What were you doing before you started Norfolk Wine School?
I spent my early career in the wine industry followed by working as marketing controller and then marketing consultant for various branded food businesses.
Where is the wine school based – who do you collaborate with?
Norfolk Wine School is based in Norwich and we hold tastings and events in the city and across the county. We work closely with our venues and local independent and specialist wine retailers. Recently we have started to work more closely with local vineyards.
Can you tell us how the Wine School works?
Most consumers find wine complicated. There are lots of different grape varieties, different countries, regions and styles but that’s what makes wine interesting. We teach our guests how to taste wine and understand what wines they like and why, which gives them the confidence to experiment and try different wines from the huge range of wines available.
Can you describe the range of courses wine lovers can go on?
We offer a range of courses including our Evening Introduction to Wine Tastings and our popular 8-Week World of Wine Course which are both fun and informative. We also run professional WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) courses suitable for wine industry and hospitality professionals as well as amateur enthusiasts.
And what about your workshops and tastings?
Our food and wine workshops are practical and fun sessions that teach guests how to make amazing food and wine pairings. Our themed evening tastings are a great way for guests to explore the wines of a particular country or region in a little more depth.
Does one have to be a wine connoisseur to attend your courses?
No, absolutely not. We have courses suitable for everybody, from complete beginners to those who want to develop their existing wine knowledge. There’s no wine snobbery at the wine school!
How does food feature on your courses? Are you doing more food and wine pairings these days?
Yes, some of our courses include food. We are expanding our range of themed food and wine evenings that take popular cuisines, such as Spanish tapas, and match each dish with delicious wines.
How do the WSET and the new BPET training courses work?
Our WSET and BPET (Beer Professional Education Training) courses are designed to support the local drinks sector in educating and developing staff to ensure the industry has people with the right skills available locally to help grow their businesses. The courses are all available to book online and run throughout the year.
Any more future plans?
As well as our professional beer training courses we’ve recently launched consumer beer tastings as the craft beer movement continues to re-shape the beer industry and fuels consumer demand for beer education. We are currently assessing demand for local Spirits Education with a view to introducing WSET Spirits courses later this year.
How might becoming a member of Proudly Norfolk Food and Drink help you?
We’re excited about the opportunities being a member will create. Many of our events feature local wines and local cheeses and we are looking to grow our business with fellow members in the hope they will help Norfolk Wine School continue to grow and flourish.
Published in Feast issue 34 – March 2019