Tatiana Livesey was in the investment banking industry when she completed the advanced level of the WSET and started Winerist in 2011. Tatiana’s talk at the International Wine Tourism Conference in Reims, France is titled “Wine and Food Travel Is Most in Demand.” Her presentation will examine the findings of a research study of 500 participants.
As one of the speakers at the upcoming IWINETC in Reims, France I had a chance to interview Tatiana about her experiences and presentation.
What was the spark that led you to leave a career in banking for the world of wine?
I’ve always ‘flirted’ with wine, my grandfather used to make his own wine, and winemaking is ingrained in home countries traditions. I spent 5 years in banking and I really enjoyed my financial career but I wanted to be entrepreneurial and my passion for wine was a no brainier. After being wine tourists ourselves, my business partner Diana and I saw the need to create a service to book authentic wine experiences, and to help local wineries and tour guides respectively to promote wine tourism.
What wine regions are on your off the beaten track list to visit?
Firstly, it will have to be Puglia, hidden in the heel of Italy which I visited once already. This region has become more famous with foreigners recently, but Italians have been flocking there for years for the serene beaches, nature, good food and wine. It’s really unspoiled. You can stay in a three hundred old refurbished ‘masseria’ among olive groves or vines for less than the cost in Tuscany. Secondly, I would love to go to Tokaj wine region and get lost in the little villages, visit the authentic wineries and the balsamic vinegar producers. In Tokaj you can feel like you are back in time by tasting the traditional dessert wines but also the crisp and dry new style Furmint. Thirdly, my new dream is to visit Uruguay’s wine regions – around Montevideo, Carmelo and Punta del Este. I’ve recently discovered Uruguayan wines and I’m a firm fan.
Is there a specific winery that could be the poster child of the food and wine experience?
For me Clos Figueras in Priorat is the epitome of the full wine, food and stay in the vineyard experience. I’ve visited twice already and I was won over by the wines of course, the beautiful food in their restaurant (vegetables and herbs come from their own garden) and the hospitality and enthusiasm that the whole team brings on board. It’s about keeping things simple and not over the top.
What are some of the specific factors that influence people to visit one wine region and not another?
Preference and knowledge over certain wineries and wine regions is usually the leading factor. If you drink Rioja every day of course you will be biased towards this region and maybe will give Priorat or Ribera del Duero a miss. I think this can be rectified by the smaller regions promoting themselves better and coming with a different angle, whether it’s food, beaches, or off the beaten wine routes.
What are the expectations for wine tourists on a wine and food holiday?
When going on a wine and food holiday, people don’t expect to just drink wine. They can do that in a restaurant. They want to talk to the winemakers, the guides or anyone who will be able to tell the story of the region or the winery. They will be more likely to purchase wines if they know the story behind the wine.
What do you hope to gain from attending the International Wine Tourism Conference? I hope to gain a few things: meeting the wine lovers and wineries community, raising awareness and educating the producers about the wine tourism aspects and opportunities from the clients point of view.
You can learn more about the Winerist survey at Tatiana Livesey’s talk at the International Wine Tourism Conference.
Article: Terry Sullivan, CWAS WineTrailTraveler.com