This weekend, May 27-28, is Cantine Aperte 2017 throughout Italy. It is the premier Wine Tourism event for wine lovers throughout the country. It began in 1993, when member wineries of Movimento Turismo del Vino opened their doors to the public.
In the States, most wineries have always looked to be tourist destination but the same cannot be said of Italian wineries. Many have now embraced the concept of wine tourism but usually only if they have a tasting room and even better if they have a bed and breakfast or agriturismo.
That said, it is still rare that you see the kind of tasting rooms as we see all over the US and I learned are also being opened in China. Certainly this is about the differences in culture, tradition and the history of winemaking in the various countries. While Italy is such a historic and well-known wine producing country they only really embraced wine marketing these part 25 years, thanks certainly to organizations like the one hosting Cantine Aperte.
Many wineries throughout Italy have embraced wine tourism and Cantine Aperte is a huge success. I went to my first Cantine Aperte in 1998. We went to Piedmont from MIlan, visited Oddero and a few other wineries and had a perfect day with friends. It was a truly marvelous experience as a wine enthusiast, at the time I was studying wine but did not yet work in the business. I also bought my visit wine tourism guide from the Movimento del Turismo del Vino. All of the pages are dog-eared after years of use but it is still a reference guide.
It’s amazing when I reflect on how much the industry has changed and how long I have been involved in it now. It’s exciting to see that wine tourism has become such an important part of people’s experiences and a way to share one’s love of wine, food, culture, travel and friendship. It has been a great boon to Italy and I hope this edition is a huge success! Salute.