Friuli Venezia Giulia to host IWINETC 2013 Blogger – Media Fam Trip

12 influential wine and travel writers (blogs & traditional media) will be travelling to Zagreb to participate and cover the 5th International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC) to be held in the delightful Regent Esplanade Hotel, Zagreb, Croatia.

The conference programme promises to every bit as exciting as the previous conferences with talks including case studies on wine tourism in Australia, Chile, Italy, India, France, Nova Scotia, South Africa and Spain. The event will bring together wine and tourism professionals from around the world to discuss, reflect on, develop ideas and network face to face.

IWINETC Blogger Media trip 2013 heads for FriuliThe Strada del Vino e Sapori Friuli Venezia Giulia will be our main sponsor for the post conference Blogger-Media Fam Trip and will take the group to see the Collio – Isonzo  wine regions with wine tours complemented with visits to restaurants, hotels and places of cultural interest such as Cormóns. A whole day will also be dedicated to visiting the Colli Orientali del Friuli with a special meeting in the beautiful Vividale del Friuli (made a UNSECO world heritage site this year) with wine producers at the Colli Orientali del Ramandolo which provides DOC certification to members.

Culinary delights will not be overlooked with lunches and dinners scheduled in elegant restaurants in Sacile, Spilimbrgo and Cividale del Friuli.

The Movimento del Turismo del Vino (MTV) was our Premium Sponsor for  IWINETC 2012 held in Perugia, Umbria and we are pleased to receive the continued MTV Friuli -Venezia Giulia support at the annual platform for wine and culinary tourism professionals worldwide.

IWINETC 2013 Conference Registration is open

IWINETC Special Interest Groups

IWINETC receives fairly frequent requests from wine & culinary tourism professionals from around the world with respect to the existence and/or setting up of Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

The aim of an IWINETC Special Interest Groups would be to extend the work of IWINETC into several specialist areas, to enable professionals with special interests in specific areas of wine and culinary tourism to benefit from information, news, developments, events and workshops.

Each Special Interest Group would aim to provide its members with several useful newsletters each year. Newsletters would include cutting edge articles in the field, while informing the membership about the content of conferences and day events which members may have not been able to attend.

Each Special Interest Group would aim to organize up to 3 events per year. These events would involve speakers and workshops.

In addition, there would be other benefits which vary from SIG to SIG: Websites/Blogs, social media groups and channels, scholarships etc

Special Interest Groups would be run by IWINETC partners

So which SIGs should we consider setting up if any? Your suggestions would be most welcome.

Wine Tourism – can any topic be nicer to research?

We came across Hanne Kröger on the Linked in Group Wine and Culinary Tourism Worldwide where she posted a request for wine tourists to complete a survey in an  attempt to find out what they perceive to be important when visiting a wine region with emphasis on whether they think that sustainability of the wine regions should be promoted.

We recently chatted to Hanne and ask her to introduce herself and tell us more about her research.

Wine and travel have always been two of my main interest areas. This fact led to choosing an undergraduate program in tourism management in order to make my passion my job. However, I quickly realized that I would like to be deeper involved in research and continued my professional career with a university degree in business. Relatively fast I noticed that I miss the tourism aspect in my education. That was the time I had to choose a topic for my master thesis. I kept hearing I have to choose a topic that I am passionate about in order to stay motivated since a master thesis is a long process. After brainstorming with my professor, we came up with a combination between the tourism field and my passion for wine. In addition I wanted to research a topic that I thought could change the world a little bit in the right direction. For this reason I added sustainability as my major research aspect in the thesis.

My survey aims to find out which wine region features are perceived to be important by wine tourists. In addition, I would like to research whether and how wine tourists would like to be informed about sustainability of wine regions. Promotional strategies for wine regions should be possible to be developed with the results of this survey.

Overall I am very lucky to be able to research something that is so close to my leisure interest. Moreover, I might even get the chance to continue the research as a doctoral study which would be a dream come true. I would like to thank all participants who take the time to be part of this study and help to understand the wine tourist a little bit better. 

