Movimento Turismo del Vino puts boutique Italian vineyards on the map!

President of Movimento Turismo del Vino (MTV), Chiara Lungarotti, is an entrepreneur with a unique passion for wine and winemaking, having inherited her love of the land from her father and confesses that she could recognize its scent and flavor blindfolded!  Chiara is also the CEO of the various companies forming the Lungarotti Group, and has been heavily immersed in Wine and Tourism in Italy for many years.

As one of the speakers at the 2012 International Wine Tourism Conference, we had the opportunity to speak with Lungarotti about wine tourism in Italy.  Below are Lungarotti’s responses to our questions:

1.  Can you talk about the purpose of Movimento Turismo del Vino, and what inspired its creation? 

The Movimento Turismo del Vino (Wine Tourism Movement) is an association created in 1993 that has encouraged Italian wineries to open their doors to visitors: Italy has now become the country of “Cantine Aperte,” the annual event organized by MTV on the last Sunday of May. MTV is a non-profit association with the aim of promoting wine tourism and improving the wine areas’ image and prestige, as well as their economic development. MTV wants to stand for protection of the environment and for quality agriculture; promoting a natural life-style that puts the visitor at the centre of attention. 

2.  MTV is conducting a survey profiling the wine tourist in Italy, what does the survey hope to accomplish and how will it change the landscape of Italy’s tourism industry? 

The survey will give us the tools to draw guidelines for new developmental projects and help our members to offer always the best and the most appropriate hospitality in the wineries to their visitors. 

3.  You will be revealing the results of the survey in the closing speech of the upcoming Wine Conference in Perugia, Umbria.  What has the research uncovered about who is visiting Italy and what they are looking for in their travels?

We are still working on the details, however, it will be a great pleasure to illustrate the results of the survey in occasion of the meeting!

4.  MTV has over 1000 members in all corners of Italy, what is the selection process and how much more do you expect the association to grow? 

Among the almost 1000 members of the Association are some of Italy’s most prestigious wineries, selected on the basis of very precise characteristics, first of which -of course- is the  high quality they offer in welcoming visitors. More services we give to our members, greater will be our  ability to help them attract visitors, more the Association will grow. 

5.   What wine(s) do you enjoy most on special occasions? 

Of course I love Italian wines…… 

Join the International Wine Tourism Conference and network with Chiara and 200 – 300 more attendees. Chiara will be delivering a talk at the Wine Tourism Conference on Febuary 1, 2012 at 17:00 titled: Italian Wineries Speak and a New Tourism Strategy is Born

Wine and Wellness: The Perfect Pairing!

Jochen Erler is a lover of wine, travel and journalism, and has done extensive research and writing about spas offering wellness and medical therapies.  He has been a member of the jury at the Wine and Spirit Competition in the UK for over twenty years, and leads wine walking groups in and around Europe.  In his thirst for wellness and passion for wine, he has discovered the perfect pairing and enjoys sharing his knowledge with tourists looking for a well rounded expedition of excitement and rejuvenation.

Jochen spoke at the 2011 conference in Portugal and the 2010 conference in Spain, and is back to talk about the different types of therapies available to travelers in Italy and around the world at the upcoming 2012 International Wine Conference in Perugia Italy.  Below are his responses to our questions.

1. At this years Conference you will be talking about wellness and wine therapy, can you explain this exciting concept to our audience? 

One of the most recent fashions in spa treatment is wine wellness/wine therapy. It is based on the use of products made from wine, the seeds and the skins of the grapes. The products extracted from grape seeds and skins have a high content of unsaturated Linolacidity, vitamin E, Lecithin and Procyanidin, the most effective antioxidant known.They are applied mainly by cosmetic therapists for the maintenance and rejuvenation of the skin. Grape seed oil is the essential ingredient in wine cosmetics.  Pomace, the residuum from the pressing of the grapes, which consists of grape pips and skin, is also used by medicinal therapists for fango.  It can be applied pure, or mixed with the usually applied mud which is rich in minerals.

