Co-Founder and Executive Director
Born and raised into a winemaking family in Burgundy, Pauline Vicard grew up working in the vineyard. Her career has included market research for the BIVB and the French embassies in Norway and Cuba, to opening a wine and tea shop in Lille and leading the wine education programme for France’s leading hospitality trade union (UMIH). After moving to London in 2015, she became Head of Wine at Clerkenwell London, for whom she organised more than 80 trade and consumer wine events. In 2017, she developed Fine Minds for Fine Wines with Nicole Rolet, owner of the Rhône Valley’s Chêne Bleu winery. This led to the creation of Areni Global in 2019.
As Co-founder and Executive Director, Pauline now directs all Areni Global’s activities, including research, events, and publications.
Felicity Carter is Editorial Director of ARENI Global, and also writes for numerous wine publications. Previously she was founding Executive Editor of The Drop; an editorial consultant to Liv-ex, and Editor-in-Chief of Meininger’s Wine Business International, published by Meininger Verlag in Germany, which she built into a magazine read in 38 countries. A noted speaker, she has given keynote addresses at top industry conferences in Hong Kong, New York, Sydney, London, and Verona, among others.
Before her arrival in Europe, she wrote for major outlets in Australia, including the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. She has also written extensively about science and medicine, and has written for The Guardian USA.
Sarah Phillips McCartan
Head of Membership
After studying at universities in Scotland and New Zealand, Sarah joined the wine trade in 2014 to work for Liv-ex in London. She spent seven years in a range of communications roles, covering areas such as market analysis, PR, and product development. She relocated to Miami in 2019. Later that year, she won Jancis Robinson’s wine writing competition for her article, Miami for Wine Lovers. Sarah’s role for Areni Global involves developing the membership program, so you’re welcome to contact her with any questions. When not working for Areni Global, Sarah is busy teaching, writing, and hosting events focused on wine – as well as studying for the Master of Wine exam. She also enjoys kayaking, running, and days at the beach.
Tanisha Townsend is Chief Wine Officer and founder of Girl Meets Glass, a wine lifestyle and education agency based in Paris. Originally from the US, Tanisha creates wine experiences for expats and tourists alike. Passionate about tourism and education, Tanisha also teaches courses and seminars on the business of wine and oenotourisme. Tanisha has furthered her educational efforts with clients by developing e-books and guides around French wine tourism. Her passion has also led her into podcasting where she introduces audiences to people behind the scenes in the wine industry in Wine School Dropout and educates you on new regions and hot wine topics in The Wine Hour.
Head of Press Relations & Public Relations
As the founder of Westbrook Marketing Partners, Christian Holthausen is an experienced Sales, Marketing & Communications Director with a successful track record of more than twenty years in the international wine and spirits industry developing and implementing comprehensive brand value strategies, and with a strong focus on the Champagne category.
Holthausen currently works with several international clients, including a number of producers in Champagne. He also looks after press relations and public relations for The Gérard Basset Foundation.
Head of Development
Claire holds a Master’s in International Relations from Paris Dauphine University, as well as a degree in viticulture and oenology.
Travels and multiculturalism have always been part of her passion, leading her to leave France in 2006 and settle in Singapore where she started her professional life working as a Brand ambassador for a famous Champagne & Spirits luxury group. In total, she spent almost 9 years in South East Asia, where she occupied a variety of positions. In 2015, Claire returned to Brussels to play a pivotal role in the international growth of the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (ASI), as their marketing director, a position she hold until 2023. Claire is also a wine columnist for a magazine in Belgium.
After an intense career in International Politics, Finance and Think Tanks, Nicole embarked on the adventure of a lifetime: together with husband Xavier and family, she undertook the restoration of an abandoned medieval priory in Provence and its derelict wild vineyard. With the help of her family she spent over a decade nursing the vineyard back to health, crafting the first cuvées in 2006, launching the eco-couture wine label Chêne Bleu in 2010.
In 2017, Nicole Rolet saw the need for a collaborative approach to change. She held the first Fine Minds 4 Fine Wines event along with Pauline Vicard in the Rhone Valley that same year. It created a space where major issues could be addressed by key experts from all walk-of-life, with a focus on drafting a collective vision for the future of fine wine.
The think tank is now part of Areni Global programming, and an annual invitation-only event.
Polly Hammond, the Founder and CEO of 5forests, leads an award-winning global digital marketing agency specializing in the wine industry. Known for her forward-thinking approach and insightful perspectives, Polly is well known for her willingness to tackle challenging questions to keep the wine industry competitive in a dynamic market.
Her leadership at 5forests reflects a commitment to advancing the wine industry through strategic digital marketing and a deep understanding of global market trends. This expertise makes Polly a valued member of the Areni Global board, where she contributes her extensive knowledge and innovative strategies to drive growth and success in the fine wine sector.
Each Sunday, find Polly online as she hosts Headtraining, a free video series dedicated to the needs of the wine industry.
Steven Spurrier served as Honorary President to Areni Global. Spurrier was an example of passion and dedication to Fine Wine, shaping conversations and championing talents. His journey to Fine Wine – beginning in 1964 when he joined the London School of Economics wine club – brought him through successful ventures, and has helped to define Fine Wine as we know it today. His most famous adventure of all was the organisation of the Judgement of Paris in 1976, disrupting the international fine wine balance. We are grateful for Steven Spurrier’s deep contribution to the fine wine world, as well as the guidance and support that he provided to Areni Global during its formative years.