Hanne Kröger – University of Amsterdam, 2012

Join the discussion Wine and Culinary Tourism Worldwide

Join us at IWINETC 2013 Croatia for business, education and networking

Networking with Benefits – another IWINETC Success Story

The International Wine Tourism Conference & Workshop (IWINETC) is not only about the latest trends and news in wine tourism it also offers attendees networking opportunities to build business relationships and meet potential partners.  In addition to the organized Wine Tourism workshop that allows wine tourism providers to meet one-on-one and make commercial contacts with tour operators and travel agents specialized in wine and culinary tourism, IWINETC offers all attendees networking opportunities to build business relationships and meet potential partners.

Past attendee Marcy Gordon, who was a conference speaker in Portugal and Umbria, met Jane Gregg, owner of Epicurean Ways in Porto in 2011 and developed a tour offering wine, food, and travel writing called Writing Away in Spain. The 8-day tour will run this October in the Priorat region and Barcelona featuring Ms. Gordon as one of the writing instructors.

Beyond the daily coffee & lunch breaks, the evening wine and food orientated social programs are ideal to meet fellow attends in a relaxed setting. Many attendees list the people they meet at the conference as one of the leading reasons they attend. So bring your business cards and take the time to meet your fellow attendees, you never know what may develop.

Make the travel effort and reap the benefits at IWINETC 2013

Marcy Gordon – Come for the Wine

Should we bother with wine tourism? If so how do we get them to visit our region?

The purpose of this talk is twofold. Firstly, it sheds light on the question Wine Tourism. Should we bother? Secondly, it demonstrates how wine experience tourism providers can gain new customers and keep existing ones loyal with little or no monetary cost.

In 2011 the Great Wine Capitals Global Network published a market survey titled Financial Stability and Viability of Wine Tourism Business in the GWCN which includes Cape Town, Bordeaux, Florence, Mendoza, Mainz, Rioja, Porto and Napa Valley.

The figures

Great Wine Capitals Gloal NetworkOld world have a wine tradition the goes back to the 17th century while New World wine cities as the term suggests have a younger wine tradition that goes back to the 90’s. Data gathered reveals that wine tourism in both New and Old world dates back to the 90’s

The number of tourists per year reaches its peak in summer, which does not come as a surprise (70.5% of the visitors) Well it does come as a surprise to me as summer for Wine Pleasures is low season. High season being March to June and September to November. Why? From our own research i.e. asking our customers the answer is that a wine tour is a second holiday taken by adults and without the kids. Summer holidays are spent with the whole family and probably by the sea.

Can you estimate the average spending of each visitor?

The average spending per visitor is between 30 and 200 US$ (depends of course on the region)  200$ Florence, 188$ Napa, Rioja 30$ – that’s probably because Spain doesn’t charge for the visit!

Which are the most important benefits that wine tourism brings to your winery and region?

68, 9% Improve image, 61, 9% Increase revenue, 35, 6% increase employment


Wine Tourism with Wine PleasuresMost promotion is done through the Tourist Information Office (68%), wine tasting events (63, 7%), mailings/newsletters (61%) Traditional advertising is low – 28.6%

28, 4% said that the most effective promotion was in coming travel agents and tour operators.

Activities offered by the wineries are often limited to tasting (83, 1%), and guided visits (74, 9%), only 40% provide food facilities and less than 30% can offer accommodation.

Only in the New World regions the use of social media is widely used. Old Worlds destinations seem to be more attached to a traditional promotion based on wine tasting events and participating in trade fairs.

Wine Sales

What % of your income comes from wine sales and wine tourism?

77, 90% wine sales, 19, 45% tourism activity. Tourists pay for the activity and then they may buy the wine.

What is the most important distribution channel for your wines?

32, 1% direct sales at the winery, 18% Restaurant or Hotel, 16, 8% wine shop.

Do you consider your wine tourism activities as financially viable?

Wine Tourism with Wine PleasuresMajority said yes. Napa 100% yes

63.3% said that wine tourism activities are a good alternative to face economic crisis periods. A good example of this is the MICE market. Gone are days of looking abroad for a foreign destination to hold a MICE activity. Many companies look at something closer to home – wineries make excellent venues for corporate events – team building, meetings and so on.


