Spanish wine honour for Bury St Edmunds woman

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A Bury St Edmunds woman has become one of just five women in the World to receive a prestigious honour from the Spanish Embassy for her work selling wine.

Melissa Draycott was given the title of Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino – or Caballero – at a ceremonial dinner in London.

Each year the embassy honours just two candidates – one Spanish and one British. Melissa is one of just 59 Caballeros and one of just five women to get the title.

Melissa said her interest in wine began at an early age with her father introducing her to fine wines, and telling her about the wine regions of Europe.

She became interested in Spain during an exchange visit aged nine and studied Spanish at King Edward VI School in Bury.

She later studied for a wine and spirits diploma.

Melissa worked running the wine department at Sainsbury’s in Bury for four years and eventually progressed to a role at its head office buying wines and spirits for the company.

Now Melissa travels widely to wine producing countries as part of her role as sales director for Gonzales Byass UK, known for its Spanish wines and sherries like Tio Pepe.