À Bientôt La Champagne! Hola Barcelona!

Missed the International Wine Tourism Conference, Exhibition & Workshop 2015 in the beautiful Champagne region of France?

Well sit back and relax and get a glimpse of some of the highlights of IWINETC 2015 in this video produced by the Champagne La Marne Tourism Office.

#IWINETC 2015 La #Champagne, France

The 8th edition of the IWINETC will take place in Catalunya, Spain on 5 – 6 April. Early bird registration is scheduled to open by 25 June 2015.  Check out the video Catalonia is Your Home>>

Hasta Pronto or Fins Aviat as they say in Catalunya!


IWINETC 2016 Destination Barcelona, Catalunya

The 7th International Wine Tourism Conference 2016 held in the La Champagne region of France was closed by making an official announcement that Barcelona will be hosting IWINETC 2016 and this was followed by a talk delivered by the General Manager of the Catalan Tourist Board, Xavier Espasa Añoveros who gave the audience a snippet of things to come next year with the slogan “Catalonia is your home”.

The talk ended with a video showing a range of tourism possibilities in the Catalonian region.

2009 saw the birth of the International Wine Tourism Conference which was held in Sitges, Catalunya. 7 years on will see the event return to Catalunya but this time with the support of both the Barcelona Province Council (Diputació de Barcelona) and the Catalan Tourist Board (Turisme Catalunya) and the Government of Catalonia (Generalitat de Catalunya).


#IWINETC 2016 “Catalonia is your home” from Wine Pleasures on Vimeo.

It’s been great – see you all next year for #IWINETC 2016 Barcelona

We hope you’ve had a great IWINETC! 

We had some fantastic sessions again today giving delegates insights and  knowledge on topics such as Iter Vitis, Vignobles et Découvertes, How to find Wine Traveler’s online and La Champagne’s initiative Young Talents in Champagne and Tourism.

For tour operators and travel agents the Grape Escape Destination talks proved popular taking us around the world to diverse wine tourism destinations such as Argentina, Georgia, Hungary and India.

The 3 course lunch with wines from Torres -Viña Esmeralda 2014 & Habitat Red 2013 gave delegates time to network and re visit the exhibitor area

The International Wine Tourism Conference was wrapped up by  IWINETC Director, Anthony Swift who began by giving great thanks to all the speakers, the media group, the Champagne Marne Tourism Office  with  particular thanks to Elisabet Vidal and Sylvie Millot for their help in the organization of the programme. Thanks were also due to all exhibitors as well, and to the Centre des Congrès staff and providers.

Swift made one final announcement that the 2016 IWINETC conference and workshop will be hosted in Barcelona and supported by the Barcelona Province Council and the Catalan Tourist Board and this announcement was well received by the audience

The podium was handed over to Xavier Espassa, General Manager of the Catalan Tourist Board to give a presentation titled Wine Country Catalonia.

And finally…

We wanted to say a personal thank you for attending IWINETC this year, and to all our partners and sponsors for their continuous support. For those of you leaving today have a safe journey home and we look forward to sharing our full event highlights, photos and videos with you in the coming weeks – so keep an eye out!

For those of you taking part in the Wine Tourism Workshop we will be getting underway with the first meeting at 09.00 so please arrive at the Reims City Hall by 08.45 latest.

For those of you participating in the Champagne tours please take lots of photos and share them with us on the FB Group page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/iwinetc or on twitter or instagram and use the #iwinetc

We look forward to seeing you again in May 2016 for IWINETC Barcelona!


IWINETC 2015 La Champagne. Round up of Day 1

It’s been a great day today at IWINETC, here are just a few of the highlights…

IWINETC Welcome Reception took place last night! Pascal Lebelle, in charge of culture and tourism in Reims  gave us all a very warm welcome and after everyone was enjoying the delicious canapés and Le Brun de Neuville Champagne Brut Cuvée Chardonnay and celebrating IWINETC 2015.

