Sep 05 2013

Durham Cricket Chief is turning Ashes into Wine


David Harker and Chris Powell.

David Harker, the chief executive of Durham County Cricket Club (DCCC) and host to the recent victorious England Ashes side, is embarking on another exciting venture as the new owner of a North East wine school in the UK’s largest wine education network.

David, a long term wine enthusiast, has purchased Newcastle Wine School from Chris Powell, a Jesmond businessman who has built a successful national wine education franchise network under the brand name

Chris is now focused on developing the network further in the UK, and working with UK Trade and Investments (UKTI) to find suitable business partners who share his vision of ‘wine tasting for everyone’, and can help expand the successful wine education franchise into new markets outside the UK including USA , Europe, and China.

Chris founded the first local wine school in Newcastle in 2000 and soon started to open wine schools in other UK locations. The network now has 13 schools in London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Lancashire, Hertfordshire, Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, Sussex, Hampshire, and is soon to open in Bristol and Glasgow.

David, who has completed his Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Diploma, first met Chris when he signed up for tastings at Newcastle Wine School to help with his studies.

David, who lives in Prudhoe and will continue to be involved in the cricket club, said: “I feel hugely proud to have played a part in the achievements of DCCC, and I felt that this year was the right time to look for a new challenge. When the opportunity arose to turn my passion for wine into a career, it was just too exciting to pass up.

“I would particularly like to develop our specialist corporate wine events service, as I have enjoyed corporate wine tastings in the past and I know there is opportunity for growth in that market. We will also be offering a full range of professional and WSET courses for the committed enthusiast and the North East hospitality sector, and hope to expand to run tastings in Hexham and Durham. ”

Newcastle Wine School will be appearing at the Assembly Rooms in Newcastle on September 8 for the Newcastle Wine Fair, as part of EAT NewcastleGateshead.

To book tickets, visit

The next eight-week World of Wine course at Newcastle Wine School begins on Tuesday September 10 at Blackfriars Restaurant as a practical introduction to wine, which involves tasting wines from the world’s major wine regions.
Email or call David on 0191 7042161.

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