Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC) 2019 early bird registration open!

Wine and Culinary Tourism Professionals can now register online to attend the International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC 2019), the leading global event for the wine and culinary tourism industry, taking place from the 12th  – 13th March in the Green Capital Vitoria-Gasteiz in the province of Álava, Basque Country.

Attendees can register here and benefit from the early bird rate which ends 31 August 2018!

The 2019 edition of IWINETC has so much to offer and there are some exciting new enhancements too… all to be revealed soon! As well as networking face-to-face with over 300 wine and culinary tourism professionals from across the world, the IWINETC conference programme will be bursting with inspiration and ideas to help attendees enhance their career and transform their businesses.

Call for Speakers

Talk proposals for the International Wine Tourism Conference 2019 should include a title and short abstract outlining the main aspects of the presentation and its relevance to the field of wine and/or culinary tourism. Submit a talk proposal here

Exhibit at IWINETC & Show your grape escape destination to the World

For IWINETC 2019 there will an exhibition area for conference delegates to discover grape escape destination and wines from around the world. Participating as an exhibitor will ensure reaching 300+ delegates expected to attend as well as connecting with tour operators and travel agents from around the world. Exhibitor info here>>

Invited Buyer applications are open

The tailored programmes offered to agents earlier this year in Hungary received high praise for their focus on buyer’s needs and encouraged quality appointments with exhibitors and Workshop participants. For 2019, these programmes will offer buyers even more flexibility on their attendance and key education and networking opportunities relevant to their role and business.

Find out more about attending as a Buyer>>

 Find out about attending the B2B Workshop as a Wine Tourism Experience Provider>>

As the team work hard to make next year’s IWINETC the best yet, make sure you keep up to date with the latest news and important information on LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook.

5 Things Not to Miss on Your Basque Country Wine Tour

So you’re considering a grape-themed visit to the Basque Country, but realised that you don’t really know where to start when exploring this fascinating province of Spain. Well, fear not, we have you covered! Here, we’ll point you in the direction of five fascinating things to see and do while you’re there – some you may have heard of, and some will hopefully be new and open your eyes to what this region has to offer…


Vitoria is a unique and often-overlooked gem just waiting to be discovered, with a beautifully well-preserved centre dating back to the 1500s – well worth a wander. Contrasting with this, Vitoria is also looking to the future both with its development and its environmental credentials, being named ‘European Green Capital 2012’, offering a green belt approaching 1000km2. Not to be missed are the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca (the old city square), beautiful and surrounded by multiple bars waiting to serve you up some delicious local wine, Calle Eduardo Dato for pintxos and people-watching and the striking Artium Museum of modern art, or try to make it there for one of the city’s festivals to really see it come alive!

Rioja Alavesa

Rioja Alavesa features more hectares of vineyard than inhabitants, making it simple to see what drives the local economy. There is now also a thriving wine tourism industry, with wine lovers from all over the world descending on the region, which is dotted with quaint towns and countless bodegas in which to break up your trip and sample the local nectar. While some of these wineries are in ancient caves, others are stunning avant-garde marvels and worth a visit not only for the wine but also for the striking architecture – for example, Bodegas Ysios features design by the renowned Calatrava, or from the Marqués de Riscal winery, you can see a hint of the Guggenheim design next door. For more visit ideas visit the Rioja Alavesa Wine Route


A town not to miss on your trip through Rioja Alavesa, Laguardia was known as the Guardian of the Navarre thanks to its hilltop location, and is now a great place to enjoy on its own merits as well as a handy base for wider exploration of the region’s wineries. The old town is picturesque, charming, car-free and compact, making it a wonderful spot for a stroll – or to witness bull running and dancing during the festivals of late June! The tourist office can provide you a list of all local wineries to help you plan your extended visit, and if you want to pick up some related gifts, there are plenty of delightful shops on the Calle Mayor catering to your needs.


