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About us

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.

Our Mission Statement

To be the world’s premier provider of high quality wine experiences.

To that end,

  • we combine tailor made itineraries with a broad range of flexible packages.
  • we offer authentic and unique opportunities throughout the leading wine regions of Europe.
  • we share our passion, expertise and knowledge with each customer to create unforgettable moments.
  • we provide unrivalled customer service with a friendly and personal approach.

The Team

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.

Mark Hallett

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 Hallett

Claire has been married to Mark for 18 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 Jones

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 working at Disneyland Resort Paris,  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 and marketing team.

Nicola Gatley

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.

Rachel Kozlowski

Rachel joined Grape Escapes as a part of the sales and marketing team in June 2015 and has a degree in Media (Advertising). Having lived and worked abroad, largely in Spain, for the past four years, she has welcomed the opportunity to bring her experience and passion for travel into her work with Grape Escapes. In her spare time, Rachel loves to bake an array of exciting and unusual cakes, and delights us with her latest creations in the office!

Jenny Ball

Having grown up in France, Switzerland and Germany, Jenny has been around serious wine drinkers for most of her life.  She studied French and German at Cambridge University, then spent many years organising tours for classical musicians and conductors. Outside work, her two young children do their best to keep her busy, but she makes sure to fit in as much singing, ballet dancing, reading and involvement with her church family as she can.

Joanna Dupplaw

Joanna re-joined the finance team at Grape Escapes in August 2015 after graduating with a degree in Accounting and Finance.  She is excited to further her career in finance by studying towards an ACCA qualification. In her spare time Jo enjoys spending quality time with family and friends and going on the occasional weekend away.

Justine Even

Justine has joined the product department of Grape Escapes for a 6 month internship. She has a degree in Applied Languages English and Italian and is currently completing a master in Wine Business and Tourism. Having lived and studied in Bordeaux, Justine is a big fan of the city and its wines. She also has a true passion for the UK and the British culture. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with her friends and family, explore new places, learn languages, read, and of course enjoy a glass of wine.8

Nicola Collins

Nicola joined Grape Escapes as Administration Assistant to get away from her duties as domestic servant to her husband and young children. When she is not getting travel documents ready for our clients, she enjoys walking her dog in the Hertfordshire countryside, and cooking, reading and chicken-keeping. She is also partial to relaxing with a glass or two of red wine.