2. Most veteran travelers know how exhausting, albeit exciting, a full day of site seeing and can be.  Can you talk about Wine Therapy and how it can be a well rounded part of a tourists travel agenda? 

The rest day during a wine tour should give the group members not only time to relax, but should also offer some meaningful entertainment. For many of the group members a day in a thermal spa will be a new experience, a day to remember, and perhaps a stimulant to explore more thermal spas in the future. For a wine enthusiast, the option to experience wine wellness as well, would certainly be an asset.

3. You have travelled to Umbria before and experienced some excellent wine and spa tours in the region, what types facilities and treatments are offered at the spa’s you most highly recommend to your clients? 

To my knowledge, there are two hotels in Umbria offering wine wellness. Le Tre Vaselle Hotel (loc. Torgiano, near Perugia), owned by Umbria’s leading wine producer Lungarotti,  has a first class spa offering various treatments based on their own wine cosmetic products “bella Uve”. The other hotel is Agriturismo La Casella (loc. Ficulle), at the edge of a huge UNESCO protected nature park in the Western part of Umbria. Here the therapist uses her own products based on wine, sea salt and olive oil. In both places I recommend the body scrub (peeling).

4. You are have been a judge for the International Wine and Spirit Competition for more than 20 years, what is the best wine you have tasted, and what is your favorite Italian wine? 

As all competitive tastings are conducted blind, we judges never know what wines we are tasting. However I can say that I prefer white wines with mineral notes, and red wines whose beauty is not suppressed by barrique notes.

There are many Italian wines that I like very much. From Umbria, my favourite is certainly a well aged Sagrantino.

5. What are you looking forward to most at this years conference in Italy?

To some of the plenary sessions, the tour to some wineries, and learning more about the Sagrantino grape.

Join the 2012 International Wine Tourism Conference and network with Tom and 200 – 300 more attendees. Tom will be delivering a talk at the Wine Tourism Conference on February 1 at 12:00, titled: Destinations for wine tours and spa visit; Wine Therapy 

Wines of Italy Grand Tasting at IWINETC 2012

Wine Pleasures presents the 4th Annual International Wine Conference this year in Umbria, Italy, from January 30 – February 2, 2012.

The event features some 40 talks Wine Tourism and several guided tastings. Jane Hunt, Master of Wine will be leading  on January 30 at 17:30, “The Many Flavours of Italy” wine tasting, with wines from various parts of Italy, including Umbria, Campania, Friuli, and Sardinia.  Event wine glasses sponsored by Riedel Wine Glass Company.

Wine designations will cover the full spectrum, from IGT to DOCG, Classico, Riserva and Superiore, and with red, white, dessert wines and sparkling with vintages ranging from 1998 to 2010.  Grape varieties including, but not limited to Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Grechetto, Canaiolo, Picolit, Falanghina, and Aglianico, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Chardonnay.  Among the represented wineries are Perticaia, Arnaldo Caprai, Vini Goretti, Terredora and Giorgio Lungarotti. 

Jane Hunt is has been in the wine trade for 35 years, and was awarded the The Vintners Company Scholarship in 1981 (as the 2nd female ever) and became a Master of Wine in 1985.  She has worked both in Italy and the UK, and has broad experience in the business, including wine-buying, sales, marketing, lecturing, teaching, journalism, competition judging and event management.  For 20 years she has also led tours through Italy, France, South Africa, Chile and Argentina, and still continues to conduct these tours.  Jane currently specializes in promotion and event management for Hunt & Coady Ltd, focusing heavily on Italy, Argentina and France.

Check out the Conference programme

Aselma Tours to research Italy wine tourism for HORECA customers

Tamara Dubiel, co owner of the Polish agency Aslema Tours, offers her clients exotic vacations all across the globe. At this year’s International Wine Tourism Workshop, Tamara is seeking to expand her wine travel experience (previously focused in Portugal) to Italy! We took a few moments to ask Tamara what drew her to wine tourism and how Italy competes with some of her more exotic locations. 