The doors opened at 08.30 this morning and the IWINETC Exhibition opened shortly after. The Conference talk programme commenced at 09.30 with welcomes from Christian Bruyen, and Jacques Meyers, and was followed by the opening plenary session La Champagne. A Sparkling Wine Tourism Destination in which, Philippe Harant, Director of the Champagne Marne Tourism Office took us along the Champagne routes of the region.

Morning coffee break gave us a chance to network, chat to exhibitors and try the famous Biscuit Roses de Reims courtesy of Maison Fossier.

The conference talk programme offered us cutting edge professional learning delivered by savvy international industry experts covering useful topics within the wine and culinary tourism industry.  The packed day of talks was interrupted by lunch where we had the chance to taste champagnes from Bonnevie Bocart and Richard-Fliniaux.

The day ended with the plenary talk, Champagne Savoir-Faire where Marie-Anne Louvet gave us a thorough understanding of the champagne world and highlighted the producers taking part in the Official IWINETC Champagne Grand Tasting which followed the talk.

In the evening some of us hopped on to a bus for dinner and champagne tasting at the Perching Bar close to Reims. For most it was the first time dining up in the trees!

Here’s what you can look forward to tomorrow…

For some of us tomorrow is sadly the final day, so don’t miss out on any of the action! Here are just a few things to look out for!

18 talks to choose from! Research Topics on Tasting rooms, converting website visitors into wine travelers (www.winetouradvisor.com), first time vs repeat visitors: types of loyalty. Grape Escape Destinations talks on Argentina, Chile, Champagne, Georgia, Hungary. Branding and Marketing experiences from Australia, Canada, France, UK & USA. Professional Development sessions on digital and social media and wine tourism product innovation.

In between talks take time to visit the exhibitor area. From 12.00 onwards there will be a chance to taste champagnes and wines from Croatia, Georgia and Italy.

Lunch will be served with wines from Torres, Spain.

At 16.30 make your way to the Auditorium for final announcements and the closing plenary session.

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow and hope you have a successful time at IWINETC 2015.

Don’t forget to follow us at www.twitter.com/iwinetc and join the conversation at #iwinetc and https://www.facebook.com/groups/iwinetc


IWINETC Doors Open Tomorrow with a Glass of Bubbly

As you arrive into Reims we just wanted to wish you a warm welcome and we are looking forward to seeing you for the first day of IWINETC 2015!

On arrival at the venue with your printed e-ticket (doors open at 08.30), you can pick up your badge, lanyard, conference catalogue, conference bag and notebook and pen.  Complimentary copies of the latest issue of Glass of Bubbly will be available at the registration desk , Before you head straight into the exhibition area, please feel free to take a copy away with you. The Glass of Bubbly magazine is currently the only dedicated publication for Champagne and sparkling wines worldwide.

At 09.30 we look forward to seeing you in the Auditorium for the Welcome and Opening Announcements and the Opening Plenary Session: La Champagne, A Sparkling Wine Tourism Destination.

View the conference programme by clicking on the front page of the Conference catalogue:

IWINETC 2015 Conference Front Cover


First-Time Versus Repeat Visitors: Different Types of Loyalty?

Natalia Velikova, Ph.D. is the Associate Director of the Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute and an Associate Professor in the Department of Hospitality & Retail Management at Texas Tech University. Her topic is “First-Time Versus Repeat Visitors: Different Types of Loyalty.” 

What do the statistics show comparing the number of local repeat visitors with the non-local repeat visitors? 

“In our study, we compared first-time and repeat visitors in terms of their loyalty to the particular brand versus local wine as a whole product category. Statistical data analysis revealed that first-time visitors are more loyal to regional wines as a whole, whereas repeat visitors – while still supportive of local wines – become more selective in terms of their loyalty to one particular brand.”

Are people who order online considered repeat visitors?

“In the context of the particular study that will be presented at the conference, visitors to a local wine festival were surveyed. A question on the questionnaire asked if this was their first time to attend the festival. Those who attended more than once were considered repeat visitors. We did not measure online purchases.

