WINE TOURISM | IN VINO VERITAS

One of Europe’s first Virtuoso travel advisors, Guido Graf – Travel Designer – DeluxeTargets – Switzerland – reports for us in this issue on the current state of play when it comes to wine tourism, as well as a couple of interesting trends and ideas set to spur the imagination of his peers.

In vino veritas, or “in wine, truth”: as people increasingly seek genuine and instructive experiences when they travel (in some ways, seeking the truth), wine tourism is more than ever becoming a way to combine discovery of a new place with interesting encounters, learning, and gustative delights. Originally, when talking about wine tourism, thoughts would dart instantly to France and Italy, but today, destinations such as Australasia, Argentina, Chile or South Africa incorporate wine tourism. And while in many cases it might not be the key reason for the travel, it is something that should be considered as part of an enthralling and memorable itinerary for the visitor.

In France, one way to get “up close and personal”, is with the Luxury Wine Experience by Bernard Magrez. This upmarket wine tourism experience allows guests to discover all that Magrez, the only owner of four Grands Crus Classés, in each of the major appellations of Bordeaux – has built over his lifetime. Travellers can even stay with Magrez himself in one of the five guest rooms at Château Pape Clément. For those simply travelling through Bordeaux, the “La Cité du Vin” is an interactive museum that is unique in the world. This museum doesn’t only offer a wine blending workshops, but also has a great rooftop restaurant with a nice view over the city of Bordeaux.

WINE TOURISM IS MORE THAN EVER BECOMING A WAY TO COMBINE DISCOVERY OF A NEW PLACE WITH INTERESTING ENCOUNTERS, LEARNING, AND GUSTATIVE DELIGHTS.

And the city of Saint Emilion, located close by, is a superb spot to visit, surrounded by a large number of “Grand Cru” wineries. Much further afield, my favourite excursion is the boat tour though the Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand. In my point of view, the best Sauvignon Blanc wine comes from here. This can easily be combined with a stay at the Bay of Many Coves. There are only a few places in the world that can offer such luxurious, mouth- watering, sensory combinations of fine foods and wines, and the kind of pristine, natural surroundings that luxury travellers desire, and this is one of them. Here, travellers will forget their busy daily routine in a secluded part of the world.

Lastly, combining golf and wine in the European winter time, South Africa is the place to go. Its most famous wine region is located east of Cape Town, however along the Garden Route, some very nice boutique wineries can also be found. Combine this with Fancourt or Pezula in the Garden Route or De Zalze Golf Club in the Winelands close to Cape Town.

Don’t forget, it is essential to learn about your clients’ tastes, since this will help you guide them to the right wine destination.