1. What do you hope to gain from the workshops and meetings at the International Wine Tourism Workshop?

First of all – the knowledge of wine producers and how to use this knowledge making trips. Second – knowledge of the Tuscany region, the most demanded by our customers.

2. Your website indicates that Aslema Tours specializes in travel for small groups of active singles. How popular would you say wine tourism is in this market?

As the world becomes more unstable we noticed the group of customers interested only by european destinations is bigger than some years ago. We are doing our best to fulfil these expectations by offering a new travel possibilities. It could be a trip combined with  wine &
gastronomy, more and more popular combination as well as trip combined with grape harvesting that could be a great possibilty to show the work connected with wine production ( in this case I am mostly interested in small wineries). But – mostly – wine tourism is dedicated for professional groups for tailor – made trips ( restaurants, hotels etc).

3. Your company already offers wine tastings in Portugal. What differences do you expect to see between Italian and Portuguese wine tours?

It’s different country, different wine, different cuisine… = different product for me.

4. Aslema Tours offers a variety of exotic trips throughout Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Europe and the Caribbean. How do you think Italian wine holidays will compete with these more unusual destinations?

As I wrote above, the group of customers for european destination is growing. As we always try to offer  something more that hotel, sand & sea I think  it will be a new opportunity. And please remember professionals that often travel with us.

5. After the conference, you´re headed to Tuscany from the 2nd to the 5th of February. Why did you choose to explore this region?

Aselma Tours to attend IWINETC 2012The region is definitely the most demanding by our customers. It’s important for me to know it as much as possible.

To meet Tamara Dubiel and learn more about Aslema Tours, join the 300 other attendees at the International Wine Tourism Conference & Workshop 2012!

GLI “STATI GENERALI” DEL MONDO DI SCENA A PERUGIA NEL 2012….

IN UMBRIA PIÙ DI 300 PROFESSIONISTI, TRA TOUR OPERATOR, AZIENDE, GIORNALISTI, BLOGGER E PLAYER DELL’ENOTURISMO (DA 40 PAESI)

Degustazioni, press tour, case history da tutto il mondo, workshop per più di 300 professionisti, tra tour operator, aziende, giornalisti, blogger e player dell’enoturismo provenienti da 40 Paesi. Ecco i numeri della Conferenza internazionale sul turismo del Vino (Perugia, 30 gennaio – 2 febbraio 2012), evento che farà tappa in Umbria e, per la prima volta in Italia, grazie alla partnership tra l’organizzatore Wine Pleasures e il Movimento Turismo del Vino Italia, con le sue cantine italiane associate.

Un’economia, quella del vino, che in Italia vale 5 miliardi di euro e che non conosce crisi. Secondo la presidente del Movimento Turismo Vino, Chiara Lungarotti: “il vino è un prodotto sempre più globale. Anche la promozione dell’enoturismo, che è la vetrina del settore, deve seguire la stessa strada. Per intercettare nuovi pubblici – ha continuato la presidente Lungarotti – è indispensabile perciò puntare anche sugli strumenti offerti dai nuovi media. Promozione sul web 2.0 e app per smartphone e tablet sono elementi ormai centrali quanto qualità del vino ed accoglienza”.

International Wine Tourism Conference and Workshop

Mix Umbrian Art and Wine with the Ferrari Brand

Marcello Lunelli, and oenologist and agronomist, studied all aspects of winemaking and agriculture in two of Italy’s beautiful cities, Trento and Milan.  He is President of Tenuta Castelbuono, which is one of several brands managed by The Lunelli Group, and Vice President of Ferrari Metodo Classico, which his family has owned for three generations.  Highly involved in Italy’s prestigious wine culture, Lunelli is a board member of both the Italian Wine and Italian Confederation of Wine and Vine Associations.

We were fortunate to speak with Lunelli about his upcoming presentation at the 2012 International Wine Tourism Conference in Umbria, Italy and his views on Italian wine and art.  Below are his responses to our questions.

