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Rowan Gormley profile of a Wine Entrepreneur

This show was published 12 August 2011


Rowan Gormley is the founder of Naked Wines. In this first interview we hear how he started out at a private equity firm where he eventually met Richard Branson and launched Virgin Money and Virgin Wines.

Rowan is a South African and came to the UK 23 years ago as a qualified chartered accountant. He began work at a private equity firm and after 7 years there met Richard Branson. He was responsible for finding businesses for Virgin to get into and Rowan suggested financial services which led to the launch of Virgin Money. While working for Virgin Rowan set up a South African wine club which had 500 members but his day job at Virgin took priority. We hear how he convinced Richard that an internet wine business might work under the Virgin brand and the business he'd started up in 1999 called Orgasmic Wines became Virgin Wines. After challenging times Virgin Wines was eventually sold to Laithwaites/Direct Wines. In 2008 Rowan and a few others parted company with Direct Wines and set up Naked Wines with investment from WIV,a German company, who own 60%. All employees at Naked Wines are shareholders and make up the remaining 40%.


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The UK Wine Show is sponsored by ThirtyFifty. Our team of wine tasters are busy entertaining and educating UK consumers to help them get the most out of wine.


The music used for the UK Wine Show is Griffes de Jingle 1 by Marcel de la Jartèle and Silence by Etoile Noire.

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