Generally speaking however, if consumers visit a tasting room and then order wine online either directly from the winery or order the winery’s brand from another retailer, such visitors can be considered repeat consumers. Online post-purchases indicate loyalty to the winery.”

Are members of a wine club considered repeat visitors?

“By the same token, when consumers visit a winery and sign up for the winery’s wine club, they indicate their loyalty to the winery.”

Do wine tourists want to be repeat visitors or do they want to travel and experience visiting more wineries?

“Wine consumers generally enjoy variety. In contrast to, say, the automobile industry where loyalty to a certain brand oftentimes is passed on to several generations in the family, wine consumers rarely stick to one particular brand. Research also shows that variety seeking increases with the increased product knowledge. In other words, the more people learn about wine, the more they are willing to try different brands.

The same applies to wine tourists. When people get interested in visiting wineries, they are willing to visit different wineries. Each visit brings a different experience and it is a collection of those experiences that tourists cherish.”

When did you first become interested in wine and why?

“I grew up in the Southwest Ukraine where wine making was (and still is) very common. Virtually every house had a small vineyard in the backyard and people traditionally made small quantities of wine for own consumption and for sharing with neighbors. Several generations of my ancestors made wine. This is the culture I grew up in. As long as I can remember myself, a dinner table is associated with a jug of homemade wine. Wine just had to be on the table, just like salt and pepper shakers. My father still makes his own wine in his cellar every September.

Many years later, I was looking for a graduate school in the US, stumbled upon the Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute, and this determined my research and teaching interests.”

Is the Texas Hill Country an international wine tourism destination? Why or why not?

“Although Texas has not been a traditional wine making region, the Texas wine industry has come a long way since its emergence in the late 1970s.  Within a relatively short time period, the number of Texas wineries increased dramatically, from 27 in 1990 to 286 wineries in 2014. The Fredericksburg area has the highest concentration of vineyards and wineries in Texas, and has been recognized as the second-most popular wine tourism destination in the U.S. More and more people are interested in visiting the region. While at the moment, the majority of the visitors are Texas residents, the region also gets popularity among out-of-state and international visitors.”

How would you advise wineries that are not in close proximity to each other, like the WOW (Texas Way Out Wineries) to increase visitors to their tasting rooms? 

“For wineries located off the beaten track, wine events, such as wine festivals or wine educational courses usually work best to attract people to tasting rooms.”

Don’t miss “First-Time Versus Repeat Visitors: Different Types of Loyalty” at the International Wine Tourism Conference 2015 in Champagne’s historic city of Reims.

IWINETC 2015 Conference Front Cover

Article by Kathy Sullivan, Wine Trail Traveler.com

Exciting & Unchartered Grape Escapes: Laos!

Laos Mood Travel is a Destination Management Company in South East Asia. The company was founded  by Laos and French expatriates. Visit the Laos Mood Travel website to explore the idea of visiting Laos and other southeast Asian countries.

Mr. Laurent GRANIER is a co-founder and general manager of Laos Mood Travel. Mr. Jean-Yves PAILLE is also a co-founder and Chief Experience Officer for the company. The travel company was one of the exhibitors at the International Wine Tourism Conference in Reims, Champagne in April 2015.

Below is an online interview with Mr. Laurent GRANIER. The photos were provided by Jean-Yves PAILLE.

What does Laos Mood Travel have to offer wine consumers?

“Absolutely tailored unique and authentic programs and itineraries.

Behind the scene access. Meeting with key people at properties (owners, vineyards managers, wine makers, site managers, chefs, etc.), that are not necessarily accessible to regular visitors. If the tour is not a mix of wine tourism combined with cultural sightseeing, then we can definitely plan pre/post wine tourism-only programs.

Endless enthusiasm!”

How do you specialize your tours for your clients? Are you able and willing to personalize a tour depending on the background of the clients?

