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Drinks+ joined the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism the focus of which was on the contribution of wine tourism to social and economic regional integration and its great potential to generate development opportunities in remote rural destinations.
The second day of the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism hosted the panel discussion “Wine pairs with…Food”. It raised the question of how wine tourism can become a specific local experience for which people will be eager to come all over the world.
Mauro Carbone, General Manager, Ente Turismo Langhe Monferrato Roero (Italy), notes that the region of Piedmont is visited by many tourists from different countries, and they come mainly to taste our food and wine. One can ask why they come specifically in Piedmont if they can have its wines everywhere in the world?
“85% of our top-level wines – Barolo, Barbaresco, Asti Spumante and now also Barbera that are typical for our region – are exported and tasted all over the world. So, why do the tourists come to us to taste the same wine they have in their city?” wondered Mr. Carbone.
“We need to offer the same food with the same wine, but not the same atmosphere, not the same emotions.”
The same question concerns food. If an American from New York wants to have a delicious Italian pasta, he doesn’t need to make thousands of kilometres to come to Italy for this purpose. So, what should we do?
“We need to have skilled people to perform miracles. We need to offer the same food with the same wine, but not the same atmosphere, not the same emotions,” convinced Mauro Carbone.
In his turn, Chef Diogo Rocha shared what the importance and challenge of building such a brand as Mesa de Lemos was. The geographical accessibility may be considered a challenge because the restaurant is located in the district of Viseu (Portugal), outside of a big city. However, the advantage is it traditionally proposes other kind of concepts and gastronomy and historically known as “a good food”. It demonstrates the authenticity of Portugal.
“When we opened Mesa de Lemos, we became probably one of the few Michelin star restaurants that used our own produced wines as we are in the middle of winery. That builds the connection regarding rural development. I think wine tourism is also pottery, sausages – everything that we put on the table. And wine will taste completely different because we are in that environment,” noted Chef Rocha.
“I think wine tourism is also pottery, sausages – everything that we put on the table.”
It is important to identify resources that make one unique from all points of view – destination, gastronomy and wine, culture. Enjoying all the aspects makes one’s model of wine tourism successful.
Mauro Carbone highlighted two necessary aspects – rural and cultural because there is a problem of accessibility. To go in the wine region without understanding its wine and food phenomenon seems like “someone read a very good book for me but in a language that I do not know. The experience is extremely important because it permits me to understand what I am eating and drinking.”
To have a wow experience with wine and food, you need a good storytelling. Moreover, there is a need of different storytelling, different offers, and experiences for different people. This requires a well-organized tourism strategy and access for wine experiences which means a work with producers, institutions, public and private representatives.
Diogo Rocha added: “What I do not want is that my client feels the same as the one sitting next to him. Customization is the right way, especially in wine tourism which relates to the quality. We are talking about something more than an experience – about feelings and emotions that are transmitted through wine tourism. The emotion is our reaction on what we eat and what we drink.”