Spotlight On...


...Rupert Ellwood

Managing Director Vinopolis


What were you like at school? How would your teachers describe you?

I was different when I started to when I finished. When I started I didn’t listen and chatted a lot and by the time I finished I was hard working and focused. I remember that I always smiled a lot.

Your first job was a Builder’s Merchant’s Rep – when did you realise this was not for you?

I realised after the first month of lugging bricks around in the cold.

What did your parents do?

They were both retailers. My Father had 35 shops all over the North of England called  ‘Ellwood’s Fabrics’ selling Dress making material and soft furnishings.

Is it true that you have done work for the queen?




I heard that you had an incident with a very elderly Great Aunt – tell me more?


I did a wedding for a couple who had a very elderly Great Aunt.  I was instructed to allow the Great Aunt to drink Whisky as that was all she drank.  It was a busy event and at the end when reconciling the drinks I saw that the Great Aunt had consumed most of the bottle.  The couple  (whom I might add our now friends) contacted me after the event to say how please they were.  They did query the amount of Whisky consumed.  When I told them it was mainly down to their Great Aunt they said Ah.  She had apparently passed away the following day – however I was assured that she had been ill for some time.

How on earth do I know which wine to order in a restaurant? Is there any safe bets?

I have 2 tips:

If the house wine is not the cheapest then you know it is good

If there is a sommelier ask their advice. A good one will try and find out your budget and recommend around this, a poor one will just try and sell the most expensive

You are a Pisces – they can be a bit of a mystery. Emotional and sensitive, they'd rather spend time daydreaming than working. They have a strong sense of idealism that shows through in their work. Does this sound like you?

Definitely, excpet for the daydreaming rather than working part

How did you leave your mark when you worked at the National History museum?

We did the first ever rock concert with the Strokes in Central Hall with a 1,000 rockers around the dinosaur!

What was it like doing the BAFTA after show party?

What is amazing is to see the reaction on the faces of the celebrities when they walk in the room. When they are surprised by what we have created for them.





Did you really do the launch of the Honda Formula 1 Earth Car at the museum?

Yes. This was slightly controversial because of the link with carbon and the environment however this particular car had benefits for the environment and so it was ok.

  "What is amazing is to see the reaction on the faces of the celebrities when they walk in the room. When they are surprised by what we have created for them"
-Rupert Ellwood




Describe a typical day in the world of Rupert?

Get woken u pat 7am by my children, get on my bike and cycle 8 miles to work, start work at 8.30am. I always check my e-mails first thing and then have all meetings between 11am and 3pm. Every day is so different and my time is split between managing the business, driving the sales team and developing new Initiatives. Never a dull moment.

What do you love most about your job?

There are two things. Firstly seeing the growth and profits on the bottom line through the efforts of the team. Secondly, the emotional side of the job. I like motivating employees and seeing them succeed. Recently a staff member gave me a bottle of wine for something that I had done for them, that made my day.

What is the hardest thing about this industry?

The hours

Who inspires you in life and in the industry?

My dad is the greatest person that has influenced me and from a business point of view I take my inspiration from leaders of all types of industry. Someone I particularly admire is Adam Crozier the CEO of the Post Office. He has an almost impossible job.

What do your friends/family think of your job?


What is the biggest mistake you ever made at work?

I allowed a chef to serve ham sandwiches to Jewish guests – this did not go down well.

Is it true that you ride 40 kilometres every Saturday morning on your bike?

Yes. I have upped my game. I now do between 60 and 80 kilometres!





What has been your biggest career achievement?

Coming the Vinopolis and managing this business through the recession.

If you could go back in time and give yourself one bit of career advice what would that be?

I stayed at my first employer too long (8 Years!)

What is the most expensive thing you own?

My house

Marmite – love it or hate it?

Hate it

Gurkin or gurkout?


Coke or pepsi?


Favourite chocolate bar?


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Still deciding however for as long as you work you are always working for someone. Even if you are at the top you are working for the bank or your customers. Some people say “I am my own boss” I don’t believe this exists – you are always working for someone



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