19 March 2019 The Grand Wine Tour Mark of Excellence. Why is it important? What does it guarantee? And how does it set us apart? The Grand Wine Tour Mark of Excellence is the core of our mission, but we realize that, perhaps, we haven’t taken the time to explain it properly. Seeing as it such an integral aspect of who we are and what we do, it seems the time has come to rectify this situation! So today, we are going deep on our Mark of Excellence and why it matters for you. What is our Mark of Excellence? Our Mark of Excellence is a certification that is awarded to our Member Wineries and distinguishes high-quality hospitality standards in wine tourism. As you know, our mission is to inspire excellence in Italian wine tourism, and our Mark of Excellence is both the beginning and end point of this goal. It both encourages wineries to improve upon their wine tourism services to gain membership and unites those already at the top to keep improving. The Mark of Excellence is awarded based on an objective set of standards that have been codified in our Charter of Quality. This is an internal document that defines, in detail, high-quality services. It is divided into three main categories – tours & tastings, restaurants & hospitality, and wine – with specific points in each category that corresponds to a specific score. Each category has a minimum score that must be achieved and is weighted accordingly in the final score. A minimum final score must be achieved for consideration. What does our Mark of Excellence guarantee? At its simplest, it guarantees high-quality, uniform standards of service across our association. This means that, although each winery is unique and offers tours and tastings that best showcase their territory, the qualitative standards of services are consistent. The basic standards of service that are guaranteed by our Mark of Excellence are listed in our Manifesto. The Manifesto is the backbone of the mark and our vision of wine tourism in Italy. The 10 principles must be adhered to by all our Member Wineries. It is our core identity that we communicate. Why is all of this important? Our Mark of Excellence, Charter of Quality, and Manifesto are important because they are groundbreaking in the realm of Italian wine tourism. There has never before been an industry set of standards that can guide wineries and tourists alike to offer and discover the best of Italian wine. Wine tourism in Italy is consistently growing; however, unfortunately, many of the services and tours offered lack basic standards that are found in other prominent wine countries. We want to change this. We want tourists – Italian and foreign alike – to experience the unique wine and food culture of Italy with ease and in comfort. So, by creating an objective set of standards, we can guarantee high-quality services with all of our experiences and inspire the Italian wine tourism industry to improve. What sets us apart from other wine tour companies in Italy? There are three major points that set us apart from the rest. The first is, of course, our Mark of Excellence and what is guarantees. The second is that we are an association. Each winery that is awarded our Mark of Excellence also gains membership to The Grand Wine Tour Association. This means that each winery is equally invested in the growth of Italian wine tourism and the promotion of high-quality hospitality standards. The third is our democratic and objective approach to awarding the Mark of Excellence. We work with Dr. Roberta Garibaldi, a leading expert, consultant and professor of food and wine tourism in Italy. She is also a board member of the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism. Dr. Garibaldi works with us as an independent examiner, inspecting each of our wineries, verifying their list of services and evaluating the overall suitability of the facilities as well as organizing training days for our hospitality managers. By working with Dr. Garibaldi, we can ensure that the Mark of Excellence is only awarded to wineries that merit the distinction. It is this objectiveness that sets us most apart. It ensures that the Mark of Excellence is transparent, but also authoritative so that we can continue inspiring wine tourism well into the future. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for future information regarding our Mark of Excellence or our custom wine experiences.