  • Wine tourism activities seem to be not only sustainable but viable
  • Wine tourism income is steadily growing in each member city
  • New World is taking better advantage from the new technology promotion tools while in the Old World there is suspicion towards the new media
  • Income from wine tourism represents around 20% of total winery income but this figure does not take into account the wine sales that are generated later.
  • Wine tourism is above all a major marketing tool that should be 100% integrated in the commercial strategies of the wineries as the impact is so important for their image around the world.

So how do we attract more wine tourists to our region and business?

While there are hundreds of marketing tools we can use we believe there are only two effective ones:

  1. Run a web site 2.0 and get your messages to your target audience via Social Media
  2. Fam Trips for Tour Operators, Press and Bloggers
  1. Web 2.0 - What's that?Web site 2.0 – what’s that?

The internet has been around for some 30 or so years now. Until recently we had the Web 1.0 where content was static and in the most unchanging. Web pages were passive. Web 2.0 is active allowing for bidirectional dynamic and interactive dialogue. If your web site is not 2.0 then you are losing out on creating a relationship with the end user, or rather your customer, the one that stays in your hotel, eats in your restaurant, visits your museum, goes on a wine country bike tour, visits your winery and buys your wine or olive oil.

1.1 How do we connect with our existing and future customers?

WIne BlogBlogs. Wine and travel related blogs are abound on the internet and as today’s consumer turns more and more to the internet for information he or she is more likely to find a wine blog on say Istria than by searching traditional media such as travel magazines. So if your aim is to brand and market your business to potential customers then you need to get your messages on the first page of a Google search. Running a blog is the one way to do this.

1.2 What is a Blog?

A blog is a dynamic web site which you can manage yourself. Indeed, it is desirable that you do manage it yourself rather than contracting someone to do it for you. By posting information on your blog you can get your message indexed by Google within minutes and with a bit of practice your post will appear on the first page of a Google search.

Let’s Google search a couple of examples:

Wine Tourism Croatia – Wine Tourism Istria

1.3 Blogging – some practical tips

Fantastic wines at VinistraPublish some content at least once a week. Content can be a post on “The Fantastic wines we tried at Vinistra”  “See who visited us at Vinistra”  “Meet some of the people that stayed in our Hotel during Vinistra”.  Talk to people. Interview them. Do a podcast on your iphone. Take hundreds of photos and create an album. Video interview people. Video people tasting your wines, trying your food… Publish all this on your blog and get known, generate communication and sooner or later you will generate traffic to your business and region or vice versa.

#fsd as usual in Porec, Istria, CroatiaPosts don’t have to be 400 – 600 words but can be short and sweet – It’s a fine sunny day as usual in Porec. A photo of an important sommelier trying your wines or a 2 minute podcast or video of someone giving their impressions of a horseback ride through Istrian vineyards.

Be consistent, be honest and don’t give the impression of trying to sell something. Tell stories! A funny thing happened at the winery today……What a surprise we had today…..A ghost story…

So, we have a blog up and running so how do we get people to read it?

1.4 Enter social media tools

Social Media tool boxSocial networks for wine & tourism consumers and wine & tourism professionals are online communities which allow you to connect with consumers and build relationships that lead to on the one hand new customers and on the other loyal customers.

Take a look at these *figures:

90% of online users trust recommendations from people they know
81% of social networkers have received product advice from friends and followers
74% of those were influenced by the advice
70% even trust recommendations from people they don’t know

*Source EWBC in Numbers

Within these networks your grape escape destination and all that reside within the territory (wineries, hotels, agroturismo, wine shops, restaurants, museums, service providers (bike tours, 4×4 trips, balloon, horse, walking) can become household names when people form groups around them.

Where are people forming groups?

