The Solent Wine Experience was set up to let wine enthusiasts increase their understanding of wine, to discover where the wine comes from, the regions, the people who make it and how it is made. To discover their culture and their lives and what it means to them.
I have been in the wine trade for almost 30 years and it is a subject that you can always learn something new. There is a story behind every wine and one of the reasons why I set up The Solent Wine Experience was to bring that story to like minded individuals so they could involve themselves more with the process and the experience. This was done through wine courses, tasting events and lectures. The UK is the second largest importer of wine in the world and as a country we spend around £5 billion on wine each year, so its a good idea to learn more about it. You wouldn't spent £30000 on a new car without learning something about it first. This gives you the confidence to buy it knowing you will enjoy the experience.
'Many thanks for the tasting yesterday evening. All the group enjoyed the informal friendly approach and appreciated the answers to our varied list of questions. It was clear you have a wide knowledge of the subject and real experience in many aspects of the wine industry'
Ed Jenner MBE
In 2016 I set up VIN Wine Merchants which was phase 2 of my business. This was the tasting and sales side of wine business so wine enthusiasts could experience for themselves and to bring good quality wines from smaller producers, unknown regions and unknown grape varieties. There are around 10,000 different grape varieties that are used to make wine however we only see a tiny fraction of that on our shelves. Its time to explore and discover new wines and different regions.
120 year old vines (Carignan variety) in the Languedoc region.
I am now looking to launch phase 3 which is the tourism side of the business. Wine tourism is booming at the moment with an average increase year on year of 6%. Where as a few years ago it was really only aimed at the older clientele its now attracting younger people alongside the older generation. Wine is now available to the masses and this younger generation have a healthy interest in wine and want to learn more about it. More and more vineyards are aiming at the tourism arena with restaurants, tea rooms, museums, guided tours and tastings and talks. For 3 years I was working on this side of the business at Wickham Vineyard in Hampshire. We were running guided tours pretty much every weekend and two or three nights during the week in the summer. Its not just a summer activity either, we were busy pretty much all year round. The thing about vineyards is that there is always something to see with the vine. The work in the vineyard is all year round so its just as interesting during the autumn and winter months as it is during the spring and summer months.
Wine tourism is good for the producers in many ways. It helps with sales and brand awareness, particularly important for the smaller growers. Its good for social responsibility as people gain more respect for the product and increases responsible drinking habits. Its also a way of engaging the tourists with the work ethics, the lifestyle and the culture of the regions and its people. Its beneficial for the tourists too. Its an educational tool. Its away of discovering the work that goes into the production of something they enjoy and its an experience, not just the wine but the country and the region.
My vision is to bring the wine regions, the producers, their cultures and lifestyles to life. To let wine enthusiasts experience this product they love, to let them discover the people involved and to meet like minded wine enthusiasts creating a social and friendly environment and lets face it, have a great time.
The funds raised will simply go into organising the trips. Upfront payments will be required for coach operators, flights and accommodation. There will be marketing costs in order to promote the trips as well as costs incurred while travelling.
I would like to thank you for reading my story and for your donations. Its a great chance to be part of a business which is already growing slowly but can now get to the next level.