1. Your family has significant history with the Ferrari brand, what is your family’s relationship with Ferrari and what is your proudest achievement with the group? 

The story of the Lunelli family is inextricably linked to that of the Ferrari winery, as in 1952 grandfather Bruno bought from Mr. Giulio Ferrari the winery he founded in 1902, that was the realization of his passion for sparkling wine.  A passion he had cultivated after receiving an enological degree when he went to study in Champagne the art of producing sparkling wine with the noble method of re-fermentation in the bottle.  In the last 110 years Ferrari has kept growing in quality and quantity becoming soon the most important Italian producer of Metodo Classico, and through the years the sole guiding principle has always been the worship of quality from the soil to the table, from the founder, Giulio Ferrari, to grandfather Bruno, through the second generation until us, the third generation Lunelli cousins. This achievement involved large investments in the vineyards and into the winery where a team composed of eight enologists and six agronomists follow, like guardian angels, the quality of the product, making it the leader and the key player of the TRENTODOC® wine region, which lays in the northern part of Italy and includes many other great Metodo Classico producers.

The uncompromising search for excellence has allowed Ferrari to obtain an unequalled series of  accolades: it has won the Wine Oscar awarded by the Italian Sommeliers’ Association no less than four times and each year it receives the highest ratings from the most authoritative wine Guides, including the “Three Glasses” from Gambero Rosso, which gives this comment on its decision: “Relish Italy’s finest sparkling wine, and one of the finest anywhere in the world”.

Ferrari has always provided the perfect accompaniment for the most significant moments in the realms of the state, culture, show business and sport. It is with Ferrari that all guests to the Residence of the President of the Italian Republic and to Italian Embassies around the world are welcomed. It is with Ferrari that the stars of Hollywood celebrated on the night of the Oscars, and it is with Ferrari that our sportsmen have always toasted their victories, from the historic soccer World Cup of 1982 to that of 2006. The great names of fashion and of Italian lifestyle also choose the great sparkling wines of Trentino to put the final seal on their most important events. It is no accident that Ferrari is one of the founder-members of Altagamma, the association that is made up of Italy’s most prestigious brands.

 2.  The Lunelli Group, alongside Ferrari, offers a number of impressive sparkling wines.  Can you talk about sparkling wine in Italy and what makes it unique from other parts of the world?

The world of sparkling wines within Italy is rich and varied.  There are sparkling wines produced in large quantity using the Charmat method like Prosecco and Asti, and other produced using Metodo Classico in various areas of northern Italy like Oltrepò, Altalanga, Franciacorta and Trentino, where Ferrari grows.

Metodo Classico represents sparkling wine excellence and is recognized by the market as such. Within it, TRENTODOC® is the most distinctive because it perfectly matches a territory extremely vocated with over a century long tradition: it’s a zone delimited by the borders of the province of Trento, in the Northeast of Italy, in the middle of the famous Dolomite mountains, an area mainly suited for the cultivation of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the two principal varieties for the production of sparkling wine using the traditional method.  The particular climate here characterized by strong diurnal temperature variations during the months of grape maturation, combined with a limy soil rich in rock fragments, make Trentino exceptionally unique for the quality of the grapes used in the Metodo Classico sparkling wine.  The wisdom of the producers combined with more than a century of tradition are inseparable elements of success that, in the Ferrari winery, make testimony to the aptitude of this land for producing great sparkling wine.

3. You will be talking about Castelbuono’s picturesque “Carapace” Winery at this years conference, what is it about the marriage of art and wine that creates such a unique experience?

A famous Italian writer, Mario Soldati, defined wine as “the poetry of the land.”  Wine, in this case Sagrantino, is the true soul of Umbria, not only the fruit of man’s labor, but also as an expression of the territory with its traditions, its history, its people and its background.  Wine represents a testimony to civilization which holds, conserves and conveys through time the soul of its territory, and stimulates not only the earthly senses but also the thoughts of those who taste it. Even art, especially sculpture, has a similarity in the reactions that it causes in those who appreciate it.

