Joelle Thomson

Writer, author, journalist

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Friday drinks with... Puneet Dhall

Puneet Dhall founded and owns the wine import and distribution company, Dhall & Nash, with Brandon Nash. The pair are based in different cities and have grown their company from a two person band to one with staff in three cities and a diverse range of brands from the big buttery Bogle Chardonnays to Billecart Salmon Champagne alongside New Zealand brands, Easthope and De La Terre from Hawke's Bay, among others. 

Dhall changed his life's plan from a corporate career into wine relatively early on and believes that the most free person on Earth is a small scale farmer who can live self sustainably off their land. 

This is his story.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Delivering my first son in the hallway at home. As my partner and I sat in the hallway with our newborn at 10:30am on a winter’s morning, high on life and after one hell of an experience, I reached for the closest bottle of wine - a 2015 Red Pommard from Burgundy - possibly the most delicious wine I have ever drunk.

What is your favourite thing about wine?

That it comes from the Earth, is as old as Methusaleh, and that the conversion of grape juice to wine is a completely natural (God given?) process.

Do you have a most treasured wine? 

In my early 20s I really started getting switched onto wine and used to catch up with a very close friend near her house in Fulham in an old pub near her house, The Atlas. Pubs in the area had started going gastro - a typical ye oldie pub - but with a bit more upmarket food and wine offerings. This one always had a Bordeaux Medoc wine that was very Cabernet dominant on the list and within our price budget. The label would vary from month to month but the house style was always consistent. We would talk about life and friendship - one bottle would sink into a second and life seemed endless at that time - I treasured those wines.

When and where are you at your happiest?

This morning.

What do you most dislike in wine? 

Big corporations and billionaires who buy wineries for profit only or for status symbols, respectively, in their unholy pursuit to be the Masters of Mankind.

The small farmer is the most free person on Earth. Give a small farmer some seeds, a dash of sunlight, a splash of water and they can live self sustainably off their small piece of land on Mother Earth. We should all seek to be the small farmer for s/he is the real Master of Mankind.

What is your greatest fear?

No tomorrows for my children.

What is your greatest extravagance?

That extra glass of wine because the meal is so amazing.

What is your greatest regret? 

That life is so short.

What talent would you most like to have? 

Rockstar of course. An air guitar in my room was just not enough, especially when I heard that Freddie Mercury was born near Heathrow airport very close to me. No one from those parts was supposed to be anything more than a baggage handler.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Enforced solitude.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

That would be greatly appreciated.

What is your favourite meal? 

Roti and daal - a simple person’s meal but if you gave me a glass Of Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve with it, that would be the icing on the cake.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing what would it be?

Me.