Meet the team
You can’t create a beautiful wine experience without an outstanding selection of wines, and that’s where our buying team comes in. With collective experience spanning over two decades, our team can sniff out a great wine all over the world, blindfolded and with one hand tied behind their back.
Head Wine Buyer
He started working part-time in a fine wine store whilst finishing a Psychology degree, and then took on a management position there to save some money. With his savings he moved to London where he worked in bars, hospitality, restaurants and for over a year for a fine wine merchant specialising in French wines. It was here that he discovered how deep the rabbit hole goes when he started studying wine, completing the WSET (Wines and Spirits Education Trust) Level 3. Upon moving back to Australia, he decided to continue learning about wine, completing the WSET Diploma whilst working for a small winery in the Hunter Valley. He then moved into managing Fine Wine stores in Sydney whilst finishing his degree. Before moving to United Cellars in May 2018, Mark worked for 5 years as the Buyer for Wine Ark, Australia's biggest wine storage facility. In 2015 Mark decided to bite the bullet and enrolled in the Master of Wine degree, where he now finds himself as a Second year MW student.
Wine & Spirits Buyer
You’ll always find Michael speaking about his new favourite wine, song/band or book he’s discovered, often around his ‘wine nerd’ friends. Watching his favorite sports and hopefully tucking in to his favourite cut of meat. You’ll know it when he ‘finds a cracker’ as it will reverberate around his peers for weeks - he’s always searching for the next one.
...oh, he plays guitar too, although he doesn’t think he’s very good!
Te Rangi Ropata
Buying & Logistics
He migrated to the bright lights of Auckland in the early 2000's, working bars, restaurants, events management and customer services. While training bar staff in cocktails, craft beer and wine, he become addicted to the lore & romance of the vine. After 8 years in hospitality, he uprooted himself to study wine and travel vineyards in New Zealand, France, Italy and South Africa, eventually returning to Auckland and starting with United Cellars in 2017. Working from the ground up to help grow this award winning portfolio, Te is always hunting for his next "desert island wine"... and an excuse to open it!
Alistair Cooper MW
European Wine Consultant
He passed his WSET Diploma in 2012, and was awarded the Derouet Jameson Award for top Diploma student. He then enrolled on the Master of Wine programme that he successfully completed in 2017. He is a regular contributor to consumer and trade magazines such as Decanter, Meiningers International, Harpers and Drinks International. As a judge Alistair is a Panel Chair for IWSC, Decanter World Wine Awards and is the President of Cata d’Or Wine Awards, South America’s longest standing wine competition. Alistair is currently writing a wine guide on the wines of Latin America. Alistair’s other passions are food, rugby, languages, skiing, running and being dad to his awesome girls.
All great wine has a story - but more importantly, it becomes part of the collective story - the one we all share.
And that’s what we celebrate here at United Cellars, the sharing of stories and experiences - it’s why our team are the best at what they do, they care about your story and want to enhance and support your adventures in wine - from telling you anecdotes about the winemakers you might not have known, to sharing a great fact about the grape variety or region you’re about to try.