Wine tourism is booming in parts of the United States, Canada, Spain, Australia, France and other countries around the world. There were questions some years ago as to what would replace certain disappearing industries; how we could boost our economies without polluting the earth.
Eco-tourism came into being as a result of these questions as did wine tourism. Sometimes, the two are united, especially when a winery is run using environmentally friendly methods.
Grape-driven days-out and full-length holidays of this nature have impacted various industries. Hotels offer packages providing accommodation, breakfast, plus some kind of vine-related bonus such as discounts, a winery meal, or participation in a festival. Limousine companies advertise tours, while certain companies have dedicated small buses to driving drinkers around to various stops on a wine route so they can fill their wine racks, get a little bit tipsy from tasting, and return home safely.
I mentioned Ovino recently. They are offering Saturday programs for $20 which include guided tours, tastings and a gift. Meanwhile, Napa Valley is famous for its train which rattles along between vineyards and serves locally-produced whites and reds, often pairing them with a three-course meal.
Meadowbank in Tasmania offers an ‘experience’ which includes blind tasting, prizes, a place to eat, art gallery, and an events room. Lots of wineries combine music with drinking, hosting weekly or monthly opportunities to sip while singing along. Patrons are encouraged to purchase and open a bottle of their favorite varietal on-site and drink it with their picnic.
One point that is made, however, is the importance of staying ‘regional’ as they say at Meadowbank. Area businesses have the opportunity to unite and promote one another. Local restaurants and liquor stores highlight regional wines. A winery shop sells locally-made jams and gifts, or perhaps serves produce and meat grown or raised within a 45 minute radius. They create a winning program with wide-reaching benefits, working together in sustainable ways.