Wine tourism is a segment of gastronomy tourism whose motivation is to participate in wine experiences through tasting sessions, visits to wineries, vineyards, festivals and events associated with wine culture.
For tourism agencies and wine producers, the development of wine tourism represents the creation of new thematic routes with complementary offers and the implementation of new economic activities, resulting in additional income for the producers and communities involved.
Why wine tourism is a success among travellers and tourists
Although wine tasting is the central product of wine tourism, there are other factors that contributed to the fast growth of this segment, which has become a fundamental part of gastronomy and rural tourism.
It is already common to find wineries offering immersive and educational experiences related to wine production and culture. Some examples of these activities are:
- Guided visits to the winery and cellar;
- Educational workshops on the history, terroir, cultivation and production of wine;
- Immersive experiences during the grape harvest and wine production;
- Gastronomic experiences harmonized with wines from the winery itself (eg. tasting menus, picnics, cooking classes, etc.);
- Tasting sessions;
- Traditional wine cultural festivals and events;
- Courses and Lectures;
- Accommodation and hospitality services;
- Own store to purchase wines and souvenirs;
- Physical structure designed for leisure trips and taking photos.
The profile of tourists who visit wineries
Wine tourism is for every type of tourist and therefore expectations vary from person to person. However, according to (CHARTERS AND ALI-KNIGHT, 2002; HALL AND MITCHELL, 2008) there are three most common profiles:
- Wine lover – experienced winery visitor;
- Wine interested – likely to have visited other wine regions but wine is not the sole purpose of the visit to the destination;
- Curious tourist – moderate interest in wine, and wineries are as seen ‘just another attraction’.
Generally, tourists who are experienced in wine and have been to wineries before value the following:
- Obtain specific knowledge about wine production;
- Visit the cellar;
- Participate in tasting sessions;
- Buy wines.
In addition to learning about the production process and buying wines, those who visit a winery for the first time and are interested in the theme also value:
- Stroll through the vineyards;
- Visit the cellar;
- Pleasant ambience for visits;
- Learn about wine and food pairing.
Based on these profiles and motivations, it is important for wineries that intend to receive tourists to pay attention to the diversification of its offerings. As for tour operators and travel agencies, it is recommended to identify their client’s profile to better direct them to wineries which match their expectations.
A tip to better understand your client’s profile and improve your communication is the creation of tourism personas.
Destinations that promote wine tourism
With the increase in wine appreciation and the offer of unique gastronomic experiences turned several regions, previously highlighted only by the commercialized wine, to become international references for wine tourism.
But, in addition to tourist experiences, these regions have also developed excellent marketing strategies and public-private partnerships aimed at wine tourism. Among the most famous regions for wine tourism, the following stand out:
- Bordeaux and Champagne, France
- Rioja, Spain
- Douro and Alentejo, Portugal
- Tuscany and Piedmont, Italy
- Eger, Hungary
- Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Rheinhessen and Pfalz, Germany
- Kakheti, Georgia
- Santorini, Greece
- Mendoza and Salta, Argentina
- Yarra and Barrosa, Australia
- Casablanca, Colchagua and Maipo, Chile
- Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, South Africa
- Napa Valley, United States
- Serra Gaúcha, Brazil
Benefits for destinations and producers
One of the great benefits of wine tourism is the dispersion of mass tourism, thus distributing tourists from urban centres to the interior of the country. This type of tourism favours the diversity of offers in a destination and the development of rural areas throughout the year. For the producer, positive impacts of wine tourism include the strengthening of the brand, product diversification and increased sales.
We list below more benefits of wine tourism:
- Dispersion of mass tourism;
- Strengthening the identity and brand of destinations and producers;
- Expansion of sales channels;
- Environmental awareness and heritage preservation;
- Cultural appreciation;
- Decrease in rural exodus;
- Creation of jobs and additional income for more remote areas;
- Encouraging complementary businesses such as restaurants and other food products.
From a traveller’s perspective, wineries bring a sense of differentiated experience that reconciles the search for quality tourism with the local incentive for new economic resources. Wine tourism invites the traveller to enjoy the local history and its identity, a glimpse of romance and freedom, for those who wish to experience new sensations, flavours and aromas.
Wine Tourism Challenges
Many wineries prefer to allocate resources strictly to the production and marketing of their wines, which has always been and will be the main product of any winery.
Developing additional structures and products to receive tourists requires investment, additional knowledge, training and time. Therefore, in addition to financial resources, the business must first be truly willing and committed. In fact, a negative tourist experience may well damage the business brand.
As long as there are wines, wine tourism will always be an option
Wine tourism has opened the doors to educate and raise awareness among wine consumers, valuing biodiversity, local culture and country life. The culture of wine goes beyond the bottle and receiving visits to the winery can be an opportunity for the producer to get closer to his client and show that the value of his product does not only contemplate the drink itself, but also its entire history, work and years of dedication.