Toasting the nationwide triumph of 25 wine schools

April 2016

Huge congratulations to our client Chris Powell who has scooped a top wine industry award in recognition of the national success of his rapidly-expanding franchise network.

Chris, founder of - the UK’s leading independent wine education network - has been presented with ‘Riedel WSET (Wine and Spirits Education Trust) Educator of the Year Award’ for the outstanding performance of his company, which consists of 25 franchised wine schools from Glasgow to the south coast of England.

The award marks 16 years since Chris set up the original Wine School in Newcastle to provide independent, relaxed and fun wine tasting sessions, professional WSET wine courses and private wine tasting for corporate entertainment.

The original concept proved to be so successful that Chris decided to replicate the business model across other city locations, and enlisted Uniquethinking's support to help launch a series of wine school franchises across England and Scotland.

We've since worked in partnership with to successfully launch 25 unit franchises. With a growing customer list, currently more than 60,000 strong, Local Wine School is the fastest-growing network of wine schools anywhere in the world.

Each franchise is run by local, WSET qualified business people with a passion for sharing their love of wine with others, and there is a strong focus on forming links with local suppliers so that each school develops its own identity and community connections. The original Newcastle Wine School still operates from Blackfriars Restaurant and offers a wide variety of popular courses and tastings.

We’ve been delighted to work with Chris from the very early stages of, and to see his business flourish over the years, during which time we’ve liaised with each of his franchisees and a wide range of media contacts right across the UK.

Chris will continue to open further franchises in key UK locations with our continued support - and has appointed a business development manager in Canada to help him search for aspiring wine school owners overseas. 

Well done Chris - cheers! 

Pictured - left to right - Chris Powell, owner of Local Wine School, and Sam Hook, managing director of Uniquethinking.

For further information about the Local Wine School network, visit, call 0191 2818045 or 07815 768940, or email

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