As a region where food is the number one priority, it would be wrong to visit the Basque Country without letting your taste buds loose, and besides, you need something wholesome to go with all that lovely wine! The region is famous for its pintxos (pronounced “pinchos”), the mouth-watering bites available in virtually every bar, as well as myriad other dishes, big and small. Just a few specialities to get your mouth watering are chuletón, a beef chop freshly grilled and often priced by weight (it’s big!); txistorra is a Basque twist on the well-known chorizo, often served as a pintxo; txangurro is spider crab, again often found in pintxos in coastal towns and txipirones are baby squid, a popular part of coastal lunches. Every town and every café or restaurant will have its own specialities, so it’s well worth asking.


Don’t worry if you’ve not heard of it – Txakoli is traditionally a lightly sparkling white wine, and is rarely found outside the Basque region. These days, you can also find still Txakoli alongside the sparkling variety, and it is a common accompaniment to a pintxo or two in the evening. Made primarily from hondarribizuri and hondarribibeltza grape varieties, Txakoli is currently produced by 24 wineries, and you can even sometimes find a red version. If you’re visiting the Gipuzkoa or Biskaya areas, be sure to look out for this unique local wine!

Hopefully this has whet your appetite for some of the delights you can find in the Basque Country. Now, it’s over to you – all that remains is to pack your bags and start exploring for yourself!

The 2019 and 11th edition of the International Wine Tourism Conference will take place in the Basque Country at the Palacio de Congresos Europa, Vitoria-Gasteiz on  the 12th and 13th March 2019. It’s the perfect setting to gain knowledge, improve business connections, network and discover Rioja Alavesa and Txakolí wines and the Basque Country as a grape escape destination.

Tim Hall
Travel Blog Writer>>

Basque Country to host the 2019 edition of IWINETC 

The finale of the second day of IWINETC 2018 saw a delegation from the Basque Country (Euskadi) take the stage as it took over the IWINETC reins from the Budapest team that more than lived up to reputation of fine Hungarian hospitality.

An enthusiastic audience welcomed the official announcement that the Euskadi-Basque Country will be the host and destination for the 2019 edition of IWINETC. Alfredo Retortillo, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Consumer Affairs, Euskadi-Basque Country, whet participants palates with a taste of what to expect. He highlighted the fact that Euskadi-Basque Country has the highest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants on the planet, with 31 packed into a relatively small area that can be traversed in just two hours and is home to two million inhabitants.

The conference action of the 2019 edition of edition of IWINETC will take place in the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz on March 12-13 in the stunningly designed Palacio de Congressos. The city’s mayor, Gorka Urtaran, was one of the delegation members to make it over to Budapest.There will also be two days of excursions into Rioja Alavesa, the Rioja sub-region that lies in the Basque Country.

Rioja Alavesa is the smallest of the three Rioja sub-regions but it is very much a case of small is beautiful. It is noted for its excellent wines, as well as for its picturesque landscapes, delicious food and ground-breaking winery architecture. The latter includes the remarkable Marques de Riscal Hotel by Frank Gehry, who put the Basque Country on the architectural map with his design of Bilbao’s Guggenheim museum. There’s a strong resemblance between these two landmark buildings. Another contemporary classic is the wonderfully wavy Bodegas Ysios, designed by Santiago Calatrava. A further masterpiece of modern architecture in Rioja Alavesa is the glass box structure of Bodgeas Baigorri, built and designed by Basque architect Iñaki Aspiazu.

Rioja Alavesa lies above the River Ebro and is the northernmost of the three sub-regions with its vineyards typically located at high altitudes, making for cooler climatic conditions to the rest of Rioja. A tasting of Rioja Alavesa’s mainly red wines (although there was also one white from made from the Viura grape) at IWINETC revealed the trademark cool classiness associated with this part of Rioja. Incidentally, Rioja Alta is also home to seven producers of Txacoli. This über fruity dry white, which is often slightly sparkling, is fast gaining attention on the international stage and will also feature in IWINETC 2019. Stand by for further bulletins as the programme for 2019 is prepared. Over to the Basque Country for what will be the 11th edition of IWINETC!