1.4.1 Professional

Linked InLinked in has several professional groups that you should join:

Wine and Culinary Tourism Worldwide – open group to for wine tourism experience providers to network with agents and tour operators

EITBTM – closed group for MICE providers to network with buyers

International Wine Network closed group for wineries to network with importers

Travel and Tourism Industry Professionals Worldwide

There are more if you search. Why not create your own? Vinistra?

1.4.2 Social

Facebook is where everybody is so jump on and create a Fan page so you can add content (such as photos, videos or articles) to keep your fans or likees as they are known nowadays updated on your business. Create a closed Group page where members can post their own photos and texts and network with each other. The average Facebook user creates 90 pieces of content per month.

  • TwitterTwitter

Open a twitter account and join the conversation. Twitter provides a platform for you to connect and share with people interested in wine food & tourism. With very little effort you can get your message and brand out to thousands of people several times a day which in turn will generate traffic to your main web site. Twitter has some 100 million active users each month. 64 Masters of Wine (25% of all MWs) are on twitter.

  • VimeoSocial Video sites – YouTube, Vimeo

Create an account on Vimeo and then start to make some videos – share your winemaking philosophy, show them how to make a typical local dish, explain why your wines match a known dish, a tour around the hotel kitchen chatting to the chefs, a How to video.. How to open a bottle of sparkling wine, how to taste wine……how to find white truffles….

Once you have created your video you can then embedded them on your own blog posts on your own websites. Create an account on You Tube and upload your video for added exposure.

  • Some tips
    • Social is the key word here – be social – comment on other people’s blogs and chat using social media tools
    • Use day-to-day language. Forget the corporate spiel
    • Getting started can be tough and lonely on the social media. Be patient (give yourself 4 months or so) and build up connections without being in a rush. Ask someone to hold your hand!
  • Show up in GoogleShow up on Google

Type your name into Google and see who is talking about you. Many of you will see that there are people talking about you and you yourself are not. By starting a blog you’ll see your posts start to appear in Google. Talk about not only yourself  but also about other wine tourism experience providers in your territory so that when the consumers is searching for example Kabola he will find reference to Trapan in the same article.

  • Get on Skype so people can chat with you, your winemaker or your wine tourism manager
  1. Fam Trips for Tour Operators, Press and Bloggers

which way BillyFamiliarization Trips (Fam Trips, for short) for Tour Operators and Travel Agents are common practice for the travel industry. For the tourism provider it is probably by far the most cost-effective marketing tool they can invest in to gain greater market share and sales. The provider is able to appeal to the Agent’s five senses by providing culinary and cultural experiences. This kind of marketing activity aims to inspire the agent to design and develop new products using the destination and providers sponsoring the Fam Trip as well as of course helping to sell their product better.

Wines of CroatiaWith Internet, consumers are using Google and twitter as their sole source of information gathering. Traditionally, travel lovers went to their local travel agent to choose their next holiday. Nowadays they are looking through blogs, social media sites, and forums… for all sorts of information (hotels, restaurants, local transport, attractions…) on a holiday destination. FIT travelers are now able to tailor-make their own itineraries and of course book their flights directly with the airline company making the local travel agent void and useless. MICE travel is also jumping over the middle man often booking directly (and saving 15-20%) with the Hotel venue for their conferences and meetings.

Today’s Internet provides not only a wealth of information (much more than most travel agents currently provide) but also allows the user to dialogue with the blogger, asking questions, requesting further information, asking for clarification and so on. Blogging is changing the way we both find, and sift, through information about travel. With rapidly increasing numbers of travel blogs being created, people searching the net are bound to come up with a travel blog before any travel agent web site.

Blogger Fam Trip iwinetc 2012Wine Pleasures, over the last 7 years and now as part of its annual International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC) has been organizing Fam Trips for international tour operators and travel agents. In 2011 Conference (Porto, Portugal) we took an innovative step forward and created an 8 day Fam Bloggers/Media Trip which provided bloggers with an abundance of material on cultural, culinary and wine tourism. In 2012 (Perugia, Italy) we repeated the event and the results were spectacular in terms of the amount of content published internet – more than 2,000 posts have been made to date on some aspect of the Fam Trip programme – and there are still new posts to be published. That is not to mention the thousands of tweets made prior to during and after the event.

