One Minute With... Samantha Anderson, Vinopolis

Samantha Anderson, managing director at Vinopolis spoke to Event about the wine focused venue's closure, as it gets set to host its final two events today (18 December).

An image of Vinopolis from when it first opened 16 years ago
An image of Vinopolis from when it first opened 16 years ago

How has 2015 been for you as a venue? Did you receive more interest after the news of your closure broke?

We have had much more interest in the wine experience than last year, but a few clients were nervous about booking the venue spaces for events towards the end of the year, in case we closed earlier than we originally announced and cancelled their event.

We are running strong until the end [31 December] and last month saw us have one of the best November’s on record. I am pleased to say we have generated the same number of Christmas events as last year and have received excellent feedback on them all, which is a really positive note to end on.

What has been your highlight of working at Vinopolis?

Coming back to Vinopolis as managing director after I started my events career at the venue in 2007 as an event co-ordinator was definitely a highlight.

However the biggest highlight has been the excellent feedback we receive from customers and clients when they hear the venue is closing. We have heard some wonderful stories and received support from old and new customers and clients.

Over the years we have hosted live music events, comedy shows, exhibitions, gigs, ceilidh dances, weddings and birthday parties – there really are too many highlights to pick just one.

What is your next move - and what are the rest of the staff doing next?

I have committed to the company until the end of February 2016, after which I will be looking for new opportunities. Many of the staff are staying in the events/hospitality field, and some have taken the opportunity to branch out and pursue other avenues.

We gave the staff a year’s notice to look for positions, but I am pleased to say the majority of the team wanted to stay with us until the end so its an extremely positive environment. Everyone still cares about delivering the best customer service, the best client events and the best Vinopolis ending.

How do you feel personally about the venue closing?

I think that anyone who has worked at Vinopolis takes a little piece of it with them when they leave. For me it’s the quirky event space memories, (or the exercise benefits from running around a 2.5 acre site when a customer asks for something at the other end!), the office under the railway arches (you have to stop clients and colleagues talking while the train goes over), the fantastic wine knowledge absorbed just by being surrounded by so many wine buffs, and the happy memories of nights in the bars and restaurants onsite.

It is certainly sad now that we are coming to the end but I have had such a positive time here it’s hard to feel down. There have been many lessons learnt and I have worked with so many talented people.

Event revealed that Vinopolis would close for business on 31 December, 2015 back in January. Chris Miles recently departed the venue, joining Concerto Group's catering company, Create as sales director.

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