Wine tourism, discovering lands, cultures and lifestyles

Monday, 27 March 2017

 «In the last decade, enotourism has become a key component of gastronomic tourism and a pillar of the diversification strategies of many destinations».

With this extract, the World Tourism Organization introduced the results of the first global conference on wine tourism, hosted last year in the wine region of Kakheti in Georgia.

Two days (7-9 September 2016), the 1st UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism, during which the connection between enotourism, culture, history and lifestyle was discussed.

«Wine tourism is intimately linked with the identities of the destinations, and includes cultural, economic and historical values», underlined Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary General.

By the way, the second global conference on enotourism will take place in Mendoza, Argentina, from 19 to 20 September 2017, instead earlier, from 8 to 9 May, in San Sebastián, Spain, will be held the third global forum on gastronomic tourism.


Wine tourist, not winery customer


Wine tourism, therefore, is more than visit wineries with the purpose of tasting wine (and possibly purchase it). Of course, the visits of the vineyards and the places of production of the so-called nectar of the gods are an essential part of enotourism, but this not exhaust its meaning and potential.

The Italian law regulating the so-called wine roads helps us to understand why the wine does not begin and does not end only in the wineries. We start from the definition of the wine roads as formulated in Article 1 of the law 27 July 1999 n. 268:

«marked itineraries, advertised with special signs, along which natural, cultural and environmental values insist, vineyards and wineries of individual and associated farms open to the public; they are instruments through which the wine territories and their productions can be disclosed, commercialized and enjoyed in the form of tourist offer»

On the wine roads, then, natural, cultural and environmental values insist. More or less the same words used by the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

Let’s now look at the dossier accompanying the bill about enotourism, under discussion in Italy in this period by the Agriculture Committee of the Senate. In the document, citing a passage from a meeting * of the Italian Society of Agricultural Economics that well clarifies the definition of wine road:

«[…] should be something more than an itinerary aiming at wine tourism, anticipating an integrated touristic offer, which develops itself along a route where places open to visitors are located, connected by a series of structures that promote the sale and knowledge of local products of the territory»


Traveling towards a territory, not towards a product


Trying to understand why the wine tourism is not only the visit of wineries, let’s consider an extract of The roadmap of wine tourism **, book written by Vasco Boatto, university professor and member of the Italian Academy of Vine and Wine (AIVV) and Alejandro Juan Gennari, professor at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo:

«In France from the mid-eighties of the last century there is a large network of Wine Roads, with itineraries that are represented in highly illustrative way using special maps carrying the logos that indicate specific touristic attractions. These roads are often associated with important historical and architectural sites, which make them different from the others, functioning as a convergence center for wine tourists interested in these aspects»

Wine can even represent an excuse; if it is true what we read in another extract on the book:

«[…] the wine, in France, is not the only reason to undertake a wine itinerary, but it is often linked to cultural and historical characteristics of a region, followed by the French gastronomy famous across the world and by outdoor activities […] the percentage of wine tourists who has as first goal of their holiday the visit of the wineries, in France, is actually very low, since the first factor of interest is represented by the historical and cultural aspects of the country involved, however, in a advantageous synergy with the wine tourism in the strict sense»


You, travel agents and tour operators, have to be ready to pack proposals and travel experiences able to link the visit of vineyards and cellars to the discovery of culture, history, art and environmental heritage of the land where the grapes grow and where the wine is produced.

Magda Antonioli and Giovanni Viganò, professors at the Bocconi University, have well written in a report about enotourism *** in Puglia, realized in collaboration with the Region of Puglia and the Wine Tourism Movement and presented during the 2013 edition of Vinitaly:

«food and wine tourism are not a shift towards a product, but towards a territory»

Let’s go, then, towards some of the reference lands for wine tourists. Here are the destinations that we would like to suggest, with the usual links to build your offers.

Wine tourism in France


Wine tourism in France, edited by the French National Authority for Tourism

Suggested destinations: Bordeaux, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Toulouse

Wine tourism in Portugal


Wine tourism in Portugal and the Wine Roads, edited by the Portuguese Authority for Tourism

Suggested destinations: Lisbon, Porto, Funchal, Vilamoura, Albufeira

Wine tourism in South Africa


On the roads of the wine, edited by South Africa Tourism

Suggested destinations: Cape Town, Stellenbosch

Wine tourism in Greece


The wine roads in Greece and the Dionysus gifts edited by the Greek National Tourism Organization

Suggested Destinations: Thassos island, island of Santorini, Paros island, island of Zakynthos, island of Crete

Wine tourism in Italy


Chianti, edited by Tourism in Tuscany

Suggested destinations: Siena, Florence


The Langa, edited by the Association Road of Barolo and Great Wines of Langa

Suggested destinations: Castiglione Falletto, La Morra, Novello


Verdicchio: from Castelli di Jesi to Matelica, edited by the Region Marche

Suggested Destinations: Ancona, Fabriano


* G. Brunori, M. Cosmima, Gallenti G., “Le strade del vino nel Friuli Venezia Giulia”, in Acts from the SIDEA Conference Studies: Rural development, territory, enterprise, Florence, May 5, 2000

** Boatto V., Gennari A.J., La roadmap del turismo enologico, Edizioni Franco Angeli, 2011

*** Antonioli M., G. Viganò, “L’enoturismo in Puglia: verso una scoperta culturale”, Master Economics of Tourism (MET), Bocconi University, Milan, March 2013


Enjoy the journey with 6TOUR!

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