Retired academic and international civil service officer Jochen Erler is pursuing his true love, of wines, walking and writing. He leads wine walking groups throughout Europe and consistently attends professional tastings. For more than twenty years Jochen has been a member of jury at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in the UK, a juror at many national, regional and international contests, and a wine consultant. At IWINETC he will explore the wine regions of Puglia, Istanbul, and Ankara.
Can you tell us why Puglia, Istanbul and Ankara make the hit list for your talk this year?
Puglia and Turkey are newcomers to the international winemarket. With the exception of sweet wines, for many years now Puglia’s excellent wines and olive oil have been sold bulk to Tuscany and bottled there under Tuscan labels. Local producers now have their own bottling facilities, and they can receive wine tourists. Regarding Turkey, it has a rich heritage of wine growing and it offers – unique in the world – a great number of indigenous grape varieties commercially grown.
How much does being a member of the jury at the International Wine and Spirits Competition in England influence your choice of destinations?
Wine tasting as a judge at IWSC has made me aware that the overwhelming majority of wines are made in a commercial and uninteresting style. There are plenty of well-made wines without personality, without expression, but faultless and perfect for consumption! There are few wines which lift one’s spirit, create sensory excitement. Wines made from indigenous grape varieties offer a good chance of finding this quality. Hence my presentations highlight these grape varieties.
You’ve been a tour leader and speaker for many years. This year’s talk is about scheduling a rest day as part of a good wine tour. Why is that important for tour operators to do?
Wine tours are activity vacations and can be quite tiring. The argument for a rest day is that it could be put to good use in several ways. The best timing is at the end of the tour, offering a moment to review the tour, to place orders, to buy the wines they liked best and to allow delivery of the wines to the bus.
When tour operators plan to partner with a spa, how important is the type of spa?
Any spa offers the benefits of facilities for wellness and relaxation. Traditional thermal, mineral and Thalasso resorts are certainly the most impressive places to have a spa experience. Additionally, traditional spa resorts have superb architecture. For many wine tourists a stop at such a spa would introduce them to an unknown world and experience.
If a spa is not available, what other types of partners would boost relaxation at the end of a trip?
An alternative would be a wine hotel with the best assortment of local wines, some even boast a vinotheque, and some offer wine wellness/wine therapy in their spa.
Jochen Erler‘s talk will be on Friday March 15 from 15:00 to 15:40 in the Paris Suite titled Destinations for Wine Tours Combined with Spa Wellness