Esplanade Regent venue for iwinetc 2013IWINETC 2013 is of course coming to Croatia in 2013 from 15 – 17 March and will consist of 2 days of talks, one day workshop for wine tourism experience providers to meet with international tour operators specialized in wine and culinary tourism – Fam Trips to Istria, Dalmatia and Zagreb and Slovenia and we hope to get sponsorship to repeat a Blogger/Media Fam Trip.

Participate in this event either in person or from a distance and you will benefit. Let the opportunity pass by and you will be disappointed.

Nowadays you can control your own commercial destiny with respect to wine and culinary tourism. You don’t need to rely on journalists, wine and food critics.

To sum up

  • Wine Tourism is both sustainable and viable
  • Wine tourism should form a part of your overall marketing plan
  • Wine tourism experience providers that set up and run an active blog will win in today’s market place. Those of you who do not will lose.
  • Wine tourism experience providers who are exploiting the social media channels by conversing with wine and culinary tourism lovers will win. Those that do not will lose.

Anthony Swift Vinistra, Poreč, Istria (Croatia), Saturday 12 May 2012.


See you in Zagreb for the 5th Annual International Wine Tourism Conference & Workshop

Iwinetc Banner 2013Here are some blogs you should know about which are talking about Croatian wine and culinary tourism:

Istria Aficionado

Come for the Wine


Blue Danube Wine Company

Wines of Croatia

Taste of Croatia

There aren’t many at the moment but just wait and see how many there will be by the time the International Wine Tourism Comes round in 2013!

IWINETC 2012 feedback draw winner announced!

IWINETC 2012 attracted over 300 industry professionals to Perugia, with a total number of 253 conference delegates, 26 Bloggers, 95 workshop participants of which 40 were Hosted Buyers, an increase of 10% on 2011 (pre-audited figures). The event delivered three days of powerful business opportunities, topical education sessions, invaluable networking opportunities and over 8,000 pre-scheduled appointments organised between Hosted Buyers and wine experience providers.

Comments and feedback are important for developing the future of IWINETC and ensuring the event continues to meet delegate’s needs. So we asked all participants for their comments on the event. All feedback  received by 15 February was entered into a draw for a free registration for IWINETC 2013. And the lucky winner is……… Marijan Močivnik

Marijan is based in Slovenia and is a photographer and journalist.  He attended the very first IWINETC back in 2009. Here are the answers to a few questions we posed:

1. Could you give us your overall feedback on all aspects of IWINETC 2012? 

In general I think that conference was vey well organised, no comments on place etc, it was good. As I already mentioned, very good was the decision that English was the only official language (not as it was in 2009 in Spain – English/Spanish). Of course it is impossible to participate/follow all programme (as there are up to 3 talks at the same time (as I remember – I did not check the programme now) and in some cases up to 2 were of the same interest for me). I work in graphic design studio and we have to deal very often with the presentation of different information and I think that the programme could be better presented if made (also) in the form of table … where it is possible in one view to see what is going on where, what is to be paid separately and so on.

2. You mentioned in your feedback on IWINETC 2012 that we should include smaller countries as venues for the event. Croatia will host the 2013 edition of the conference. How much do you know about Croatia as a grape escape destination?

I know Croatia quite well, its coastal part much better than other parts. Our Vino magazine and our design studio work also with and for Croatian clients (regions, winemakers, …) and we also follow them quite intense.

3. Based in Slovenia can you tell us a little about the wines and wine tourism in your country?

I can tell a lot :-). In general: beginnings in wine-making from Roman times. Today 3 wine-growing regions (Podravje (Štajerska Slovenija and Prekmurje), Posavje (Bela krajina, Dolenjska, Bizeljsko) and Primorska (Brda (on the Italian side of the border it is called Collio), Vipava valley, Slovenska Istra (Istra on the Croatian side of the border), Kras (Carso on the Italian side …). Mostly small winemakers and few bigger cellars (up to few millions bottles per year), total annual production 80 – 100 mio l of wine, quite high consumption of wine per capita (I have to check latest data), a lot of grape varieties (some well known – sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot gris, merlot …, some more or very local (šipon, zelen, rebula, malvazija, pinela …), some traditional particularities (Cviček – light reddish (but not rose) wine made from white AND red grapes …), beside modern technology also making of so called orange wines (traditional, white grapes, long skin contact – white wines made in the way of making reds …) …

4. You write for the Revija Vino magazine. Can you talk us through the kind of content we would find and who is your readership?