Robert Smyth

Robert Smyth is a Budapest-based wine journalist, writer and communicator. He is the author of Hungarian Wine: A Tasting Trip to the New Old World (Blue Guides, 2015). He has been been covering wine for more than 15 years and writes on Hungarian and international wine for the Budapest Business Journal (BBJ),, VinCE Magazin and Wine Connoisseur,  among others. He’s also served as deputy editor of the Circle of Wine Writer’s Update and edited David Copp’s Wines of Hungary and contributed to the same author’s Tokaj: a companion for the bibulous traveller. He holds the WSET Diploma and Advanced certificates from London’s Wine and Spirit Education Trust, run tastings for Tasting Table and also guide tours for Taste Hungary. He regularly judges at Hungarian and international competitions and also translates wine text from Hungarian to English.


….and that was IWINETC 2018 Hungary

The 10th anniversary of IWINETC was a truly memorable edition with three awesome days packed full of education, business, and networking.

A big thank you to the team at the Hungarian Tourism Agency who made the event such a huge success.

Before we get going on the 2019 edition of IWINETC in the Basque Country, we’d first like everyone to have a look at our pick of the highlights from IWINETC 2018 Hungary. Check out our video below and if you attended you might spot yourself enjoying the #iwinetc!

Here’s to a fantastic IWINETC 2019!

What a Fantastic IWINETC!

The IWINETC 10TH Anniversary has been just great….

IWINETC 2018 has now closed. A whole year of planning resulted in a truly memorable event for all involved. We wanted to thank all participants for taking the time to attend, and a special mention goes to our Premium Sponsor, The Hungarian Tourism Agency and to all of their partners and sponsors for their continuous support.

Here are a few facts and figures:

  • 307 international industry professionals representing 29 different countries.
  • 860 one to one meetings took place at the Wine Tourism B2B Workshop between trade providers and agents from around the world
  • Over 12 networking opportunities in only 3 days
  • Over 300 unique attendees to 23 conference talks, panels discussions and workshops in just 2 days
  • 3 Fam Trips for Agents and Media to 6 different wine regions each with an intense programme of 10 visits to wine tourism experience providers such as accommodation, museums, restaurants and wineries.
  • 2019 will see IWINETC travel to Spain’s Basque Country on the 12 and 13 March in the Palacio de Congreso, Vitoria- Gasteiz

A big thank you to all attendees who made the journey to be with IWINETC 2018 Hungary.

Here’s to a fantastic IWINETC 2019!




IWINETC Highlights day 3

It’s been another fantastic day at IWINETC 2018! Outstanding destinations, unique wineries and innovative trade suppliers from diverse grape escape destinations such as Armenia, Bulgaria, Champagne, Czech Republic, Italy, Moldova, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay and of course  hosts, Hungary came together at the IWINETC B2B Wine Tourism Workshop to meet international Tour Operators and Agents with a specific focus on wine tourism in their business.

The B2B Workshop was held in the The Pesti Vigadó Concert Hall located on the Danube embankment in the heart of the capital city of Hungary, with its imposing building and magnificence. Built in 1865 and designed by Frigyes Feszl, Vigadó used to house decisive cultural and social events of its age it proved to be the perfect choice for the best business and best networking.

Meanwhile a number of conference delegates went out of town to discover Eger as a grape escape destination. Eger is the home of the celebrated Egri Bikavér (Bull’s Blood) – a blend of local red grape varieties such as Kékfrankos, Kadarka and international ones such as Pinot Noir and Cabernets. Tour highlights include blending your own cuvée of Bikavér, 3 visits to the best vintners in the Eger region, lunch in Eger followed by climbing up a cobblestoned road to Eger Castle where you can get the best view of the beautiful baroque architecture of the city of Eger.

The evening saw agents head off on a 3 day Fam Trip to discover Hungary as a grape escape destination with one group heading north of the River to Eger and Tokaj and the other heading south to Szekszárd and Villány.

