*** DEBUG END ***

Full Bodied: The fading memories of a big man in the wine trade, by Christopher Fielden

12 March 2021

Robert Stanier enjoys a wine insider’s view

FEW people alive today know as much about the world of wine as Christopher Fielden. This book covers his six decades in the industry, mainly as a middle man, tracking down wines and then bringing them to the UK for people to buy. If you have ever drunk a bottle of Jacob’s Creek from Australia, or a Marqués de Cáceres Rioja, then Fielden has had a hand in that.

Some of his explorations brought rewards: he was the first British writer to write about wine from New Zealand back in the 1970s; other projects came to nothing: no great wine is yet to emerge from Paraguay, for all his searches.

In the same decade, he entered into an unlikely partnership with the cricket commentator John Arlott to co-write the first serious guide to the wines of Burgundy. He wrote a column for Decanter magazine before joining the Church Times, to which, until his retirement last year, he contributed a monthly column for nearly 20 years, recommending relative bargains with the emphasis on caring winemakers rather than industrial brands.

This memoir is also a testament to a career at a particular time and place. Take this sentence from c.1975: “One day I was walking along Jermyn Street at the end of the morning just about sherry time, so I thought I would call in to see David Gilbertson at Christopher and Co. . .” This is once how business was done and deals were made.

Fielden’s career has been the wine equivalent of a jobbing priest, who has worked in various international chaplaincies alongside classic parish ministry in England. It is not a ground-breaking piece of writing, but, for those with an interest, it gives an insider’s view on how the wine world has developed in the past sixty years.

The Revd Robert Stanier is Vicar of St Andrew and St Mark, Surbiton, and is captain of the Southwark clergy cricket team.


Full Bodied: The fading memories of a big man in the wine trade
Christopher Fielden
Self-published £10 incl. p&p*
*Copies can be obtained from the author at winesource@btconnect.com

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Church Times Bookshop

Save money on books reviewed or featured in the Church Times. To get your reader discount:

> Click on the “Church Times Bookshop” link at the end of the review.

> Call 0845 017 6965 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm).

The reader discount is valid for two months after the review publication date. E&OE

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available



Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website


ViSIt our Events page for upcoming and past events 

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)