It is magazine for lovers of wine, culinary arts and other delights. Contents: news, reports, interviews, opinions, selections of best wines, wine and food matching – everything from Slovenia and also from abroad… our own events for our readers, blogs on our web site … Magazine is well designed, with good photography and good contents. Definite opinion leader in the field of wine and culinary in Slovenia. Some abstracts also published in English. Readers? Demanding, mostly high educated … good paid people.

5. Finally, in which countries do you think we should consider holding the 2014 conference?


IWINETC once again upheld its reputation for delivering world-class professional education with more than 40 sessions and over 250 delegates attending the seminars. We look forward to seeing you at IWINETC 2013 from 15-17 March. Early bird registration is now open!

Photo Sparkling wine by Mary Cressler, Vindulge

Ciao Italia! Bok Croatia! Call for Papers for #IWINETC 2013

The 5th Annual International Wine Tourism Conference & Workshop 2013 Croatia organized by Wine Pleasures with the support of several public and private entities is a professional get together of a large number of wine and travel professionals from around the world to share, discuss, reflect on and develop their ideas and at the same time foster wine tourism worldwide. Dates are 15th – 17th March 2013. The event will be held in Zagreb. The drenched in history Regent Esplanade Hotel will be the venue for the Conference talk prog.

The conference format will include themed sessions, interactive workshops, panel discussions and special interest symposiums. The conference programme will also provide excellent networking opportunities as well as a chance for wine and travel professionals to get acquainted with the latest in wine, food, travel and services at a large resources exhibition.

Call for Papers

If you would like to submit a talk to be included in the Conference programme please complete the Speaker Proposal Form. Deadline to receive proposals is 30 September 2012.

Early Bird Delegate Registration Open

As every year, the conference will provide superb education, socializing, relaxation, fun and many opportunities to taste wines from Croatia and from around the world. Registration is now open and we strongly recommend that the delegates register early and take advantage of the early bird registration – offer ends 30th November or as soon as the first 100 tickets are sold!. Register here

Wine Tourism Workshop

The Workshop is a unique event which enables wine tourism experience providers to meet international tour operators and travel agents specialized in wine and culinary tourism in a business meeting format. Providers and Agents value the workshop as it is the only international event which specializes in the buying and selling of wine tourism products in a one stop cost effective setting.

All aboard the Orient Express to Zagreb’s Regent Esplanade for IWINETC 2013

5* Regent Esplanade Zagreb was built in 1925 to provide luxury accommodation for passengers of the famous Orient Express. During the sixties the hotel was the home and playground for world famous celebrities including Yul Brunner, Jack Pallance, Rosana Podesta, Belinda Lee, Anita Ekberg and Orson Wells.

Diplomats and world statesman have also wined and dined in the Esplanade. Nikita Hruschtchow, Leonid Breshnev, President Nixon, Fanfani, Edmund Kohl, and Queen Elisabeth.

Agatha Christy wasn’t the only novelist to include the hotel in a book. Elena Tessadri, a well known Italian novelist chose the Esplanade as the setting for one of her novels. Anyone know which one?

Today, the Regent continues to follow its glorious tradition by caring for the high standards of service. With the increase of tourism to Zagreb and indeed the whole of Croatia, the Regent Esplanade Zagreb makes for an ideal venue for the 5th edition of the International Wine Tourism Conference and Workshop. We look forward to welcoming you to a hotel that has been termed “the Temple of comfort and Gastronomy” from 15 – 17 March 2013.

Don’t miss the opening plenary session on Friday 15th March in the spectacular Emerald Ballroom. Early bird registration now open.