“Yes, absolutely. This is the essence of our company, no matter the type of travel. No single program will ever look the same from one client to another.

Wine lovers’ groups vary from one to another, in size, in available time to spend on the spot, in budget, in season of travel (harvests around here are in February/March) and of course in profile: with wine producers, wine dealers, students, sommeliers or keen amateurs of wine lovers clubs for instance. So, clearly, our offer starts with a gross guideline / sample program, from which we happily tailor around, adding, amending and changing whatever needs be to fit in and match perfectly to guests’ expectations. Both wine, F&B and of course other sightseeing-wise.” 

Do you see wine tourism as increasing or decreasing? Why? 

“The wine producing industry in Thailand is merely burgeoning. It is about 25 years old for the oldest estates. So, clearly, we are still in the infancy of this interest for wine-tourism oriented sightseeing and touring.

First and above all, the vast majority of vineyards and cellars are accommodating local visitors, day trippers for most.

For instance, in Khao Yai, Hua Hin and around Pattaya (Chonburi province) areas, these are already well established tourist destinations. For whatever they have to offer: beaches, shopping malls, National Parks, golf, amusement parks, and/or nature-based activities. And it appears that some wineries are adding to the list of “things to do” for these locals, who primarily come from Bangkok, less than 3 hours drive away and looking for “green” and “different” things to do.

Wine culture is increasingly more popular in urban centres like Bangkok. Well-off people drink wine at wine bars, rooftop bars and other fancy restaurants. They enjoy their wine during weekend brunches and nowadays, purchasing wine is trendy to bring to parties and even to enjoy back home after work. So, to be honest, so far wine tourism is clearly oriented at the local market. And only very occasionally a few daring foreigners visit one or two wine properties, as a side sightseeing. But clearly, Thailand is not a Wine-tourism destination per se, recognized around the world. Imagine, even Thai people themselves do not necessarily know their country produces wine. And furthermore quality and award-winning wines! Everything is to be done under these latitudes. A small “wine trail” has been designed in Khao Yai area, but it is still pretty much confidential in a way, if we look at a big picture. There are some punctual events to bring more attention to Thai wine like Valentine’s day (that falls in harvest period usually) and some properties organize festive “Harvest Night” and other similar events to catch attraction of the media.”

How large are your tour groups? 

“Any size from 2 to 40 persons basically. From one private sedan to a coach size tour. Anything we do is absolutely customized. No tour looks like any other.

We even have come up with a fancy “private jet” version of program, where guests hop on and hop off the jet to reach the various vineyards/ wineries. Allowing 4 guests in style and their escort(s) (guide and eventually exclusive Thai wine advisor), making 6 persons total full seating capacity.”

How long do your tours last?

“Our attempts are to design tours that will give the guests a good picture of the variety of wines and wine producing regions of Thailand. So, if we cover the 6 main producing regions, I’d say that not to rush things off, you need to allocate about 12 days on the spot. More if possible. Geographically speaking, Thailand is bordering with Laos, on the other side of the Mekong River. But while Laos does not produce grapes to make wine, it appears that Thai wine producing regions are scattered around and it also makes sense to why not pass by Laos to make a loop and reach the northernmost regions of Thailand, by why not cruising up (leisurely-paced) the Mekong in Laos to reach Thailand’s Chiang Rai province and the Golden Triangle area! Where vineyards are being developed. And why not to finish in Hua Hin, with Monsoon Valley’s wines @ Hua Hin Hills and the pristine beaches on the coast.”

Are you willing to stop at an extra site provided it is open at the end of the day?

“Absolutely. But to be honest, wineries in Thailand are not plentiful like in more established wine tourism routes. They are not ‘one next to the other’. So, like I said earlier, our tours will take guests to explore the key wineries and I reckon that from scratch (planning / design phase) we (Laos Mood and the client / organizer) will build the routing and incorporate the right properties to be visited, leaving little room to additions or amendments.”

What do you feel that your tours offer that other tours do not offer?