By involving the master sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, a family friend for a long time, we wanted to link together the destiny of the two arts,  sculpture and enology, in an entrepreneurial adventure in which the sculpture becomes part of the territory in a harmonious way and will become a precious and unmatchable foundation for a project which has the scope to enhance both an extraordinary wine like Sagrantino as well as the region of Umbria with its rare beauty and intense mysticism.   Therefore, wine brings together sculpture, local culture, man’s work and territorial tradition in a harmonious combination of emotions that touches the senses and sensibility of all the men lovers of art and good wine.

4. What are you looking forward to most at the conference in Italy this year?

The conference in Perugia is a wonderful opportunity at an international level to gain experience and critical insight enabling us to tackle seriously and in a qualified way the management of a cellar which can be defined as “the only sculpture in the world where one works, produces and tastes wine”. We strongly believe that food and wine tourism in Umbria is a resource not yet fully expressed, but with great potential that, thanks to the uniqueness of the “Castelbuono’s Carapace” combination of great art and wine, could increase its appeal benefiting all the players in the sector.

5. What wine will you be drinking this weekend?

I wouldn’t start without a glass of Metodo Classico Ferrari, symbol of lightness, joy, cheerfulness and conviviality and then I will give myself up completely to the magic world of Sagrantino, with its unexpected and magical aroma, impenetrable color, and majestic structure.  A taste as intense, powerful and mysterious as the land which nurtured it.

Join the 2012 International Wine Tourism Conference and network with Marcello and 200 – 300 more attendees. Marcello will be delivering a talk at the Wine Tourism Conference on January 30 at 11:00, titled: Art & Wine as drivers for Tourism: the unique experience of Castelbuono’s “Carapace” Winery

Batutta Reisen look to branch into wine tourism at IWINETC 2012

Marcus Knüppel, Head of Department, North Italy for Swiss agency Batutta Reisen, offers his clients exotic vacations all across the globe. At this year’s International Wine Tourism Workshop, Mr. Knüppel is seeking to expand his services into Italy’s renowned wine regions. We took a few moments to ask Mr. Knüppel what drew him to wine tourism and how his unique travel experience influences his perception of wine tourism.

1. What are you hoping to gain from the workshops and meetings at the International Wine Tourism Workshop?

New contacts to wine producers and local operators/foreign operators, restaurants with a focus on wine and food specialities of Umbria. The new contacts in combination with a better knowledge of the products will help us to improve our business. 

2. Service-Reisen, your agency, hasn´t yet branched into wine tourism. what drew you to wine tourism? Why now?

Our focus lies on  leisure and cultural groups but we are also organising package travel for clubs and societies, special arrangements also for wine tour operators. With new contacts and ideas from the educational tour we  hope to increase the number of special  interest groups in wine and enograstonomic travel. 

3. Service-Reisen offers a variety of exotic trips across the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe. How do you plan to integrate Italian wine holidays into your portfolio?

Italy is already a  big market for our company.  Every year Service-Reisen sends 1300-1500 groups to Italy. We sell these trips  to  our clients  (tour operators in Germany , Austria, Switzerland and other foreign countries). We are still organizing  group travel  in this market. 

4. What do you think makes wine tourism extraordinary?

Wine is a piece of pleasure and life culture .  

5. After the conference, you´re headed to Umbria from the 2nd to the 5th of February. Why did you choose to explore this region?

Umbria is a beautiful region to the south of Tuscany. In group tourism the demand for group trips to Umbria isn’t as high as for Tuscany and we try to evaluate new programme ideas like a combination of wine, food and culture.

Service-Reisen, Switzerland to attend IWINETC 2012Service-Reisen is the market leader for package tours in Germany. At Service-Reisen 140 professionals are working in the area of travel organisation. Our customers are coach tour operators and travel agents in Germany and neighboring countries.

