Mark and Giselle Stafford will be my guests on September 26, 2016 talking about how they moved from Britain to Italy and started Gusto Wine Tours. These successful entrepreneurs created a business they love, which has resulted in winning the Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor for the past four years. Please join us to hear how they made the business work for them.
I met Giselle and Mark during my first trip to Italy in October 2015. A friend from high school who lives in Italy introduced us. Giselle was gracious enough to invite me to her 50th birthday party. And what a party it was. Upon meeting Giselle and Mark it was like connecting with old friends. That’s how they are and their wine tour guests feel that friendship, too. If you’re ever in Italy near Umbria I highly recommend you take their tour, where you will have tons of fun and wine!
Here is part of their story in Giselle’s own words.
Sitting and writing a bio about yourself when you have the quintessential British reserve about ‘bigging yourself up’ or promoting yourself – well, it’s tough!
Mark and I dreamt up Gusto Wine Tours as a means to stay in our beloved Umbria. Soon we realized that it wasn’t just a means to an end – but a real fun, pleasurable and meaningful business.
Imagine: A day visiting friends who happen to make fabulous wines, trying their wines, having a laugh, eating delicious local snacks, visiting gorgeous agriturismo (agriculture and tourism) out in the Umbrian countryside. You sit down to a full and always mouthwatering good Umbrian lunch admiring the beautiful views…. Imagine having a way to show others your passion and love of this special region and making lasting friendships with some of your many wine loving guests. If you can imagine even some of this, you will have an inkling of how we feel on every single tour!
We moved to Umbria from the UK in 2007 and spent three years teaching English as a foreign language. It was always a chore for me (read pushed out the door kicking and screaming!) for Mark, it was enjoyable but not really enough hours to support us. A few chance occurrences happened and the dream came together – Mark was teaching the winemakers English specific to their profession, so Mark was learning all about the wines, the process and the history of this wine-making area. He was also making friends, connections and catching the winemaker’s passion in the process. Then, in August 2009 we had the opportunity to go on a Wine Tour in Napa Valley, California and, we swear, our eyes met, the light bulb lit and we had the same idea at the same time!
We came home to Umbria with these fresh ideas and proceeded to create Gusto Wine Tours (a name which pleases us on several levels – Gusto (verve, zest, delight) Gusto (pizzazz, dynamism) and the Italian Gusto (taste, flavour). By the beginning of 2010 we were ready after a hilarious trial run with wine-loving friends!
So, we launched the website, created a page on Facebook, a Twitter account and told everyone we knew to spread the word!
The first inquiry came through – a very exciting moment! Then a phone call – we weren’t expecting that! Gusto Wine Tours had begun and it has continued to grow and be a fabulous, enjoyable venture ever since!
Gusto Wine Tours has received many awards.
Certificate of Excellence 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015 – Trip Advisor
Dream Of Italy: 2013 Best Local Tour Guides Award
Stayed tuned for the interview. And please drop by their FB page and website.
Mark and Giselle Stafford
Gusto Wine Tours
Tel MARK: 0039 3383 298691 (Mobile)
Facebook page: Gusto – Umbrian Wine Tours