Sleaford businesswoman makes jump from retail to wine tourism

Hayley Handford-Brown
Hayley Handford-Brown

Fresh, fruity whites, smooth reds and a sense of adventure have led a Sleaford woman to a new career in wine tourism.

Having worked in retail for most of her career, wine lover Hayley Handford-Brown is taking her passion for fine wines to eastern Europe by launching her wine tour company Wine Scene Investigations in Slovenia.

Hayley and husband David are hoping to help wine enthusiasts discover the wonders of Slovenian wine and the people who produce it. Having first visited and fallen in love with the country in 1999, the couple are now ready to show visitors the best in wine, cuisine and culture the area has to offer.

Hayley said: “Slovenia is an absolutely beautiful country and the wine produced there is one of the world’s best kept secrets. We have had a property there since 2008 and have always wanted to relocate.

“Being based in the east of the country, we are less than an hour’s drive from Austria and Croatia, who also produce excellent wine in stunning surroundings, so we have included these on our tours too. This means that our investigators, as we like to call them, can sample the delights of three countries in one short trip. We have scouted out the best vineyards for our guests to visit as well as the best places to stay.”

The couple are due to make the move in May, but not before a glittering launch event on Thursday March 16 at independent wine stockist Ann et Vin in Newark.

Hayley added: “Our launch night is a great way for people to sample the variation and sheer quality of Slovenian, Austrian and Croatian wine. While these areas are not known for wine in the UK, their credo is definitely ‘quality over quantity’. The producers are incredibly passionate about their wine and that is reflected in the taste and the way they care for the grapes and production process.

“To give our guests have a true Slovenian experience, we will also be serving plenty of Slovenian food and there will be musicians playing traditional folk music from the region.”

To find out more about Wine Scene Investigations, follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can book online via, where if you book before Easter you will receive a 10% discount.

Tours start from as little as €365, with longer tours available throughout the summer.