Company profile: Our customers are coach companies, travel agents, community colleges, church groups and clubs, mainly from Germany, Switzerland and Austria. In 2010 we have been certified by SQ Deutschland – a leading service quality inspection authority – and have been continuously refining our selection of service providers. The result of this is the ability to work more closely and more intensively with the selected partners thus improving the working relationship on both sides.

To meet Marcus and learn more about Batutta Reisen, join the 300 other attendees at the International Wine Tourism Conference & Workshop 2012!

Tuscany a blank spot for travel agent Sport + Reisen

Thomas Schilde, owner of Sport+Reisen travel agency in Germany, has long been exploring European wine regions. This seasoned veteran is a return guest at this year’s International Wine Tourism Conference & Workshop in January. Recently, we caught up with Thomas about his unique experiences in wine travel (the good and the bad), and which wines he enjoys most. 

What do you hope to gain at this year’s International Wine Tourism Workshop? 

I hope to meet colleagues to discuss new projects and to get new ideas for my business.

You have extensive experience with wine travel in Germany, Austria, Spain and France. What challenges do you anticipate encountering in Italy? 

The problems will be similar to Spain and France. The customers mostly don’t speak the language and have problems understanding the knowledge the winery wants to transfer to them. Also, the wines and wine regions of Italy are not as well known, with the exception perhaps of Barolo.

Considering your experience with wine, what are your favorite wine destinations and why? 

I’m from Germany, so I like German wines. I think they’re some of the best in the world. I personally very much like wines from South Africa. But there are very good wines all over the world, you only have to try them.

Adventure tourism seems to be your company’s specialty. How do you integrate wine into this type of travel? 

“Adventure” is too much. I integrate wine and gourmet events in extraordinary settings. I combine events with stays in excellent hotels in the Alps, or integrate it into city travels or sport programs. So wine tastings are a normal part of any of my programs.

After the workshop, you’re headed to Tuscany from the 2nd-5th of February. Why did you choose to explore this region? 

Tuscany is one of the blank spots on my personal world map. I expect to discover good food and good wines and good gourmet places and event locations there. Tuscany is one of the favorite destinations in Italy for German travelers.

To meet Thomas and learn more about Sport+Reisen, join the 300 other attendees at the International Wine Tourism Conference & Workshop in January 2012!

Wine & travel bloggers to experience an Umbrian tasting dinner at Goretti

Wine and travel writers will descend on Perugia for the 2012 International Wine Tourism Conference & Workshop. Prior to the conference they will visit Orvieto, Montefalco and Torgiano. Post Conference trip will take them to discover the wines of Campania. During the 3 days of conference they will be at it again with a packed evening programme of activities. One of which will be a visit to nearby Goretti.

The vineyards of ‘Azienda Agricola Goretti’ stretch over the gently rolling Umbrian hillsides on the outskirts of Perugia city. The Goretti estate is dominated by a twelve-century tower which is of historical interest and it is now used for wine tastings.

Goretti visit in IWINETC 2012 visit programmeThe Gorrotti family run winery produces approximately 360,000 bottles (about 30.000 cases) of exceptional wine each year. Their award winning vineyards yield white, red and rosé wines. They also produce sparkling wines, Vinsanto, Novello, three types of grappa, 20-year-old Brandy, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey.
Umbria is a region of great historical significance to central Italy because of the influences of both the Etruscan and Roman people. There is a 14th century tower located on the winery’s property. Goretti vineyards are located in the heart of an area classified as “D.O.C. Colli Perugini”, as well as in an area classified as “Montefalco D.O.C.G.”, where the celebrated Sagrantino di Montefalco wines are produced.

Goretti visit in IWINETC 2012 visit programmeThe Goretti cellars have been handed down from father to son for four generations, making them yet another family owned and operated producer of top-quality wines. Oenologists, Vittorio Fiore and Barbara Tamburini, are involved in every stage of the wine-making process, from grape selection to bottling, the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work.

