You can’t raise a glass in the pub with colleagues this Christmas, but that doesn’t mean your team needs to miss out on a celebration. Madeleine Barber talks to Unique Wine Safaris, a tour operator that’s diversified into selling virtual parties
From wine distributor to tour operator to virtual Christmas party host, there’s no denying David Kelley, managing director at Unique Wine Safaris, doesn’t give up in the face of adversity.
After successfully setting up a touring business to offer his wine-buying customers holidays to Italian, French and Spanish vineyards to meet the makers and taste the tipple in its motherland, the Covid-19 pandemic quickly put a pause on Kelley’s planned expansion into South Africa this year.
Like many other travel companies he took his business virtual, offering wine-tastings to clients on Zoom and, as the festive season looms, wine-tasting has become just one of the elements in the new Unique Wine Safaris virtual Christmas party product.
“By doing the virtual parties our name is still out there, we’re saying ‘guys, we’re still here’,” says Kelley.
The tour operator is now selling bespoke virtual Christmas party packages for £100, which feature fine wines and organic festive food delivered straight to attendees’ doors, as well as a host dressed as Father Christmas.
Phillip Humphries, one of Kelley’s business partners and the man behind the iconic bushy white beard and wire-rimmed glasses, says: “It is going to be different [this year], of course it is, but remember Christmas is a time to show we care – it’s not all about work, it’s about people, so get to know each other a little better and see how you can support each other.”