How to win at wine tourism
Over the past 10 years, wine tourism has become a much bigger part of the revenue of wineries.
Over the last decade, I’ve seen a massive increase in wine tourism in every wine region in the world. Wineries that include wine tourism in their offer find that it amounts to 15-20% of their turnover.
If you want a piece of this market, you need to make sure that you are prepared and organized with an appropriate strategy and a long-term plan.
Two examples of global wine regions that have understood the importance of wine tourism.
Before any other wine region in the world, Tuscany understood the importance of wine tourism. Tuscan wine producers managed to direct the tourism already present in their region into their wine cellars.
Another example is California’s Napa Valley and Sonoma County. Here too, wine producers have succeeded in attracting enormous numbers of tourists from all over the world and hugely increasing wine tourism in their area.
Both Tuscany and Napa Valley are close to important tourist centres where a large number of people from all over the world come from. All this has been possible thanks to an effective marketing campaign, deep awareness of the subject and good teamwork.
What are the strategies to have a winning wine tourism operation?
- having open doors, even on weekends, helps to increase tourism in your cellar
- create tasting events with your wines with wine-food pairings
- invest in the creation of a restaurant, hotel or B&B that can offer a complete service
- organize events that offer experiences that go beyond the simple visit to the winery. Guided tours, wine festivals, and original events involve tourists and create important memories for them. I have seen many extra activities like wine and art, dinner in the vineyard, cinema in the vineyard. You can have lots of fun with your event.
- train staff with a positive attitude that speak foreign languages, including a good level of English
- collaborate with tourist agencies, tourism offices, travel agencies, and tour operators. The aim is to attract tourists from that area or tourist centre to your winery and territory
- plan marketing and communication campaigns through digital channels. This makes the difference for both national and foreign markets
If wine tourism is becoming more popular, what do wine tourists want?
The world of wine is growing both in quality and turnover. People want to understand the story behind an individual bottle of wine:
- curious tourists want a unique experience that they can remember forever
- they want to get to know and understand who you are and what you have to offer
- they want to be stimulated by something that goes beyond traditional tourism
What are the benefits of wine tourism?
- wine tourism increases direct sales of wine and all the other products of your company
- you have a real opportunity to make your winery, your values and ideals, your people, your wines and native vines, better known
- you can genuinely connect with people
- you can increase the numbers of domestic and foreign customers
- you will educate people and be able to explain what it means to produce wine
- you can keep customers and new guests
- wine tourism has low costs and high revenues
You must also be aware that wine tourism is not only addressed to private customers but also to the trade. I have often heard from owners of wineries that they do not care about normal retail customers but only about wine industry clients. This is a complete misunderstanding of some basic principles:
- many wine lovers also work in the wine sector
- before making purchases, insiders often visit your winery as normal enthusiasts to get to know you, understand who you are, and taste your wines
I am a marketer, but I am also a Sommelier in some of London’s most famous restaurants. If I decide to include a wine on my restaurant’s wine list, this will only be because I visited the winery personally as a normal wine lover. So it’s important to remember that wine industry insiders are, first of all, wine lovers.
What are the benefits for your area?
The benefits are not only for your winery but also for your general area:
- the general economy of your area benefits
- local restaurants, hotels, and shops will have more customers
- employment will increase in your region
- tourists from all over the world will know your area
The strength of a team
It is best if you are able to work in a team with your neighbours and community of wine producers. It’s always best to be a team player who can also build relationships with a consortium. The power of marketing campaigns is even more powerful and effective in a group.
Wine tourism is a wonderful opportunity. It is always increasing and you have to be ready to welcome all varieties of people from every different country. You need to have nice glasses and keep your facilities completely clean. True commitment is the key to everything.
Wine & More will work with you to develop a plan that can help you expand wine tourism in your company and area, creating an authentic and genuine connection with tourists from all over the world.
Here at Wine & More, our mission is:
To enhance the individual uniqueness of wines and territories by partnering with producers to define, grow, and develop your story, your land, and your passion. We will clarify what distinguishes you from others by growing your brand through effective wine marketing strategies and putting you in authentic contact with a wider audience.
If you are interested in developing wine tourism and reaching new markets and audiences, contact us.
Author Michele Orbolato.