Fruit of Goretti’s hard work has been recognised internationally by well known publications such as Wine Speactator and Decanter.:

Some of Gorreti wines include: • Sagrantino D.O.C.G (the big Red of Montefalco), Grape Variety: 100% Sagrantino, • L’Arringatore D.O.C., (Red Colli Perugini), Grape Variety: Sangiovese 60%, Merlot 30%, Ciliegiolo 10%, • Red Montefalco D.O.C., Grape Variety: 60% Sangiovese, Merlot 20%, Sagrantino 20%, • Il Moggio I.G.T, White wine – Grechetto, • Grechetto D.O.C., (White Colli Perugini), Grape variety: Grechetto 100%, Chardonnay D.O.C., (White Colli Perugini), Grape variety: Chardonnay 100%, Torre del Pino D.O.C., (White Colli Perugini), Grape Variety: Trebbiano Toscano 50%, Grechetto 30%, Chardonnay 20%, Grappa di Sagrantino,  Grappa di Grechetto  & Brandy – aged 20 years

But don’t worry if you are not on the Blogger/Media group! A visit to Goretti is also available as an option in a packed social programme during the 3 day conference. Sara Goretti will will be leading wine lovers through the winery and finishing up with a tasting and food matching extravaganza.

Discover Italy with Vineyard Adventures

Robbin Gheesling founded Vineyard Adventures in 2007, a wine & culinary tour company focusing on some of the best boutique wineries and food producers in Italy.  Robbin has mastered the art of Campania, Piedmont and Tuscany and shares her knowledge to Italian wine lovers all over the globe in her 5 star tours through the beautiful countrysides of Italy.  Vineyard Adventures caters to all tourists alike, from the overplanner and the last minute traveler!  As an active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the Society of Wine Educators, and having received the Christine Ansbacher Wine Educator Award winner from Les Dames d’Escoffier, Robbin is an unquestionably well versed educator in the wine industry!

As one of the speakers at the 2012 International Wine Tourism Conference, we had the opportunity to speak with Gheesling about wine tourism and wine education in Italy.  Below are Gheesling’s responses to our questions:

1.  What inspired you to start your own tour company in Italy? 

For me, it is the basic attitude towards food & wine. Although supermarket shopping is becoming more commonplace, no matter what is on the table it is still to be shared amongst family and friends. I think this attitude of sharing creates the foundation of an excellent culinary tourism experience.

2.  In the 2012 Conference you will be talking about education for those in the wine tourism business, how much should the tourist expect their guide to know when visiting wineries? 

Part of my discussion will be that “wine tourism” is so new that the average tourist doesn’t know what to expect. However, the onus of managing expectations lies with both parties. For the most part, wineries do not have open tourist hours. When a visitor calls to make an appointment, it is the responsibility of the winery to have a conversation with the visitor to see what they are expecting. It is also the responsibility of the visitor to know in advance what kind of visit they would like to have in order to seek out the right type of winery.

3.  With so many different types of wine and food certifications available, what is the most important thing for an industry professional to consider to maximize their time and money? 

A professional seeking a certification should really be forward thinking about their career, not just what the next job offer wants from them. For example, if the dream job is to be a sommelier in a high-end restaurant, contact wine directors of these establishments and ask about their career paths and what they suggest. For me, I was overwhelmed by the idea of self-study. I would stand in the wine aisle of the bookstore not know which end of the elephant to bite off first. I knew I was going to be working for myself so I didn’t have a boss requiring a particular kind of certification. I chose to take a course to help guide me through the process. I will discuss why I chose the program I did during my talk.

4.  What are you most interested in learning about in this years conference?

I am most interested in having discussions with other people who are forging new paths in culinary tourism. Quite a few principles of general tourism can be applied to wine touring but I still think that this niche market has the ability and opportunity to do things differently.

5.  What is your favorite Italian wine to drink at the dinner table?

Whatever is in the glass in front of me!

Join theInternational Wine Tourism Conference and network with Robbin and 200 – 300 more attendees. Robbin will be delivering a talk at the Wine Tourism Conference titled: Is formal wine education important for tasting room or tour guide staff?