“Our tours are comprehensive and link the various wineries to make the journey a proper “wine-oriented tour”, and not just a day trip or short weekend kind of deal. Today, what you may come across on the internet is eventually and merely sightseeing tours / day trips at the very best.

We target clientele coming from afar, primarily from Europe and the USA. With intercontinental flights, lasting between 11 and 20 hours or so! So, clearly, our approach is to design, promote, sell and operate tours for which guests will have for their money. Coming to experience Thai New Latitude Wines on the sites of production. You wouldn’t come all this way around the globe for a weekend, would you?”

Laos Mood Travel
PO Box 814
Vientiane, Laos

Article by Kathy Sullivan 
Wine Trail Traveler

Rebecca LeHeup on ‘Taste the Place’ Wine Tourism Strategy

Rebecca LeHeup is involved with the Ontario food and tourism industries.  Currently Rebecca is the Executive Director for Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA.) She has a wide range of experiences that lend great credibility to her professionalism. Rebecca has traveled widely, developed special tourism programs, and developed Culinary Tourism Management programs.

Read an interview with Rebecca LeHeup and discover someone with passion for “taste the place.”

Has the interest in Eat Local transferred to Drink Local?

“The consumer’s interest in connecting with local food has certainly broadened to include local “drink.” In Canada not only have we seen an increase of traffic to wineries and the consumption of VQA wines, we have also seen a surge in the number of craft brewers, cideries and artisan distillers. Wine-related tourism welcomes more than 3 million visitors each year, generating more than $1.2 billion annually in tourism revenue and employment. Consumers are not only looking for a unique style, they want a novel taste and a connection to place. Craft beer continues to be the fastest growing segment within the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s (LCBO) beer category, with current growth rates over 10 percent per year. As of 2014, there were 19 craft cideries in Ontario with more slated to open in 2015. Even more interesting is the growth of the artisan distiller. At a recent American Distilling Institute (ADI) conference: micro-distilleries have grown from 50 in 2005 to around 300 in 2013 (in the US), and that number could grow to 1,000 in less than 10 years. The Canadian industry is set to enjoy similar growth to that of craft beer in the ’90′s. There are over 26 micro-distilleries in Canada as of January 2015.”

What connections do you see between wine, tourism and art? 

“There is a significant connection between wine, arts and culture that can be threaded together to support tourism development and tourism destinations. Based on a Travel Activations and Motivations Study (TAMS  2006) ‘food tourists’ are 3 times more likely to attend a theatre performance or take in a historic site. In Prince Edward County, Ontario we developed the Taste Trail in 2005 and followed the same model when developing the Arts Trail in 2008. The two trails are co-branded and linked in their marketing efforts. Many of the business operators value the connection between the two trails as the traveler on both trails is often one and the same, having a value for creativity and authenticity.” 

If a winery does not have a restaurant on the property, in what ways can wine experience providers offer a wine and food experience? 

“There are a number of ways in which winery operators can add to their “taste of place” without having to invest in a restaurant on property. They can partner with a third party to set up foodservice operations – very popular in Ontario in the past several years is to bring a food truck on site for peak season. The wineries ensure that they partner with an operator that delivers a quality product that pairs with their wines. Another option is to offer foodservice that is simpler to execute such as a cheese board to pair with their wines or perhaps a cheese and charcuterie board. The key to the success of this type of “taste of place” offering is to use ingredients and artisan products from within the region of the winery, to build on the authenticity of the experience.”

How do you suggest expanding wine tourism in the off-season in cool and cold climate regions? 

