"I don't have a single favourite wine, but if it was a desert island and it was 12 bottles, there would be a bottle of Gran Reserva Rioja, a bottle of white Burgundy; there'd be a bottle of Chateau d'Yquem, there'd be a bottle of 63 vintage port," says Mr Russell with evident relish.
"If somebody said you've got a week to live I know what I'd be drinking for the rest of that week."
The son of a Glasgow post office worker, Mr Russell has squirrelled away a few bottles of his favourite vintage of the sweet white Chateau d'Yqeum at £200 a pop. But then he has had more opportunities than most people to develop and indulge an informed love of the grape.
Aged 58, Mr Russell has spent the whole of his 37-year working career to date in the drinks distribution arm of the empire built by the entrepreneurial Sandy Bulloch, whose interests also include the Loch Lomond Distillery whisky business.
For the past seven years, Mr Russell has been managing director of the William Morton business, which supplies a range of drinks to hotels and bars across the length and breadth of Scotland.
The length of service is remarkable in an age when one-company men and women are few and far between.
Mr Russell stresses that his career has involved a wide range of challenges, extending from helping with deliveries in his early days to dealing with the owners of prestigious brands that Morton has acted for, like Budweiser. "Every single thing that has to be done in that business I've done," he insists.
A constant, however, has been his enjoyment of the work involved in an industry in which success requires having a cool head capable of dealing with complex logistical and financial questions and a passion for the product.
"I would have hated to be in a business that sold nuts and bolts. You can't have that much affection for the product, I don't think, when it's nuts and bolts.
"Don't get me wrong, if it makes you money then it makes you money, but it's nice to be involved in a business where you can relate to the product."
"I've certainly enjoyed my fair share of," continues Mr Russell, who pauses before adding: "the product."
Mr Russell, who started as an accountant fresh from the Glasgow Technical College in 1975, has seen big changes in the industry.
He notes with a tone of regret that the names of many whiskies have disappeared.
The distribution business has evolved to focus on the on-trade of bars, hotels and the like after finding there was little mileage in trying to compete with cash and carry operators for the off-trade.
In recent years, William Morton has altered its approach in response to changing fashions and commercial pressures.
"There's been a greater focus on wine. If I think back to whenever I came into the business ... the wines we would have sold would be things like Blue Nun, Black Tower, Liebfraumilch, Lambrusco, not particularly sophisticated. But there's been an explosion in wine over the years."
Mr Russell believes the company is well placed to cash in on the increasing sophistication of Scottish consumers.
William Morton significantly increased its presence in the wine trade through the acquisition of Hamish Martin's Inverarity Vaults business in a deal that was completed a year ago.
The impetus for the deal came at least partly as a result of the decisions made by a big brewer.
Mr Russell offers a sobering insight into the pitfalls of working with brand owners.
"From the early 1970s to just two years ago we would probably always have been an agent for a beer brand – Budweiser, Miller Draft, Corona. These are brands that we helped to develop in Scotland ... but somebody else owns them and somebody else eventually wants to do something different with those brands and for me two years ago was the final straw when Grupo Modelo, who own Corona, decided they wanted to get into bed with Molson Coors and took away our distribution.
"I thought, we're not going to waste our time trying to develop anybody else's beer brands. So, totally and utterly, the focus is on developing our own business and fundamentally on the wine side, which was why I was keen on Inverarity."
Mr Russell became aware of the then Lanarkshire-based firm, which supplies all the Michelin-starred restaurants in Scotland, after enjoying a bottle of wine they supplied to a restaurant where he ate.
"When Corona decided they weren't going to renew our contract, that focused the mind and at that point I was quite determined.
"Eventually we met Hamish [Martin] and Hamish was agreeable in principle and Hamish and I got on extremely well. We did the deal by all accounts quickly."
Mr Russell is sure the undisclosed amount Morton paid for Inverarity was money well spent. "Inverarity is a fantastic company. We sold almost as much wine, but they had a far better reputation in the licensed trade and I think that fundamentally they were better at selling wine than we were."
Morton waited six months to get the structure of the enlarged business and wine list right before integrating the two operations on its Pollokshaws site, with the loss of three administrative jobs. The business has been rebranded Inverarity Morton.
"Ruthless is not a word you can apply to me because I just wasn't," insists Mr Russell.
"We tried to be compassionate towards the people down at Symington, I wanted everybody to feel as good as humanly possible about this."
The father-of-two adds: "A few jobs were lost but since then we have had to take on four people in Pollokshaws. We are busy."
Mr Russell expects Inverarity Morton to achieve turnover of £50m plus this year. That compares with £46m for Morton in the year to September 2010. Integration and rebranding costs will weigh on the bottom line this year, but he is confident earnings will increase in 2013.
The company is doing a roaring trade, despite the fragile state of the economy.
"A Monday in our office is like December used to be, it's quite incredible," enthuses Mr Russell.
A shareholder in Inverarity Morton, Mr Russell is confident enough about the company's prospects to be prepared to consider further acquisitions. These might include a raid south of the Border.
Sandy Bulloch has shown his willingness to support expansion moves. Mr Russell makes the entrepreneurial 85-year-old and his family sound like the ideal owners.
"I've got a great family that control the business. Sandy and the family have never, ever interfered with the business."
With that in mind, Mr Russell is happy to contemplate the prospect of remaining a one-company man. "I will never give in that's for sure. If my time with the company comes to an end it will be because either I've died or the business has been moved on."