What does it do?
This is a business that mirrors the development of the British palate. The first store opened in north London in 1980, when a bottle of wine on a British dining table was a rarer sight than today. By 1985, there were 13 stores, and the expansion has continued. Today, there are 124 Majestics up and down the country, from Inverness to Exeter, making up the largest chain in the UK and specialising in the sale of wine by the mixed case, direct to the public.

And it's not just cheapish wine for the mass market; a fine wine centre was recently opened in well-heeled St John's Wood in north London, devoted to decidedly un-plonkish bottles costing upwards of £20. The company has also tapped into the booze-cruise sector by opening three warehouses in northern France.

Vital statistics:
The group has recorded profit growth for 11 successive years. Last year, turnover nudged £150m, with profits of more than £10m.

The office:
The HQ is in Watford, and the stores are spread all over the United Kingdom.

Is this you?
About 160 graduates are taken on every year as trainee managers. Any grade and any degree will do - a sign that a flair for the practicalities of management will be more important than high intellect.

The recruitment process:
Application forms, downloadable from the website at www.majestic.co.uk, provide an opportunity for you to demonstrate a thorough understanding of Majestic as a company and also what the role of trainee manager involves. So, mug up before you fill it in. Or why not pop into your nearest Majestic and chat to the staff? Two rounds of interviews lead to job offers for the trainees, all of whom start on the bottom rung at a busy store. That means shelf-filling and driving the delivery van.

But you'll also attend management courses at head office, and learn more about wine-tasting, while studying for the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Advanced Certificate qualification. Many go on to be sponsored to become real wine buffs with the WSET Diploma. It takes between a year and 16 months.

Top dollar?
Who knows whether graduate salaries are majestic? The company is giving nothing away. But you're likely to earn more than the £13,600 being offered to a delivery driver in Darlington, though.

Beam me up Scotty?
After training, graduates usually move into assistant manager roles, with the aim of running a store of their own after three years.

Who's the boss?
Tim How has been chief executive since 1991. Before that, with a BSc from Cambridge University, his early career took him to Rugby Cement, Polaroid and Bejam.

Little known fact:
I bet you thought you'd need a shopping basket to take home blackcurrant, liquorice and chocolate, along with forest fruits, green peppers and menthol. Not so - Majestic's Tunbridge Wells manager, says all these tastes are available in a bottle of Chilean red!

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