Entrepreneur tastes success after pivoting his wine tasting business during pandemic

Tom Newbold, founder of Tomelier Wine Tastings

A Warwickshire man who turned his back on a career in law to set up his own wine tasting business just before the pandemic struck has unveiled plans for expansion ahead of his third anniversary.

Tom Newbold was forced to reinvent his fledgling wine tasting business when Covid-19 put a sudden halt to all face-to-face events in March 2020.

After deciding to pivot the in-person business model, he introduced virtual tasting packs, the success of which lead to the virtual offering now making up around a third of Tomelier’s total revenue.

He said: “After working in law for ten years, I started to fall out of love with the industry and specifically my long commute. I love wine but there is so much choice out there and so many confusing labels, it can be really daunting for consumers. From this came the idea of a tasting company where I could introduce people to different styles of wine and using my knowledge explain to them why or why not they worked for their palate.”

Tom, from Rugby, is now recruiting other wine experts to help build his brand beyond the Midlands and offer more face to face tastings UK-wide. As he approaches Tomelier’s third anniversary, Tom has recruited wine professionals to offer tastings in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and is on the lookout for someone in the north of the country.

The bespoke virtual tastings, delivering airtight wine pouches by post, have proved popular with corporate clients who can involve teams of colleagues scattered across the country.

Tom added: “Whilst the pandemic has clearly been horrific for so many people, it has forced us a business to adapt and think outside the box, and I don’t think we would have ever developed the virtual tasting side of the business if we hadn’t had to experience lockdown. With everyone shut up inside this proved very popular and we were incredibly busy throughout the period of the pandemic.”