“I am a firm believer in understanding your assets and those of your supporting community. Building tourism visitation off peak season is always a challenge; however, when you look at your destination through the lens of a visitor and clearly see ALL of the tourism assets, you can build product to draw people to your destination regardless of the weather. You can pair every experience with an authentic “taste of place” as every traveler has to eat, regardless of why they are visiting your destination. The example of pairing wine and art is a great one. Or building upon the uniqueness of your terroir to develop a tourism product that operates year round. In Ontario – a great example is the Apple Pie Trail. The trail connects businesses (restaurants, bakers, artists, cideries, wineries and more) that offer an authentic “apple” experience. (The region is one of the largest apple production areas in Canada.) Each season, packages and experiences from the areas natural assets (paddling, mountain biking, skiing and Scandinavian Spa) are paired with the Apple Pie Trail. Consumers are always looking for ideas and want to be told where to go and what to experience. This type of food tourism product development does just that. It gives travellers a reason to go to the Blue Mountains winter, spring, summer or fall.” 

What is the potential for Ontario to host a future IWINETC?  

“I believe there is great potential for Ontario to host IWINETC in the future. We have a wine industry that is gaining international acclaim – it continues to grow and produce world class wines and wine tourism experiences. We are a destination with a rich “culture of cultures”, our food identity is diverse just like our population. Regardless of how your taste of Ontario is influenced, when those crafting your “taste of place” use the fresh, local ingredients from the province you will be delighted! Ontario is a BIG province with many unique offerings for the international traveler. For IWINETC to come to Ontario, Canada it would give us a chance to showcase all of the good things (food, wine and ideas) that grow in Ontario.” 

What are your aims and objectives by participating at the International Wine Tourism Conference? 

“My objective in attending IWINETC to to connect with likeminded individuals who share in my passion for food and drink tourism, to learn from them and share my experiences.  I hope to gain inspiration, new ideas and new connections in food tourism while attending IWINETC.” 

Don’t miss Rebecca’s presentation, “EAT(tm) – Developing a “taste of place’” at the International Wine Tourism Conference in Reims, France !

IWINETC 2015 Conference Front Cover

Official IWINETC Champagne Grand Tasting

Ready for the Official Champagne Grand Tasting at the International Wine Tourism Conference?

After a full day of visiting thirty exhibitors, attending a plenary session and several other sessions, attendees at the 7th Annual International Wine Tourism Conference will likely want to quench their thirst. What better place in the world to have the conference than in Reims, France? Those attending the conference will have the opportunity to taste and enjoy different champagnes by several producers at the Official IWINETC Champagne Grand Tasting.

Prior to the tasting in the Clovis Auditorium of the Centre des Congrès, speaker Marie-Anne Louvet will deliver a talk titled “Champagne Savoir-Faire.” Marie-Anne is an oenologist and member of the Union of Oenologists of France. Her family has made champagne sine 1910. Marie-Anne is passionate about champagne and after working at champagne houses, formed her own company Les Secrets du Vin in 2006. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of champagne secrets

Marie-Anne’s talk will prepare the audience to taste like a pro in just 45 minutes. She will cover the Champagne grape varieties, types of champagnes, sweetness as well as serving and tasting. Those gathered will certainly be ready for the tasting to follow. This year’s tasting will take place in the Le Millésime room. Several producers will pour their champagnes at different tables. This affords one the opportunity to walk around at their own pace and taste the champagnes. The producers include:
Champagne ColletChampagne Nicolas Feuillatte, Champagne Bonnet Ponson, Champagne Dom Caudron, Champagne Pannier, Champagne Michel Gonet, Champagne Le Brun de Neuville

What can attendees expect during the Grand Tasting? There are thousands of unique champagnes. What makes them different in part is due to terroir, but a large part of their difference is the creativity of the cellar master. Participants in the Grand Tasting can taste the differences. Although many of the champagnes at the Grand Tasting are blends of two or three of the main champagne grapes, enthusiasts can sample single varietal champagnes. Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte’s Brut Chardonnay Vintage is made entirely of Chardonnay. Champagne Bonnet Ponson will pour a 100% Pinot Noir with their Jules Bonnet Extra Brut 2008. For Pinot Meunier fans, Champagne Dom Caudron has two champagnes made with 100% of this variety. Nine of the Grand Tasting producers’ champagnes are single variety.

