HOW TO ORGANISE TRAVEL THAT DOESN’T LEAVE A BITTER AFTERTASTE!

In The Field with Evelyne Gaudin – Part II: Wine & Gastronomy Tourism

Since 1989, Evelyne Gaudin has been impassioned with the travel industry – working in every aspect of the industry – in airlines, hotels, cruises, TO and advisory roles, with a passion to “always deliver the best experience”. In this feature, she unveils the secrets to successful planning in the field of wine & gastronomy tourism.

Aside from the traditional visits to well-known regions or countries such as France, we are seeing a new way of exploring these regions. This is due to the time element. Most Americans do not have a lot of vacations – or at least not as much as the Europeans or Australians have. And in order to maximize their vacations, the trend in River Cruising has grown, and now along with the interest clients had in food and wine of these various regions. The Wine Cruises have been offered more than before combining gastronomy experiences and vineyard visits. They are expanding in France, but also in Spain, Germany and Austria. The wine river cruises are very different from a “typical” river cruise. People of course get to visit the region but also the wineries, and will be offered  on board specially organised meetings with experts and vineyard owners.

Another emerging idea is that of cycling day-tours while on a river cruise, stopping to visit wineries and picnicking in idyllic settings. One of my favorite “ultimate experience” is that of ballooning over the Burgundy region.

In terms of gastronomy, clients will reserve their two or three Michelin star lunches or dinners before even buying their air tickets.

When it comes to wineries, certain companies specialise in giving you access in smaller wineries that are not normally open to the public.

CHILE – TRENDING WINE DESTINATION

While France, Spain and Italy are always “solid” favourites, in South America and in particular in Chile, we are seeing the emergence of a number of wine programs – new  hotels , “Wine Resorts” – only 2 hours from Santiago that are absolutely magnificent. I had the good fortune to visit some:  the combination of wine, food and culture here are amazing. The fascinating beauty of Chile can also be combined with Mendoza, the wine region in Argentina, which has also enhanced their wine programs. The magic is that a Wine Tour in Chile and Argentina can easily be arranged with a visit to Northern Patagonia in order to create the ultimate trip and experience.

The advice I would give to other travel advisors when working with clients on these kinds of tours is, as always, to listen to what the customer wants. Not to try to direct them only towards what they themselves like or know , but more importantly to listen to their clients wishes, to do lots of research based on their  budget. It is  essential to take into consideration the age of their clients and how active they want to be. The more questions the advisor will ask, the closer one can get to making a dream a reality.