Felicity Carter Confirmed as Keynote Speaker at IWINETC 2019

We’re thrilled to announce Felicity Carter, editor -in-chief of Meininger’s Wine Business International, the world’s only global, English language wine business magazine as our second confirmed keynote speaker at IWINETC, 12 & 13 March 2019.

Felicity is a regular speaker at international wine events from ProWein to Wine2Wine, and she has spoken on wine tourism at a number of international conferences, including in Hungary, South Africa and Portugal. A wine judge, Felicity has judged in Portugal, Germany, Bordeaux, Brussels and Georgia, and in 2015 formed part of the ‘empowerment of women in wine’ panel for Wines of Argentina. She is an international judge of the Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine List of the Year, and the China Wine List of the Year, and has been the international judge of the nationally televised German Wine Queen finals.

Felicity will draw on her long experience in journalism and wine tourism and will be delivering a talk relevant to all business and institutions involved in the branding, marketing and commercialisation of wine and culinary tourism in a talk titled The importance of Media in Wine TourismIf you build it they will come – if they know about it. A key plank in any tourism marketing strategy has to be dealing with media, whether that’s traditional print and broadcast media, or influencers on social media. Felicity Carter will discuss with case studies low- to no-cost ways to get media attention, from crafting a perfect pitch through to leveraging media relationships.

IWINETC conference talk programme stretches across two days covering five topical content themes (Research, Professional Development, Branding and Marketing, Grape Escape Destinations and Networking) all aimed at inspiring and educating delegates with sessions that tangibly add value to their business life and personal development.

Register here to attend IWINETC 2019>> 

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.

MW Sarah Jane Evans Masterclass announced for IWINETC 2019, Basque Country

We are thrilled to announce that Sarah Jane Evans MW, an award-winning wine writer with a long-standing interest in the wines of Spain will be joining us as the first of several exciting keynote speakers lined up for the #IWINETC 2019 in the Basque Country from 12 to 13 March!

Sarah Jane will be blending an exceptional tasting of wines from the Rioja Alavesa region and Txakolí  from Arabako Txakolina (Álava), Getariako Txakolina (Getaria) and Bizkaiko Txakolina (Bilbao) – a fascinating masterclass not to be missed by IWINETC conference delegates. Winemakers from the selected wineries will be on hand for attendees to meet.

In recognition of her work in Spain Sarah Jane is a member of the Gran Orden de Caballeros de Vino, a Dama de Albariño and a Dama de Solear, and has received awards from the Ribeiro DO, and the Catalan Association of Sommeliers.

Sarah Jane became a Master of Wine in 2006. Her dissertation was on Sherry, and the Almacenista producers in the region. She’s a certified Sherry Educator, and has been a tutor on the Cava Academy. Her latest book is The Wines of Northern Spain (Infinite Ideas Classic Wine Library), and she is now researching The Wines of Mediterranean and Southern Spain.

Sarah Jane is Co-Chairman of the world’s largest wine competition, the Decanter World Wine Awards, and also of the Decanter Asia Wine Awards. She divides the rest of her time between contributing to leading wine magazines and reference books, speaking at conferences, consulting and judging wines internationally.

The full programme of around 25 sessions that form next year’s Conference Programme cover five topical content themes all aimed at inspiring and educating on the latest industry issues and hot topics so that delegates leave motivated to apply learnings to their own work place.

Anthony Swift, IWINETC Director, comments: “We’re delighted to announce our first keynote speaker for IWINETC 2019. Sarah Jane led a Cava tasting at IWINETC Catalunya 2016 with a selection of gold medal winners from the annual wine competition 50 Great Cavas of the same year and the attendee feedback was tremendous. When we confirmed the Basque Country as the host for IWINETC 2019 we immediately got hold of Sarah Jane to lead the Masterclass of Wines of Rioja Alavesa and Txakolí. Sarah Jane will deliver an exceptional tasting providing a visual tour of each winery to inspire people to visit each of them be it for their architecture, facilities for families or purely for the quality of the wine.”

