Vinopolis closes Wine Tour for major refurb, P&G hires event space for Olympics

By Luke Nicholls , 18-Jul-2012

Related topics: Business, Venues, Events & Awards, Pubs & Bars

Vinopolis has temporarily closed its wine tour to make way for a multi-million-pound refurbishment, but the London wine tasting venue insists the closure will not impact its takings over the Olympic period.

Artist's impression: The Vinopolis refurbishment will include a complete overhaul of the Wine Tour’s internal layout

Artist's impression: The Vinopolis refurbishment will include a complete overhaul of the Wine Tour’s internal layout

The refurbishment will include a complete overhaul of the Tour’s internal layout, but the 2.5-acre Bankside event space will be hired out to Olympics sponsor Procter & Gamble (P&G) for the duration of the Games.

The seven events spaces will then re-open after the Olympics and the full Vinopolis refurbishment will be completed in October. The on-site restaurants and bars will remain open for business as usual and the masterclasses, wine tasting experiences and events will also continue.

“We’ve been planning the refurbishment for quite some time,” Vinopolis’ recently appointed managing director Lucy Haines told BigHospitality. “We’ve now got a single-site private hire, which will work better for clients around the Olympics.

“With the focus all around the Games right now, we thought it’s actually a good time to get on with this refurbishment work.”

The revamped Vinopolis Wine Tour will include:

  • The ‘How to Taste Wine’ theatre. This will remain the first port of call for visitors but will benefit from a full audio-visual setup to further enhance the experience. Guides will still lead the sessions for the ‘learning to taste’ element with timed sessions running throughout the day.
  • A new ‘Winery’ will form the core of the Vinopolis educational zone, where visitors will be encouraged to browse through interactive screens to explore different techniques that take on a journey from grape to bottle. In addition to this there is an exciting new Geography zone which will demonstrate the impact the weather has on flavours and grape varieties and show visitors how to understand what to expect from wine in different climates.
  • Tasting Zones’ will see the introduction of state-of-the-art Enomatic wine dispensing stations which will allow guests flexibility – through a re-loadable debit card - to choose the amount of drinks and varieties of wine they would like to taste.
  • Vinopolis ‘Wine Experts’ will be deployed throughout the upgraded space and on-hand to make suggestions, explain more about the wines on offer and encourage visitors to try something new.

Haines added: “The Vinopolis Wine Tour has been running for over a decade and we’ve had millions of customers visit us and enjoy the experience over that time. However, it’s time to modernise and cement our reputation as a destination for food and wine enthusiasts.

The Vinopolis experience

“The new experience will remain as an informal introduction to wine and spirit tasting but with interactive educational opportunities, modern technology and more links to food and wine matching principles.

“The whole format for the tour space has been reviewed and we are increasing the level of engagement and expertise available which will not only complement the visitor experience but make it feel personal too. We can’t wait to reveal our full plans later this summer.’’

Vinopolis’ senior wine and spirit expert Tom Forrest recently featured in BigHospitality’s Food and Drink Matching Trends Special Feature, giving his advice on how best to partner food with spirits and cocktails.

For more information on the Vinopolis refurbishment, visit www.vinopolis.co.uk

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