Wine and Territory: Strategic Combo for Made in Italy in View of Expo 2015

09/06/2014 Development and promotion of the territory through culture, countryside, and cuisine with wine as leitmotif. Producers, their professionalism and hospitality transform cellar tours into unforgettable experiences

These are the objectives of Movimento Turismo del Vino, the non-profit association founded in 1993, which now boasts over one thousand of the best wineries and distilleries in Italy. Wine tourism combined with art, history and food actually represent a strategic combination to promote Italian brands in the world, not just agricultural and food products, and mostly to boost the presence of Italian and foreign tourists. The Minister of Agricultural Policy, Maurizio Martina, is impressed “that four million people visit cellars” underlining how the phenomenon “goes beyond economic data. It means recognizing that in the weaving of tradition and innovation, wine could lead the debate on agriculture and food.”

In this view, the MTV initiatives and events, which are promoted throughout the year starting with Cantine Aperte as well as those with international flair such as Expo 2015, are key; they represent an interesting opportunity to capture the touristic and commercial interest of visitors. Among the key points used to develop the presence of wine at Expo: “To delight. To promote the territory. To network among the wineries.” Factors that are the foundation of the work which Movimento Turismo Vino has been carrying on since 1993 focusing on the quality of hospitality which serves to enhance the members’ businesses, but also the importance of wine culture in order to explore right where it is produced.

In a memo, the general director of Veronafiere, Giovanni Mantovani, member of the Scientific Committee of the Wine Pavilion at the international fair stated, “In our bottles there is a thousand-year old history, culture and traditions which have led us to cultivate vines at almost any latitude and sometimes against every business logic. In this lies the added value of Italian wine, which enriches the qualitative excellence thanks to the great work done in the vineyards and cellars in the last forty years.”

Therefore, the increasingly higher average of the quality of the wines makes it necessary to improve the producers’ ability to present their product and wineries in a suitable way. From my experience as a producer, the best recipe to sell and communicate a wine is to tell what is behind the bottle: the history, the family, the territory where it comes from and its culture. This is what fascinates the visitor and what then pushes them to choose a bottle from the shelf. Other than quality, naturally. Criteria which, in the imaginary collective, also relate to wine tourism. A phenomenon on the rise, in spite of the crisis, capable of generating five billion euros of business but which would provide much bigger development margins with more active participation by the institutions under a single organization, capable of promoting the Italian brand in unison, even abroad. It is this making it all available on the net which makes it possible to provide the tourist with a wide range of offers in just one “package”. In fact, the wine tourist does not solely seek wine tastings and cellar tours, but also bike rides, museum visits and exhibits. Without forgetting the culinary traditions that revolve around the universe of wine. The work to be done is therefore demanding, above all keeping in mind that foreign tourists generally spend more. In fact, at least based on the experience of the wineries that adhere to Movimento Turismo del Vino, on an average budget of €50-100 between the cellar and tour, the foreign tourist is in 65% of the cases much more likely to spend money to bring home products of the territory which they visited. Places that are worth remembering, which possess special and unique characteristics that should be developed according to their individual uniqueness, even abroad. All via a “group effort” where the places that have always been dedicated to wine and which counted on the bond between culture and tourism right from the start lead the way even in the lesser known but upcoming winemaking areas.

And in this way, for example, web 2.0 tools are fundamental in reaching an audience which increasingly compares offers, prices and quality in real time on smartphones, tablets and gets an idea of the experience in the cellar in advance through social media. In fact, according to an MTV-CST survey, the people who go to wineries are increasingly connected with about two thirds choosing their destinations on the web. For this reason, Movimento Turismo del Vino would like to establish itself as the authoritative voice as a network of wineries which concretely believe in the philosophy of developing the territory where the cellar safeguards the production areas.