Don’t miss our world-class Conference Programme, Exhibition area and Workshop for the best education, best business and best networking for the wine and culinary tourism industry.

Register here as conference delegate>>

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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.

Txakolí – what’s that?

First point to clarify is that Txakolí (pronounced CHACK-oh-lee) is not a grape variety nor is it a wine region in Spain. Txakolí  can be defined as an diverse Atlantic wine style produced in the Spain’s Basque country mostly produced using the following, tongue – twisting grape varieties:  Izkiriota (Gros Manseng), Izkiriota Ttippia (Petit Manseng), Hondarribi Zuri (Handarribi Beltza) and Hondarribi Zuri Zarratia (Petit Crbu). Txakolí has 3 Designations of Origen: Txakoli de Getaria (located close to the coastal town of San Sebastian), Txakolí de Bizkaia (north west close to the Basque capital of Bilbao) and Txakolí de Álava (furthest inland of the 3 DOs and closest to the venue for IWNETC 2019 – Álava’s capital, Vitoria-Gasteiz).

Txakolí, a light, refreshing, zesty, often lightly carbonated white wine is difficult to find outside the Basque Country as the locals consume almost the total annual production. Vines are grown on slopes and terraces with most affording a sea view of the Bay of Biscay. Vines on lower and flatter areas are trained high on pergolas.

A visit to a Txakolí winery blends well with tourism to museums, medieval towns and villages steeped in history, prehistoric remains such as dolmens, spa centres, city tours of Álava, Bilbao and San Sebastian and hikes in the hills and dales of the coastal hinterland.

Conference delegates attending the upcoming International Wine Tourism Conference, Exhibition and Workshop should not pass up on the Grand Tasting of Txakoli wines scheduled in the afternoon of day 1 of the 2-day conference progamme of talks and on one of the post conference tours to the nearby Txakolí of Álava DO where still light fresh wines are trending.

A fourth DO can be found in the southern part of Álava defined as the Rioja Alavesa wine region which will also be on the must see, must taste itinerary of tours for conference delegates.

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.

Wine Tourism Rioja Alavesa

Stand on top of the rocky mass of the Sierra Cantabria and gaze below and beyond and you will admire a sea of vineyards rooted in unique light coloured soil in terraces and ravines stretching out to the River Ebro, Spain’s longest river. Scattered across the panorama you will also see medieval villages, historic stately mansions and impressive wineries. This is Rioja Alavesa – a wine tourism destination which perfectly blends nature, gastronomy, tradition, architecture and wine.

Rioja Alavesa is an incredible destination for the wine lover and traveller. Wineries are varied ranging from small family boutique wineries with historic underground cellars to large architectural gems designed by world famous architects such as Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava or Phillipe Maziéres.

Between wineries there are medieval villages such as Saliníllas de Buradón or Labraza steeped in history and tradition, prehistoric dolmens and viewpoints set among the vineyard estates of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo, Graciano and Viura

At lunch time do as the hospitable  locals do and take a break at one ‘o clock or so and have a few mini-wines (ir de potes) and pintxos (tapas) to soak up the best atmosphere in the wine bars and then head to either a winery or restaurant to savour traditional Rioja Alavesa cuisine (Rioja-style potatoes, lamb chops cutlets grilled over vine shoots, veal cheeks in red wine or white beans) perfectly matched with one of the many quality crianza, reserve or grand reserve wines of the region.

Got the kids with you? Then a visit the Villa Lucía Wine Centre and Museum, to find out about the wine culture of the area and dive deeper into the Rioja Alavesa wine region through an audiovisual 4D: In a Dreamland or catch the Racimo train and track through the vineyards.

Staying overnight?  There are several charming rural settings to stay in the Rioja Alavesa –  sleep at a winery with a hotel, in a weirdly designed hotel in or in a hotel with a spa where you can pamper yourself with vinotherapy treatment.

Hopefully this has whet your appetite for some of the delights you can find in the Rioja Alavesa wine region 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.

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), Winesofa.eu, 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.