From wine to cycling holidays and even a spell running a department store, Alan Holmes has packed a lot into his career, as he tells Peter Jackson.
Alan Holmes greets me at the entrance to the reception area of Durham’s Ramside Hall Hotel where we conduct this interview. We last met some years ago and it strikes me how little – if at all – he has aged. He looks a good decade younger than his 62 years.
He reminds me that one of his current duties is as a judge for the Local Business Accelerator competition organised by newspapers throughout the UK including The Journal. Not that there’s anything of the Dragon about him. In fact he is quietly spoken and thoughtful – more academic than entrepreneur. This is deceptive because in fact he has a highly impressive business CV with a range of interests which take him the best part of a quarter of an hour to catalogue.
He co-founded the business consultancy Wood Holmes and, before he sold it, had helped build it up to an annual turnover of £1.2m with 18 employees.
Something that is clearly a labour of love now is his directorship of, and shareholding in, Portovino, a wine importing business he set up three years ago. It imports wine, largely from Portugal, the seventh largest wine producer in the world. He is a self-confessed wine buff and, using his extensive business contacts, introduces Portuguese wine to the corporate market.
He is non-executive chairman and a shareholder in the Newcastle-based cycling holiday company Saddle Skedaddle. He is also a director of the social enterprise the Cycle Hub in Ouseburn where Saddle Skedaddle is based. The Cycle Hub, which has a shop, café, repair workshop and bike hire, has been set up to promote and facilitate cycling.
To read in more detail about Alan’s career, click here!