James Payne

James Payne

13th May 2024

It’s approaching 30 years since James first became a sommelier, working at Le Pont de la Tour in London. Head sommelier posts in notable Michelin starred establishments followed, including one in the Roussillon, France. James’ passion is in explaining the story behind a wine, and how this influences its flavour profile and why it works to enhance a dish, especially during the tasting menu experience in the Library. We are delighted that James has made Douneside his work home for the last 5 years, as not only do our guests benefit from his unmatched approach to hospitality, but as a team we are always learning something new too (and our wine knowledge has consistently grown since James joined the team!).
A keen runner, hill walker and home cook, James, his wife Sally and son Edward continue to discover the best of Scotland.

Guest recommendation:
Get down to breakfast nice and early and then head out for a day walking around Bennachie hill. Take in Craigievar Castle on the way, and if your appetite gets the better of you after enjoying the views from the top of Mither Tap, call in to The Old Post Office at Chapel of Garioch for a restorative snack. Dinner back at Douneside is well and truly deserved after this day out.