Katie Exton

2019 profile

Co-owner and wine buyer – Lorne

Katie Exton began her career helping at English winery Breaky Bottom, followed by a stint at Majestic Wines. For more than 10 years she has worked as a sommelier in London, as head sommelier at Chez Bruce and The River Café. In 2017 she opened her own restaurant, Lorne, with chef Peter Hall, formerly of The Square.

Described as a “consummate professional with a sense of fun, contagious love for wine and an ability to explain it to almost anyone” by Wine List Confidential content editor Douglas Blyde, at Lorne, Exton offers a list that is fresh, balanced, affordable and highly drinkable. More than 50 of the bottles on offer cost £40 or less. Exton didn’t so much fall as dive head-first into the wine industry.

While a staffer at Majestic, the rising star met Terry Threlfall, then-head sommelier of chef Bruce Pool’s Michelin-starred Chez Bruce, in Wandsworth. It was Threlfall, she says, “who is really responsible for my early career as a sommelier”. She went on to work for Chez Bruce for seven years, until moving on to work for The River Cafe, and later The Square, where she met her current business partner, Peter Hall. The first bottle she fell in love with was a 1999 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Pucelles – which can fetch upwards of £300 per bottle – that she “could’ve smelled for days”.

For Exton, the true joy of being a sommelier comes from “visiting producers, seeing the vineyards, hearing their stories and then coming back to Lorne and sharing all that I’ve learned with our guests.” With such a need to travel and explore, she said that the most important thing she has learned on the job is to always take photos, as “your memory isn’t as good as you think”.

Nevertheless, Exton describes Lorne’s wine list as “quite personal”, shedding some light on the bond she has forged, not only with co-owner Hall and manager Gianluca Bono, but also the winemakers and people behind the bottles she serves.


Leave your reply

Most Recent Stories

Amuse-bouches: The latest restaurant news bites

In restaurant news: a High Court hospitality case against the government gets expedited, UK restaurant chain Six by Nico is accused of staff mistreatment, and chef Skye Gyngell opens a farm shop.  

New online grower Champagne retailer and wine club targets growth

Sip Champagnes, a new online retailer and wine club championing grower and small-scale Champagne producers, wants to target the UK on-trade and expand into Europe.

HK bar industry agrees to government proposal in exchange for reopening

The Hong Kong bar industry has agreed to accept the proposal from the government to ask patrons to keep their masks on and use a straw to drink alcohol if it will mean venues can reopen. 

Italian restaurant targeted by US sanctions in case of mistaken identity

An Italian restaurant found itself at the mercy of one of former US President Donald Trump's last sanctions after it was wrongly identified as being linked to a Venezuelan oil trafficker. 

California Wine Institute launches food and wine competition

The California Wine Institute has launched a new competition this month called Cook with California, which aims to show how well wines from the US state pair with British produce. 

Most Recent Stories

Amuse-bouches: The latest restaurant news bites

In restaurant news: a High Court hospitality case against the government gets expedited, UK restaurant chain Six by Nico is accused of staff mistreatment, and chef Skye Gyngell opens a farm shop.  

New online grower Champagne retailer and wine club targets growth

Sip Champagnes, a new online retailer and wine club championing grower and small-scale Champagne producers, wants to target the UK on-trade and expand into Europe.

HK bar industry agrees to government proposal in exchange for reopening

The Hong Kong bar industry has agreed to accept the proposal from the government to ask patrons to keep their masks on and use a straw to drink alcohol if it will mean venues can reopen. 

Italian restaurant targeted by US sanctions in case of mistaken identity

An Italian restaurant found itself at the mercy of one of former US President Donald Trump's last sanctions after it was wrongly identified as being linked to a Venezuelan oil trafficker. 

California Wine Institute launches food and wine competition

The California Wine Institute has launched a new competition this month called Cook with California, which aims to show how well wines from the US state pair with British produce.