Founded in May 2018, The Grand Wine Tour gathers wine-making companies that share the promotion of wine tourism and high standards of hospitality; the association has also registered a trademark, which can be used by those who have met certain service standards.
18 months after its foundation, partnering with some of the greatest names in Italian wine-making, president and founder Max Coppo talks about its ideals.
What has inspired the creation of The Grand Wine Tour?
It is the very first certification of wine tourism excellence, so it is something that was not there before: we have been inspired by a scarcity, rather than something that existed. With that said, if I am asked to name names, we have created something similar to Relais & Châteaux but for wine tourists: a network of excellence.
Organizing cellar tours requires investments.
Last year, 14 million tourists have searched for wine-related experiences in Italy: they are worth 2.5 billion euros, with numbers still growing. However, the available options are lacking: many wineries are open for visits only for a few days, and service is often inadequate.
There is an enormous potential. We are not only talking about the acquisitions done in the cellar, through tastings and purchases, but also of the relationships that can be established between producers and visitors. From that day on, a label would immediately be recognizable on any shelf; an emotional relationship would be built.
What can The Grand Wine Tour offer that cannot be given by a lone producer?
Beginning to sell services is a big change. The Grand Wine Tour guarantees professional advice, trainings and meetings, an exchange of knowledge between the members. Being part of this network means taking advantage of an intense promotional activity, being discussed during the most important global travel fairs and introduced to industry buyers: it is a big help for those who want to make hospitality an important contributor to the revenue.
Moreover, joining an exclusive network is a way to distinguish and position your brand.
What are the requirements?
Our target is a tourist looking for excellence, and in order to be part of the project certain standards of service are required; we have identified 50 criteria in assessing hospitality, covering three areas: tour and tasting; restaurant and hospitality; wine. The score obtained determines one’s eligibility and, consequently, the right to use our mark.
The wineries share these guidelines and we help them achieve the standards they aspire to: consultation and support provided are very strong.
Who verifies a winery’s adequacy?
It is done by an external Technical Unit, characterized by its impartiality; therefore, the job is not done by the association itself. However, the services required and the criteria of assessment are clearly explained.
At present, said unit is headed by Roberta Garibaldi, perhaps the most important Italian authority on food and wine tourism.
How much can a well-structured hospitality activity be worth?
Some see it as a present reality, while others see it is a sure part of the future: it can potentially be worth 50% of the revenue. But the real scope is the lasting loyalty of a customer, who becomes the best ambassador for the company; a loyalty based on emotions will win him forever. This is an advertisement of extreme value, which can be obtained for free.
What does the association offer the consumers?
Aside from being a guarantee, The Grand Wine Tour organizes experiences, for one or more days, completely customized to the needs of the single tourist. A “tailor-made” service with wine at its center, but also capable of satisfying demands for activities to be done outside of the cellars: good food, cooking lessons, outdoor activities… Wherever The Grand Wine Tour brand is present, the guest is certain to find something amazing.