Educated in Edinburgh and at Oxford University, Douglas concluded his studies in 1966/67 by attending the Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Southern California, under the Rotary Foundation Fellowship Programme. His business career began at Unilever, followed by two years with Guinness Overseas with responsibility for West Africa; during this time he spent 3 weeks on St Helena island and 6 months as relief Managing Director in Liberia.
In 1974, he entered the industry through Bass Ltd, finally spending ten years at Hedges & Butler marketing many international brands including Dewars, Bacardi rum, Remy Martin, Mateus Rose and the wine portfolio of Baron Philippe de Rothschild. In 1986 he was appointed Managing Director of Baron Philippe de Rothschild (UK) Ltd., a position he held until 2002.
In 1990, he was the founding Director of Paragon Vintners, the joint venture between Gonzalez Byass, Veuve Clicquot and Baron Philippe de Rothschild. He was transferred to the United States as President of Baron Philippe de Rothschild (California) Inc., and Co-CEO of Opus One in 2002, returning to the UK in 2004. His retirement was short-lived, as the C.I.V.B. (Bordeaux Wine Bureau) asked him to become their UK marketing consultant, a post he continues to hold whilst also undertaking other short-term projects. In 2011, he was appointed Chevalier de Merite Agricole for services to French wines. He is married to Pauleen, and has 3 children and six grandchildren.