Thomas Schilde, owner of Sport+Reisen travel agency in Germany, has long been exploring European wine regions. This seasoned veteran is a return guest at this year’s International Wine Tourism Conference & Workshop in January. Recently, we caught up with Thomas about his unique experiences in wine travel (the good and the bad), and which wines he enjoys most.
What do you hope to gain at this year’s International Wine Tourism Workshop?
I hope to meet colleagues to discuss new projects and to get new ideas for my business.
You have extensive experience with wine travel in Germany, Austria, Spain and France. What challenges do you anticipate encountering in Italy?
The problems will be similar to Spain and France. The customers mostly don’t speak the language and have problems understanding the knowledge the winery wants to transfer to them. Also, the wines and wine regions of Italy are not as well known, with the exception perhaps of Barolo.
Considering your experience with wine, what are your favorite wine destinations and why?
I’m from Germany, so I like German wines. I think they’re some of the best in the world. I personally very much like wines from South Africa. But there are very good wines all over the world, you only have to try them.
Adventure tourism seems to be your company’s specialty. How do you integrate wine into this type of travel?
“Adventure” is too much. I integrate wine and gourmet events in extraordinary settings. I combine events with stays in excellent hotels in the Alps, or integrate it into city travels or sport programs. So wine tastings are a normal part of any of my programs.
After the workshop, you’re headed to Tuscany from the 2nd-5th of February. Why did you choose to explore this region?
Tuscany is one of the blank spots on my personal world map. I expect to discover good food and good wines and good gourmet places and event locations there. Tuscany is one of the favorite destinations in Italy for German travelers.