IWINETC Highlights day 2

It’s been another great day at IWINETC 2018 Hungary . Here are just a few highlights…

  • The Theme “Deliciously Hungary” was taken to a higher level at yesterday’s networking evening at the Lázar Equestrian Park Horse Show, Dinner and Tasting.
  • The Conference Programme began with a plenary session led by Paul Richer, Travel in the Digital World giving delegates food for thought for the future in the wine travel industry. Back by popular demand saw Robin Shaw and Judith Lewis each deliver two outstanding talks of immediate practical use. The day finished with the official announcement that the Basque Country will be the host and destination for the 2019 edition of IWINETC and this was well received by the audience. Then followed a presentation from Alfredo Retortillo, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Consumer Affairs, Euskadi-Basque Country who gave us a taste of things to come.
  • The Exhibition area proved once again very popular with conference delegates providing the chance to discover diverse grape escape destinations and wines from not only hosts Hungary but also from different destinations in and around Europe

The Networking evening was varied with many delegates opting for a wine tasting dinner at the Budapest’s Tasting Table.

IWINETC Highlights day 1

It’s been a great day at IWINETC 2018! Here are just a few highlights we wanted to share with you…

  • New connections were made throughout the evening yesterday during the IWINETC Welcome Reception and dinner hosted by our Premium Sponsor, The Hungarian Tourism Agency with the theme “Deliciously Hungary” taking place on the River Danube aboard the Europa Boat.
  • The Exhibition area proved very popular with conference delegates featuring exciting diverse grape escape destinations such as Armenia, Greece, Italy, Spain and of course from hosts Hungary showing wines and grape escape options from Eger, Lake Balaton, Tokaj and Villány
  • As part of the Conference Programme, Zsombor Gál of the Hungarian Tourism Agency  uncorked IWINETC  with an overview of Hungary as a Grape escape Destination and this was followed by the  highly topical session – How to Thrive in the New Tourism Economy delivered y Felicity Carter of Wine Business International. Integrating Wine into a wider Cultural Context. The Importance of Wine Festivals was chaired by Master of Wine Elizabeth Gabay and discussed, with the help of 3 panel members the need to retain the attraction of wine festivals. 6 highly informative and directly relevant talks for the wine and culinary tourism industry later,  saw the long awaited Wines of Hungary Grand Tasting led by Master of Wine Ronn Wiegand and Agnes Herczeg of Fine Wine Consulting.

The Networking evening took place at the Lázár Equestrian Park where conference delegates were treated to a spectacular Hungarian Horse Show and later put on a few kilos after a massive traditional Hungarian feast all matched with Wines of Hungary.

It’s the final countdown!

Next Monday the global Wine and Culinary Tourism industry will arrive in Budapest to connect, learn, share and secure valuable business connections at the International Wine Tourism Conference, Exhibition and Workshop (IWINETC). We are so proud that we make those connections possible and that we’ll be bringing over 300 industry professionals together for three exciting days for the best education, the best business and best networking.

Upon arrival conference delegates will receive  a Budapest Welcome Pack: – an attractive bag with a little Budapest key holder and useful brochures courtesy of the BFTK Budapest Festival and Tourism Centre – the official Budapest Tourism Board

Budapest Festival and Tourism Centre also offer the official city card, the BUDAPEST CARD with a 10 % discount to all IWINETC Conference Delegates. Delegates wishing to explore Budapest after the event can get The Budapest Card online with a special promo code: IWINETC2018 and can be picked up at our Budapestinfo Point offices at the airport or in the city centre until 30th April 2018.


Be prepared to get maximum value from IWINETC 2018…

The International Wine Tourism Conference, Exhibition and Workshop (IWINETC) uncorks on the 9th April at 19.15 with the IWINETC Welcome Reception and Dinner aboard the Europa Boat sponsored by the Hungarian Tourism Agency, Premium sponsor for the event

To get the very best from IWINETC on the 10 and 11 April you need to plan a bit.

The 10th anniversary of the IWINETC sees new and enhanced features, designed to help you have a great conference experience and here are the absolute must-do’s:

You will find everything you need in the Conference programme so to maximise your time at IWINETC, check out the programme and start planning your IWINETC today.