A NEWCASTLE wine school has been chosen by a finalist in this year’s The Apprentice to train his key staff.
Tom Gearing, who was runner-up in the latest series of the hit BBC show, is sending workers from his wine investment company Cult Wines to localwineschool.com.
They are studying for professional Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) qualifications via the business, which is the UK’s only network of independent wine schools. It also organises wine tastings and corporate entertainment.
Since linking up with localwineschool, Gearing’s business has grown from the £1.25m turnover before filming on The Apprentice started to some £3.5m now.
He said: “I chose localwineschool.com because of its reputation for no-nonsense, fun wine education and its record of success steering students through the WSET courses.
“My expertise is in French wines, but I learned a lot about wines from New World countries like California, Chile and Argentina, which I had never really focused on before.”
Jesmond-based Chris Powell set up the first branch of localwineschool.com at Blackfriars Restaurant in Newcastle four years ago and has grown it into a 12-string national chain of franchises.
Powell said: “It’s been a pleasure to help a well recognised face like Tom learn more about wine and we wish him every success in his new venture.
“Since we opened our first wine school franchise, there has been an explosion of interest in learning about wine.
“I think it’s our relaxed style which focuses on tasting the wines that encourages people to try our courses.”