The enterprising work of SEE Southampton has been recognised by a tourism body, who have shortlisted the organisations ‘Vaults and Vino’ guided walk and wine tasting event for a prestigious tourism award. ‘The Beautiful South’ Awards for Excellence winners are announced at The Grand Hotel Brighton on the evening of 5 December, with SEE Southampton featuring in the category ‘Guided tour of the Year’ (on water, air or land).
Set up in 2013, SEE Southampton operate regular guided walks across the City Centre, visiting the medieval vaults and towers not usually accessible to the public. In addition to these weekly walks, SEE Southampton have established a series of special event walks working with a number of other organisations in the city, including the Dancing Man brewery on the Western Esplanade. The Vaults and Vino event provides an evening of entertainment, combining a walk in the open air with the opportunity to learn about local medieval history, wine and food pairing, as well as social networking. Once a month, for one hour, a qualified local See Southampton tour guide and wine connoisseur open up four wine vaults in the heart of Southampton.
The tour guide explains how Southampton prospered in medieval times, thanks to the wine and wool trades. Guests are shown the medieval walls and vaults and learn of their association with the wine industry, which in Southampton dates back to the 12th century following the marriage of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. The wine-tasting part takes place at the former 14th century Wool House, today the Dancing Man brewery. SEE Southampton guides and wine connoisseurs, together with the professional team at the award-winning venue, organise all wine and food pairing. Each session is unique, helping to appeal to different tastes and interests.
SEE Southampton’s Katie Santos is delighted with the nomination: ‘We’re thrilled that our Vaults and Vino evenings have been shortlisted for a tourism award. It’s been a privilege to work with the Dancing Man brewery and showcase Southampton’s vaults on an evening dedicated to wine and history. The two make great bedfellows! Over the course of the year we theme the Vaults and Vino evenings, and have staged Italian, French and Sparkling wine evenings to name but a few. We finish 2018 with a Christmas special ‘Jingle Bells and Gin’ evening on Monday 10 December, and all are welcome!’
The team at SEE Southampton are no strangers to awards. In addition to its walk programme the organisation helps co-ordinate a vitally important role, operating Welcome Desks at the City’s Cruise Terminals, where tens of thousands of visitors pass through each year. This role was recognised when SEE Southampton was ‘Highly Commended’ in the Visitor Information Service of the Year category at Tourism South East’s 2017 awards presentation.
Now the team are keeping their fingers crossed that they can raise a toast to ‘Vaults and Vino’ winning the award in the ‘Guided tour of the Year’ on 5 December!