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About Us

“Jeremy was an excellent host. His knowledge, humor and explanations made the trip that much more enjoyable.”

“Simon, we thank you for being a perfect host.  We will have wonderful memories of this trip for the rest of our lives.”

Jeremy Shaw and Marisa Espeso set up Iberian Wine Tours in 2010 to share the fun they had exploring Spain and Portugal in search of fine food and wine. Jeremy’s love of wine was inspired by a Bordelais uncle and a job at Steven Spurrier’s Academie du Vin in Paris. Marisa worked at the Spanish Embassy’s Wine and Food office in London.

After the early trips to Marisa’s native Castile the tour range has expanded dramatically but the essence never changes. Look for great hosts and experiences that show the authentic local face of the places we go, having as much fun and great food and wine as possible in the process.

We are very proud to introduce our tour hosts, a diverse and jovial band of experts and enthusiasts.

Meet The Team

Managing Director and Tour Host

Jeremy Shaw

Jeremy couldn’t resist a spell in Spain in 1993 just before he started working as a lawyer in London. He had studied at the Sorbonne and then worked in the wine industry for Steven Spurrier in Paris but the sunny days in Salamanca in that first half of 1993 changed his life. As well as meeting wife Marisa, Jeremy developed a love for Spain and the Spanish that has permeated his life ever since.

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Operational Director

Marisa Espeso

Marisa studied IT in her native Salamanca and moved to London in 1994 to work for the Spanish Embassy Commercial Office where she worked very closely with the food and wine department and was able to taste countless wines from all the best Spanish regions. She was also able to share all of these great wines with husband Jeremy whose wine knowledge up until then had mainly centred on French wines.

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Business Development Manager and Tour Host

Simon McGookin

Simon has a lifelong passion for wine and travel, stemming from a visit to the Barossa Valley when he lived and worked in Australia as a teenager. Since then he has visited most of the top wine regions of the world. He studied at Queen’s University Belfast and had a career in IT and professional rugby management before joining Iberian Wine Tours.  After successfully completing the Level 3 WSET Advanced Certificate in Wines and Spirits he has worked closely with Jeremy Shaw in overseeing the growth of the company.

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Operations Manager and Tour Host

Jenny Siddall

Jenny studied Spanish, French and Italian at university and fell in love with wine through travel. She spent over a decade in La Rioja, Spain, to study a Masters in Viticulture and Oenology and gained wine making experience working at two wineries.

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Tour host

James Lawther MW

James Lawther is a Master of Wine and has been co-hosting tours with us for many years, especially  in Bordeaux, the Rhone, Champagne and Alsace.

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Tour Host

Raymond Blake

Raymond Blake is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and in a previous career worked as a schoolmaster in Clongowes Wood College, where James Joyce started his schooldays. He is one of Ireland’s leading wine writers and his work has been published across the globe.

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Tour Host

Jackie Thurn-Valsassina

Born in Perth, Western Australia, Jackie had strong connections to Europe through her father which gave her a love of all things European and of course, a desire to travel. Eventually, she met the father of her two daughters in Timor, and he being Portuguese, it wasn´t long before they packed their bags and moved to a small village in Northern Portugal back in 1981.

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Tour Host

Gijs van Hensbergen

Gijs van Hensbergen is a Dutch art historian, food critic and Hispanist. After training at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London for a BA Hons and Postgraduate research in History of Art he worked for the Knoedler Gallery, in London and New York. Following this, he made the rather eccentric decision to devote 5 years of his life to the art of the Master Chef of the Chaine des Rotisseurs as a suckling pig specialist in Segovia, Spain. He is now the Grand Knight of the Noble Order of the Silver Whisk.

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Tour Host

Karen Bell

Karen began her culinary career in Milwaukee while studying culinary arts at the Milwaukee Area Technical College and furthered her education with a culinary grant from MATC at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. After finishing her studies, she moved to Chicago where she helped open Vong Restaurant, and worked at Charlie Trotter’s. She then spent three years at San Francisco’s prestigious seafood restaurant Farallon, where she was promoted to Sous Chef and Chef in charge of private dining.

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Tour Host

Joanna Wivell

Spain has always had a strong attraction for Joanna. While she was studying in Andalusia, she was drawn to flamenco and this in turn led her to explore the Spanish way of life. After working in television in the U.K., she travelled extensively for two years’ in Asia and Latin America where she always sought the hidden treasures.

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