When I think about the perfect gift for a wine lover, I think about a wine cellar, aka the bomb diggity!

However, if you’re looking for a more unique and personal gift idea, you can’t go wrong with a Vineyard Tour led by a sommelier.

Meet Charlie Pattinson, the brainchild behind the highly successful business, Vineyard Tours, and wine lover extraordinaire. In celebration of his love for all things wine, WOW Events have teamed up with Charlie to bring you an exclusive interview with the man himself.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Charlie Pattinson. I was born in England, raised in Australia, and I now live in France. I have always been passionate about wine and the lifestyle surrounding it, so it was only a matter of time before I got the entrepreneurial bug.

I started my business, Vineyard Tours, in 2011. I really wanted to create a space that explored wine from a different perspective. People often think about wine being the opposite of being active or athletic, but to me it’s all about having a good time!

I try to bring a giggle to everyone that reads my blog and watches my videos, and I love nothing more than sending my clients on a wine adventure, whether it’s in the business world or with a significant other.

What made you decide to start a business in the wine industry?

I have always been fortunate enough to be able to try a range of different wines, and I’ve always respected the industry and the work that goes into making the perfect bottle. It wasn’t something that I had ever considered doing, but after forming a company with my brother, Rory, we brainstormed a lot of different ventures and this was one that stood out to us. Not only is it interesting and creative, but it’s something that we are passionate about.

Did you always foresee this as a career?

Not really. We started the company with the intention of running it as a side interest and eventually doing something more traditional. We were aiming for an operation that catered for 1-3 people, with myself doing the lion’s share of the work. In fact, when we first started, it was just the two of us, doing everything from sorting bottles to selling them to customers. Now that we’re expanding and are looking to take on more help, it’s taken on a life of its own. We never really imagined that we would be doing this when we were kids, let alone at this stage in our lives.

How would you describe your business?

Vineyard Tours is a curated wine tasting and sightseeing experience that explores an individual vineyard, its varieties, and its master sommelier’s advice on where and how to drink it. In many ways, we are the anti-tourism: we don’t want to take people on mass trips to knock off various vineyards in one spot. That’s not the experience that we want to offer our customers. We want to take the time to get to know each vineyard and its produce, and we don’t want to rush it.

Instead, we try to create a relaxed and secluded atmosphere, as much as possible, where our guests can really let loose and have a good time. For those that really want to get out there and see what all the noise is about, we are more than happy to point them in the right direction. Our aim with this venture is to provide a more personal service, away from the crowds, and that’s what makes it special.

Where do you see your business in 5 years?

I think that in five years, we’ll still be running Vineyard Tours as an independent company. Maybe one day, we’ll even consider opening up a second location in the United Kingdom, where we can offer a completely different experience. As much as we love living in France, the UK is our home country and we’re proud to be representing its wonderful wine industry. For now, though, we’re very happy where we are.

What is your advice for someone interested in the wine industry?

My advice to anyone looking to get into the wine industry would be to learn as much as you can. We certainly didn’t come from a wine background, so it’s been a learning curve for both Rory and I. Luckily, we’ve surrounded ourselves with people who have helped and supported us on this journey and continue to do so. We’re always looking for new people to join our team, so if you think that you have what it takes and are passionate about wine, then get in touch!

You can also find us on social media: @vineyardtours and on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/vineyardtours/