 IWINETC 2015 Champagne Grand TastingLess daunting may be comparing the grand cru and premier cru champagnes. Champagne Michel Gonet will offer two Grand Cru champagnes, Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru 2008 Extra Brut and Cuvée Authentique 2005 Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Extra Brut. Champagne Bonnet Ponson will pour a premier cru with their Champagne Brut 1er Cru. For a blend of grand cru and premier cru, taste Champagne Collet-Cogevi’s Brut Millésime 2004. Enjoy the different colors of champagnes. Champagne Pannier has a Brut Rosé that had a Pinot Meunier stilll wine blended into it for color.

Some people enjoy young champagnes while others like aged champagnes. Attendees will have quite a choice. The champagnes at the Grand Tasting have aged between 18 months and 84 months. The majority of the champagnes served have ages between three and five years. Dosage varies between the different champagnes. For those producers that listed dosage, there is quite a range from four grams per litre to 25 grams per litre as in Champagne Collet-Cogevi’s Brut Art Déco  and their Rosé Dry Collection Privée. While tasting the champagnes note if they are vintage or non-vintage. Participants can taste both styles. All three of Le Brun de Neuville’s champagnes are non-vintage. Three producers will offer vintage champagnes.

With all the variables that go into crafting a bottle of champagne, there are certainly difference that participants can observe in the Official IWINETC Champagne Grand Tasting.

IWINETC 2015 Conference Front Cover

Article: Terry Sullivan, CWAS            WineTrailTraveler.com

Does Your Tasting Room Sparkle? Best Practices for Tasting Rooms

Dr. John E. Hudelson, author of Wine Faults: Causes, Effects and Cures, is from Ellensburg, Washington. He has vast experience in the wine industry from the East Coast of the United States to the West Coast. In addition to currently teaching at Washington University’s World Wine Program, Dr. Hudelson has taught at several colleges. He worked in the wine industry as a researcher and wine chemist. Today he is co-owner of North River Methode Champenois Wines. Dr. Hudelson’s topic for the International Wine Tourism Conference is “East, West and Middle: Approaches to Sparkling Wine Tourism.” 

I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Hudelson about his wine journey and his ideas about wine.

How did your wine journey begin?

My wine journey began, “one-half century ago, when I shared a bottle of wine with a friend at my high school graduation dinner, at the newly established tasting rooms along California’s Hwy. 101.”

Introducing La Champagne IWINETC 2015What are the best practices for tasting rooms?

“Depends on where the tasting room is and who the clients are that you wish to attract. The minimum requirements are: good lighting, attentive personnel, clean glassware, and good atmosphere (no perfumes or bad odors).  The serious Enotourist will overcome most of the other hardships so often associated with tasting rooms — poor signage, difficult location, bad roads, even shabby interior– as long as the wine is good.”

What are your thoughts on whether champagne or sparkling wine is a celebratory beverage or an everyday beverage?

“For me, it’s an everyday requirement! But, I also own a company (North River) that makes sparkling wine.”

In your opinion, how much of the wine that reaches consumers is faulted? Do most consumers recognize faults? Or do they just decide they do not like wine?

“Thank God, there is less and less really bad wine being produced today. It is often associated with the region and how the wine is kept by the consumer. Even Champagne becomes oxidized after years in the bottle.  

Having taught a course in Wine Faults to undergraduate college students for the past seven years, I do not believe that bad wine turns novices off the beverage.

What is operative in that decision is that most of the people raised in a family that drinks wine (even faulty wine) at dinner will like it; whereas, a substantial percentage of people raised in a “dry” family will decide that they do not like wine.

It does seem that when the taster associates faults with a certain variety or style of wine, it may influence their preferences.”

Stop by the International Wine Tourism Conference to listen to Dr. John Hudelson’s presentation, “East, West and Middle: Approaches to Sparkling Wine Tourism.”

IWINETC 2015 Conference Front Cover

Article by Kathy Sullivan

Wine Trail Traveler