I have been working in the world of wine for exactly 25 years: I started in 1995, when I was very young. My experience has been and still is across-the-board: in the early years I was a receptionist. But in those years we used to do some other activities: it was not sector level as it is today. It was usual for me to support the sales manager or the owner in a tasting with foreign customers, also helping them both translation (I spoke two foreign languages very well) and for organization.
I can say that I started to deal with wine tourism even before it existed: the wineries rarely opened the doors (Movimento Turismo del Vino was being born and doing the very firsts steps) and in the 90s I remember that in the winery, in general, it was difficult to understand why there were people interested in visiting the production and tasting the wine on site. It was considered a waste of time: for me who followed them, and that according to the company I could have spent that time in more profitable office activities, and for them because “what knowledge do you want them to have of the wine or of our territory? “, They will never understand our values, and above all, they did not come to buy wine but” only “to visit the cellar.
These were years in which those few, very rare visitors, who perhaps already knew the wine because it was sold on their markets (usually they were foreigners) began to arrive at the company to get to know the production realities closely. It was 25 years ago since my first awkward wine tourism.
I don’t blame it, quite the contrary. The way of working was completely different, but unknowingly we began slowly to lay the foundations for what is finally recognized as “Enoturism (wine tourism)”.
Today, exactly one year after the approval of the Implementation Decree of March, 12th, 2019, it is necessary to understand that selling wine tourism means being prepared to do it: a road sign for passing tourists is not enough, it is not enough to have a tasting room or a wine shop, it is not enough to improvise (sometime in very Italian style).
Training and education is essential to communicate the message of wine: knowledge becomes across-the-board, they are not only straight lines that go from production to sale, but must also include complementary activities and knowledge that can only be developed through adequate education. It is no longer a question of selling wine because it is good. It is no longer a question of welcoming the visitor because my company is the first on the road.
The visitor, or rather, the wine tourists have changed, have evolved, have deep and often specific knowledge of wine and the territory.
What about us?? … are we ready for this change and this challenge?