much prefer group exercise to training on my own.
Having worked in the booze industry for so long there is always a fancy meal or a night out drinking (occupational hazards), so I wouldn't say it is all about keeping fit; for me exercise has always been about stress relief. I plug in, work hard and get rid of it all.
What does living a 'balanced' lifestyle mean to you?
It is all about living life to the full. I have three young daughters and their lust for life is amazing, I wish I was as fascinated about the world as they are! I love to eat outstanding food, drink well (professionally and socially), and have fun, so I also use exercise to keep myself in check or I would literally be twice the size.
Working in wine... what is that like??
Working in wine is amazing, I have been to some extraordinary places around the world with my job, and have access to an [almost] endless supply. Everyone you meet has some kind of opinion on wine, from what their Dad drinks, to a drunken memory or a hangover from hell, so you can't help but engage with people on the subject. In the main most people would love to know more, and hopefully I can provide some interesting knowledge!
Can you tell us a crazy fact about wine or the wine industry?
The average price for a bottle of wine in the UK is £5.62. If you take out the government taxes (Excise Duty + VAT), the cost of transporting the bottle wherever in the world it was made, the cost of a glass bottle, label and cork, and a shared margin for the retailer and supplier, you are left paying about 25p for the actual juice inside. Therefore, in theory, if you spend an extra £2 on a bottle, virtually all of that extra is spent on the wine quality itself meaning you should be getting a far superior product. Equally though, £50 bottles of wine are not always 5 times as good as £10 bottles, it is scarcity that determines price. It is a complex world!
It sounds like you really have a passion for wine. When did you decide to make it your career?
I always liked wine, but fell into it as a career by accident. A mate of mine was working for Gallo (the world's biggest wine brand) in the UK, and they were looking for people, so I managed to get an interview and subsequently a job. 15 years later I can tell you it is a hard industry to leave!
...So, would you consider yourself a, 'work-hard-play-hard' kind of guy?
Absolutely, although I play less hard than I did, now that I have kids! My wife would also say that work is not that hard for me either, she just thinks I sit around drinking all day! In truth, it is a very specialised and competitive industry and there is always more to learn, but there is a fair amount of drinking to be done, I mean 'tasting' to be done...
I think it depends on what are you doing or what you are eating, I am a real explorer and like to try and find new and interesting wines, so very rarely buy the same bottle twice. Last night I drank a Sauvignon Blanc from the Awatere Valley in Marlborough, New Zealand, and loved it; the aroma is literally like walking in to a greenhouse. The last bottle of red I drank was a Zinfandel from California with a steak on Friday, the trend these days is to pair Malbec with Steak, but for me Zin is King.
Favourite track for wine drinking?
I have an extremely eclectic taste of music, as far as I am concerned there are two types of music: good and bad.
Favourite place to drink wine?
You can't beat drinking wine in the location it was made. Most wine started as local product, designed to match the local food, salt, oil, etc. so when it is in its true local environment, it is best. That is why when you bring it home it never tastes quite as good! My other favourite place is at home with my wife, once the kids are in bed!
What's your favourite track for getting your Boom on?
I always love the musically themed classes. Some of my favourites are Booming to Latino and to Disco!
What's your favourite thing to do when you’re not working (or Booming)?
I just love being outdoors with my family and the dog, which is what happens most weekends! Playing rugby and golf are a close second though!