Created in 2004 by wine lovers Mark and Claire Hallett, Grape Escapes is a specialist wine tour operator offering a broad selection of holidays and trips to the premium European wine regions, principally in France. From our flagship Premium tours to the popular regions of Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy to bespoke self-drive circuits and birthday weekends, our expertise is in creating perfect trips for individuals, couples, groups or companies. Grape Escapes offers you the flexibility to arrange your perfect holiday.
We have experienced great success over the last few years, which has allowed us to spread our wings and develop our existing tours in France and also to start working with exciting new regions such as Porto, Rioja in Spain and Tuscany in Italy.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our existing Grape Escapers, for whom we have been delighted to arrange trips and whose feedback has been invaluable in perfecting the quality of the tours. We have a large number of clients who return to us year on year and many more come through recommendations. The reason that we attract such loyalty from customers is that not only do we arrange excellent trips, we also pride ourselves on giving superb customer service.
We are a small team of eight passionate, well-travelled individuals who collectively believe that there is no substitute for knowledge and experience. This enables us to deliver a truly personal service to our customers.
Combining his passions for both wine and travel, Grape Escapes was Mark’s brainchild and he is involved in every aspect of the business. Prior to starting Grape Escapes, Mark was European Financial Controller for a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company. When not at work, Mark enjoys spending time with his wife and children and supporting the leadership of youth work at his local church. A perfect day would include preparing a gastronomic meal for friends with a glass in hand (Champagne – of course).
Claire has been married to Mark for 15 years and together with Mark has been involved in Grape Escapes from inception. Claire enjoys a roving brief covering everything from spearheading major projects to ensuring consistency in our marketing communications. Prior to having children, Claire’s background was in the charity finance sector where she worked as Finance Director / Financial Controller for several national charities. Her passion for the not for profit sector remains and she continues to support her church and local school when not in the office or at home with their three children.
Jenna graduated from Kings College London with a degree in French Studies and a passion for the country and the language. Having lived in France for two years and survived life at Disneyland Paris (which we don’t hold against her), she decided that the world of travel was for her and she has worked at Grape Escapes ever since. Jenna has travelled extensively in France and after visiting Champagne shortly after joining Grape Escapes, has adopted Champagne as her favourite region. Bubbly and bilingual, Jenna sources and develops our tours around Europe and heads up the sales team.
Nicola joined the Grape Escapes team in 2009 and is a valuable asset to the business. In addition to looking after the finances for Grape Escapes, she also oversees the detailed trip administration for our major corporate clients. Prior to joining Grape Escapes she spent eight years working for a large blue chip company gaining valuable experience and her CIMA professional qualification. Nic is mother to two young children and provides the office with great home made biscuits and tiffin
Having graduated from Cambridge University, Sian has chosen a career in travel to make full use of her language skills. Her Christmas in Guatemala in 2010 enhanced her experience in international travel and this combined with her hyper-efficiency and well-honed administration skills has made her a true asset to the Grape Escapes team.
Paula Holm- Sales Executive
Paula’s travel career started over ten years ago, when she arranged specialist holidays to Australia & New Zealand for clients from across the globe. A devoted mother to three children, she works part-time at Grape Escapes and provides great sales advice to customers. A bright and enthusiastic member of the team, Paula particularly enjoys sharing her knowledge of our tours with customers.
Amy Carter- Summer Administrator
Amy is a valuable and enthusiastic part of the Grape Escapes team, assisting us with the increased administration load during the peak travel months when she is back from her studies at Nottingham University