Our Team

At Crush we work with people who are excellent in their own field. We all have our own talents to create the best team.  We are very fortunate to have found so many amazing people to work with as well as creating great long-term partners from around the globe.


The producers we chose to work with either own all of their own vineyards or have long-term contracts with their growers. They are passionate, innovative and forward thinking in their approach to winemaking and this control from vineyard to bottle is absolutely essential in producing wines of high quality and unerring consistency. We regularly work alongside these skillful winemakers in the vineyards and wineries to create something extra special: an exciting new blend perhaps, or a wine that completely breaks the mould, or a wine tailor made for a particular market.


Here’s an individual introduction to all of our regulars:

Chris Ellis

Chris Ellis

 Managing Director

Chris Ellis founded Crush Wines after twenty-five years in the wine industry. Previously he has worked as Export Director for a large French wine producer and was a founder shareholder of Western Wines. He has also consulted to a number of vineyards, wine producers, distributors and retailers. Chris was at the forefront of the retail wine revolution and has been heavily involved in both production and sales and marketing. He created, sourced and developed brands such as Kumala and Isla Negra and was the first person to bring in brands such as Cono Sur to the European Market.

Edward Vellacott

Edward Vellacott

Commercial Manager

English by birth, Edward was brought up in the South of France from the age of nine.  After completing his French Baccalaureate he returned to the UK to study Management and Spanish at the University of Leeds, the highlight of which was spending a year working in the export division of a Spanish winery in Madrid.  Edward’s trustworthy personality allied with his interpersonal and communication skills continuously help him build strong cross-cultural relationships. He is currently completing his WSET Level 3 Diploma.

Helen Day - Crush Wines

Helen Day

Financial Controller

Helen is the heart of our business, she holds the purse strings and heads up the finance team! Helen has always had an interest in wine and has a passion for French wine in particular. Since becoming part of the Crush team, Helen has been able to pursue this passion and further her wine knowledge. She passed her WSET Advanced certificate with Merit.

Screenshot 2021-08-13 at 17.15.59

Olly Hallwoth

International Sales Executive


Olly is a keen sportsman, wine enthusiast and Francophile. Having enjoyed a successful rugby career in his early youth, Olly’s two passions were realised when at 19, he was offered a semi-professional rugby contract in the South of France. Unable to continue due to injury, Olly went on to study French at University, completing a placement year at the University of Bordeaux allowing him to improve his linguistic skills and wine knowledge. Prior to joining Crush, Olly was responsible for the Sales & Marketing for a 28 –  hectare organic wine producer in the Languedoc. Self-motivated with a friendly persona, Olly thrives on a challenge and enjoys travel and meeting new people. He is currently studying for his WSET level three.


Claudia Bastiaensen

Regional Export Manager

Claudia is native Dutch and has international work experience in both the drinks industry and luxury goods. She developed her olfactory skills while working at perfume houses such as Dior. She then moved to the drinks business and worked for Heineken and Vranken-Pommery in different sales and marketing roles. Claudia’s passion for wine and fluency in the French language, comes from her 7-year stay in Paris. Claudia has her WSET Diploma and owns her own wine tasting and education business in London.


Linda Ellis

Office Manager

Linda makes sure our office is perfect. Along with Helen she helps keep us all in check, ensuring the regular influx of samples and deliveries are logged and processed. Linda organises our regular QC tastings and takes great pleasure in hosting growers and winemakers.

Sasha Howard

Sasha Howard

Portfolio Consultant

Sasha is our Portfolio Consultant, she is a Mandarin speaker living in London but has lived in China on and off since 2008. After graduating from university with a degree in Chinese language and culture she embarked on a career which fed her interest in the growing relationship between the UK and China.

Her passions are writing travel articles for Chinese publications and discovering new culinary hot spots in London.

WhatsApp Image 2021-01-19 at 09.05.49 (1)

Shako Safari

Marketing Assistant

Shako is our multilingual Sales and Marketing Assistant. She is passionate about marketing and has recently achieved a master’s degree in International Public Relations at Cardiff University which opened her doors to the marketing industry. She speaks five different languages and loves having a delightful chat with local people. Her knowledge and passion for wine go back to her time in Italy, where she grew up and spent most of her time.