Thea Dwelle, on her blog Luscious Lushes – a wine blog, wrote an entry titled, “What exactly is this wine tourism thing?” Thea closed her article asking a question about what attracts you to a business. Another question pops into mind, “Is wine tourism even necessary?”
After traveling to 870 wineries/vineyards and writing about each of them, I consider myself to be a professional wine tourist. Along the journey, Kathy and I met others who also visited hundreds of wineries and vineyards. The concept of wine tourism is alive. But why?
A simplistic answer may be discovered in your local wine shop. There are around 7000 wineries in the United States with tens of thousands more world-wide. Your local wine shop only sells wine from a small fraction of those wineries, and then only represents a small fraction of a winery’s portfolio. There is a whole world of wine out there waiting for your discovery that you won’t find at a local wine shop.
Wine tourism is necessary from the point of view of discovery and the possibility of purchasing a product that can not be purchased at a local establishment. However, wine tourism goes beyond access to wine that is otherwise difficult to come by. Wine tourism allows one to learn about culture, geography, government, history, languages, weather, biology, chemistry and math. It is truly a multi-disciplinary topic that takes a lifetime to learn. Wine tourism exposes you to these disciplines.
I presented at the International Wine Tourism Conference, IWINETC, in Perugia, Italy last January. While Kathy and I visited wineries in Umbria and Campania the sense of thousands of years of history was around every corner. We had numerous opportunities to taste and drink the same varietal wines made by the Ancients. The opportunity to attend the IWINETC help propel Kathy and I to write our first book, A Wine Journey. The book looks at our discovery of learning about wine, making wine and wine travel.
Like Thea, both Kathy and I are preparing for this year’s International Wine Tourism Conference in Zagrib, Croatia. Kathy and I will travel to Croatia a few days earlier to visit wineries in Croatia. We plan to write about each winery for our Wine Trail Traveler website. We are also gathering notes for one of five additional books we are planning to write over the next five years. There will be a chapter about Croatia wineries and vineyards.
During my decades as an educator, I never thought of myself as an author, writing lesson plans and curricula isn’t going to make a best seller list. Wine tourism provided the opportunity to write and become an author. Wine tourism also offered us the opportunity to meet passionate people and learn more about this world, while discovering wine.