Learn about wine with Newcastle expert
PUBLISHED: 12:56 22 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:49 20 February 2013
Learning about wine doesn't have to be a serious business, says a man who knows
Chris Powell knows a lot about wine. And hes been teaching other people about wine for 10 years. But he doesnt like to be called a wine expert.
Actually Im a businessman. I love the teaching side and I just like spreading the word. But wine expert? I just dont like the phrase.
Chris, a youthful looking 54 (anything to do with all that wine?), actually started working life as a civil engineer. Then he took a year out and did an MBA at Durham university.
I couldnt decide what I wanted to do after that. I really loved cookery, and I knew I wanted to do something with food and drink. I went to do a cookery course and then worked for the wine store Oddbins.
His research into the food and restaurant business made his decision for him. It looked like very hard work, and I wasnt sure it was for me.
But while I was at Oddbins lots of people would come in and ask about wine courses and wine tastings. I really developed an interested and it appeared that there might be a market in teaching people about wine.
There certainly was. He advertised, and later set up his website. Now Chris, who lives in Jesmond in Newcastle, and whose Newcastle Wine School is in Friars Street, has 3,000 clients on his books and a variety of courses from which to choose.
My time at Oddbins taught me the basics. But I also went on Wines and Spirits Educational Trust courses to learn more and visited different wine regions when I went on holiday. So as my knowledge grew, so did the business.
So what do people want to learn from a wine course?
Many people just want to taste a lot of wine. They may know they like a certain style of wine but they want to know more about it, what it is they like about it and why those wines taste the way they do.
And others may just come for the social aspect. They like tasting a number of wines in a friendly atmosphere.
Courses run continuously. There are introductory courses, courses on special wines and wine regions, and single event wine tastings.
For instance the 10-week Introductory World of Wine Course is structured as a practical introduction to the world of wine. It is designed specifically for people who enjoy wine and would like to learn more about it and you dont need any previous experience.
Theres also a Saturday wine course, which includes Champagne and lunch.
And this month, for the first time a tasting specially for Mothers Day - a one hour tutored wine tasting of a range of four Roses from around the world, including Rose Champagne.
Chris says this tasting would have been unheard of ten years ago, but
things are changing rapidly. Rose has thrown off its tardy image, and sales of the pink stuff are soaring (30-35% year on year increase).
He said: Learning about wine doesnt have to be a serious business - its as much about socialising, enjoying new company and learning in a friendly environment.
The Newcastle Wine School seems to have found a perfect blend.
Newcastle Wine School, telephone
0191 2818045 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.