The world’s devotion to and passion for wine –referred to by vignerons as the “cornerstone of civilization”– is nothing new. Indeed, the ancient Greeks, known for their avid wine culture, believed the drink to be a gift from the god Dionysus, and subsequently dedicated numerous temples to the veneration of this deity and his invention. The English language even has a word for the love of wine, oenophilia, coined in the 1970s as wine tourism began to increase in popularity.
Originally stemming from regions such as Napa Valley, Bordeaux, and Catalonia, wine tourism (also referred to as enotourism) has expanded to include vineyards around the world as a result of unprecedented growth experienced in the 21st century. This trend is the result of a variety of factors which have collectively contributed to the allure and expansion of wine tourism.
Previously perceived as an activity for only the most cultivated of connoisseurs, wine tourism has never been more accessible. Below are five reasons you should engage in enotourism for your next group vacation or long weekend.
1. THE TREND OF INCLUSIVITY OVER EXCLUSIVITY
In the previous century, the concept of wine tourism evoked a sense of exclusivity, of highborn connoisseurs convening to discuss wine and the affairs of the state, safely removed from the rest of society.
The fact is, more people are drinking and enjoying wine today than ever before, prompting the social stigma of engaging in wine culture without aristocratic birth to wane. In what was once seen as inaccessible to the majority, wine tourism has begun to foster an enjoyable experience for everyone.
On your next wine tour, you can be sure to meet people from all walks of life, of all ages and incomes. This “people factor” will surely enhance the enotourism experience for everyone in your group; for what is good wine without great people?
2. THE GLOBAL TURN TOWARD ACCOMMODATION
In tandem with the global trend towards interconnectivity and open markets, vineyards are increasingly selling their wines to customers around the world. A 2017 Forbes study found that 40% of wine produced globally was consumed outside of the country of origin, increasing from 22% in the year 2000.
As winemakers find an international audience, foreign visitors are to be expected. This has compelled many vineyards to curtail their tourist program to appeal to an international audience, providing the necessities of their visitors’ cultures, whilst also crafting an experience to showcase their unique regional culture and history. One can expect to be an esteemed guest regardless of their nationality or background, for the wine world –like the earth we all live on– is becoming smaller every day.
3. AN ECLECTIC OFFERING OF EXPERIENCES
As wineries and vineyards have recently experienced an influx in tourism, the variety of experiences they now offer has mirrored this expansion. To accommodate the wide range of visitors they now attract, most enotourism venues offer more than simple tours and tastings.
Many wineries now include restaurants, rustic accommodations, picnic and recreational facilities, and historical tours of the countryside. These options, to name a few, are becoming commonplace to satisfy the demand of a growing market. You can be sure to find something for everyone in your group on a wine tour, with activities set to fulfil an eclectic array of interests.
4. NEW VENUES AND LOCATIONS
As the enotourism industry has grown in volume, so has it in scope. Originally limited to Italy, France, and Spain, wine tourists now have venues from around the world to pick from, like the Stellenbosch region in South Africa, the McLaren Vale in Australia, the Douro region in Portugal, and even Israeli wine country around Tel Aviv.
Coupled with climate change and technological advancements in fermentation, wine is also increasingly being produced in countries once thought to be unfit for production. Germany is a prime example of this expansion, a country one does not typically associate with wine production. In reality, Germany is the 10th highest producer of wine globally as of 2018, a feat owed to innovation and shorter winters. Wineries are popping up in the northern reaches of this country, areas that once experienced harsh winter months.
As this trend will surely catch on in neighboring countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium, with their own history and culture, wine tourists will have even more locations to visit, and unique experiences to be had.
It’s clear that this burgeoning industry is thriving. With the variety of venues and experiences offered trending upward, you practically have unlimited choices when it comes to planning your next trip. Book a group getaway with Food & Wine Trails, and explore your love of wine! Contact us today to learn more about our group travel planning capabilities.