Hunter Valley Tourism Operator of the Year 2023

Hunter Valley Tourism Operator of the Year 2023

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Stay n’ Sip is the Hunter Valley’s first after-hours wine-tasting service. Based in Australia’s oldest wine region, owners Mercedes Mendoza, Pierre Toumanoff and their small team bring fun, approachable and educational experiences to guests in their accommodation, home or office. Each experience includes exclusive wines which can not be purchased elsewhere, hand picked by Stay n’ Sip to showcase the Hunter Valley region.

Stay n’ Sip are available to book from 10am to 8pm everyday, all over New South Wales. Clients can choose from a range of experiences including their signature ‘Fun Wine Tasting’ which game-ifys the wine tasting, including Wine Bingo and a wine themed word game they call Wine n’ Letters.

The business began in 2021 just one year after Mercedes and Pierre met while studying for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s Level Three Award in Wine. Both were managing wine businesses in the Hunter Valley and identified a gap in the market - offering convenient private wine tastings after hours.

'Originally, we thought our business would appeal mostly to Hen’s Parties but the fastest uptake was actually from executive level corporate retreats who wanted to experience the Hunter Valley but were busy throughout the day. We often host these groups onsite in their accommodation after 5pm, just before dinner,’ said co-owner Mercedes Mendoza. ‘Thanks to strong word-of-mouth, we’re also seeing an increase in bookings from private groups who are renting one of the Hunter Valley’s fabulous properties for the weekend.’

Pierre Toumanoff, co-owner expanded ‘We are popular for birthday parties, family reunions and girls getaways but I think the guests who appreciate our service the most are parents who spend the day taking their kids to Hunter Valley Wildlife Park and Hunter Valley Gardens who want a relaxing wine tasting experience that is all about convenience - they love that we come to them after the kids are in bed, it’s their time!’ Toumanoff added ‘Many of our guests have experienced the Hunter’s world famous Semillon but often when you visit a Cellar Door you are trying new vintage wines, we pride ourselves on sourcing exclusive wines and back vintages.’

The Hunter Valley Legends Awards has been running for 16 years. Tourism Operator of the Year is determined by the highest scoring business based on a three-part criterion covering digital presence, customer experience via phone and in person. Mercedes said ‘We were shocked to have won. Particularly when all the finalists were all outstanding, well established businesses.’

Hunter Valley Wine Country Tourism Operator of the Year 2023

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• Images - Chris Elfes
• Hosted by - Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Association
• Location - Rydges Resort Hunter Valley

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#huntervalleyvineyard #huntervalleywinery #visitsw #lovedalewedding #feelNSW #newsouthwales #huntervalleywinetasting #privatewinetasting #huntervalleynsw

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