Wine tourism has been increasing steadily around the world for the past decade. Tourists who are interested in visiting new wine regions are spending millions to taste different wines and enjoy a wine vacation experience. Here, the best practices in Wine Tourism.
Today, wine tourists are motivated by several different factors, but the desire to taste new wines, learn about them, and see how the wine is made, is common to the majority of them.
The most successful wine regions have adopted some best practices which enable them to provide tourists with memorable experiences that keep them coming back time after time – and bringing their friends and relatives. So, what are these best practices?
#1 – Wine Roads – Any wine region should develop maps which list their wineries and provide information on hours of operation, website, phone numbers, and directions. In addition, the wine maps may also include local restaurants, hotels, and other tourist sites.
#2 – Wine Community Partnerships – Successful wine regions work in partnership with local hotels, restaurants, airports and transportation companies to make sure that tourists have a way to find them.
#3 – Special Wine Events and Festivals – Many wine regions host special events and festivals, but the most innovative regions think “out of the box” in developing unique events. For example, New Zealand hosts a “Cabaret & Wine Show” with comedians and singers.
#4 – Experiential Wine Programs – It is the new practice of offering wine tourists unique experiential programs. For example, in some regions it has become common for visitors to participate in wine blending seminars where they mix together different types of wine to create their own customized bottle. Then, they design their own wine label and get to take the wine home with them.
#5 – Link Wine to Regional Tourism – Smart wine regions make sure to link to other local tourism sites. This is a win-win strategy for everyone involved because the more activities that can be advertised, the more likely the region will attract greater numbers of tourists.
#6 – Unique Partnerships – Linking up with different types of partners, rather than just the usual marriages of food, wine, music, and art, is another best practice of successful wine regions. For example, experiences including both golf and wine-tasting, or wine-tastings and massage at a spa.
#7 – Wine Villages – Some wine regions have created a “wine village.” This is a town in the wine region that is designed specifically around the theme of wine. There are generally multiple wine-tasting rooms within walking distance that tourists can visit. Restaurants cater to the wine tourist and provide food that matches local wines. Hotels offer rooms and packages designed around a wine theme.
#8 – Focus on Art & Architecture – Some wineries attract visitors by adding art galleries, sculpture gardens or other unique art-related items, which they can see while tasting wine.
#9 – Food & Wine Matching – Another best practice is targeting tourists who enjoy the culinary aspects of wine tourism. Generally this is implemented by a wine region organizing special food and wine tours or events.
#10 – “Green” or Ecotourism Focus – For wine tourists who seek organic and biodynamic wines, or those who enjoy begin around nature and in the outdoors, a newer best practice is an emphasis on “green” or ecotourism aspects of wine. For example, some wineries offer special tours and educational programs on how they craft organic and biodynamic wines, or their special “green” practices.
#11 – Unique Wine Tours – Another cutting edge practice is offering very unique tours for winery visitors. These are usually targeted at the more adventurous wine consumer or for those who have already visited a specific wine region and are looking for something different. An example is “wine & kayaking” or “river-rafting and wine tasting”.
#12 – Social Media for Wine Tourism – Finally many wineries and regions are catching onto the benefits of using social media to attract wine tourists. This includes making sure those tourists who use their mobile phones and the Internet to seek information on which winery to visit can easily locate the winery. They do this by ensuring GPS directions are correct, that they are easily found in search engines, and that they have a website that is also designed for mobile phone users. Several wine regions have gone so for as to develop “apps” that can be downloaded onto a mobile phone to provide winery information, maps, and even coupons and tasting fee discounts. Finally, savvy wineries have set up Facebook fan pages and work with other sites, such as Trip Advisor, to make sure they can interact with wine tourists.
In conclusion, as wine tourism continues to increase about the world in popularity, and wine regions recognize the positive economic benefits derived from wine tourists, the adoption of these twelve best practices will spread to even more countries.