Wine tourism, a safe investment for the post-COVID era

18 May 2021

Wine tourism is an attractive alternative for visitors and a profitable alternative for wineries

Tourism is one of the sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but after just over a year of restrictions, we are beginning to see a faint light at the end of the tunnel and the good news is that tourism associated with the world of wine, what we know as wine tourism, has a good chance of becoming a future alternative both for visitors themselves and for the wineries and companies linked to this sector.

What the experts say

Rural tourism, in which we can also include wine tourism, are some of the activities and experiences that will recover the fastest after the recession, as concluded in a report by the consultancy firm DNA Turismo y Ocio entitled 'In search of scenarios and recipes for a new era in tourism', which was made public last April. According to the study, the fact that these companies provide part of their services in open and natural spaces, which favour the maintenance of social distance and where there is usually no overcrowding, gives visitors a feeling of greater security and will contribute to the rapid recovery of the sector, something that has already been clearly observed with rural tourism during the Christmas and Easter holidays, where many establishments were at 100% occupancy. 

For tourists

But what about the tourists? Is it really a good option to bet on wine tourism? Here are some arguments that support the claim that it is indeed an excellent alternative.

  • It is safe tourism. As the DNA report shows, it is safer as it allows part of the activities to be carried out in the open air or in large spaces -the wineries' own facilities are safe- and it is not usually overcrowded.
  • It is close by. There are wine museums and wineries that can be visited all over the country and this allows for a short getaway, suitable for a long weekend or weekend and affordable for all budgets, since if it is close to the visitor's home it does not force them to spend the night away from home.
  • Different activities. Wine tourism allows different experiences to be carried out on the same day: a visit to the winery, a visit to a wine museum, getting to know the towns in the area, tasting the local gastronomy, hiking...
  • There is a wide range on offer. There are wine routes - currently 32 are members of the Spanish Association de Ciudades del Vino (Acevin) - and hundreds of wineries all over Spain.
  • Suitable for everyone. It is not necessary to have any knowledge of the world of wine to enjoy these activities. Any visitor, from the least initiated to the most knowledgeable, can enjoy wine tourism.

For wineries

And in the case of wineries, is it worth promoting these activities in the current times we live in? Experiences with wine tourism in countries such as the USA and Australia point to yes.

  • It has a future. Experts assure that the sector will be able to recover quickly after the recession due to the special characteristics we've shown that this type of tourism has.
  • Tourists are buying more and more wines. In Spain, the average expenditure per visitor in a winery' s shop is, in most cases, considerably higher than the average price of the visit, according to the last Annual Report on Visits to Wineries and Wine Museums associated to Wine Routes in Spain, carried out by Acevin in 2019, before the COVID crisis began. This average expenditure per visit, moreover, saw a percentage increase compared to 2018.
  • Less seasonality. According to the data collected by Acevin in the aforementioned report, wine tourism is practised in a more or less stable manner throughout the year, making it less seasonal than other types of tourism, which tend to be more focused on the summer months or on Christmas and Easter holidays.
  • Advertising for the winery. According to surveys carried out by Acevin, more than 40% of visitors to wineries come as a result of recommendations from friends and acquaintances. It is also very common that, after the visit, tourists become regular buyers of their wines.
  • Rural regeneration and economic growth. Wine tourism not only benefits the wineries, but also other local businesses and contributes to the economic growth of the area: restaurants, shops, other nature activities, etc.

Wine routes

Not all the wineries that offer wine tourism activities are associated to a Wine Route, but the truth is that nowadays the network of routes all over the national territory is quite wide: at present, about 800 municipalities all over Spain, 32 Regulatory Councils of Denominaciones de Origen and about 70 public or private entities related to the tourism sector and the wine culture are part of the Wine Routes of Spain.

    Written by Redacción