The “aware” wine tourist
In the global wine world today consumers are becoming more and more demanding, attentive and desirous of being informed. Good references on the wine guides and advertisement are not enough anymore to convince them of the actual quality of the wine. More and more consumers look for a direct experience, a personal visit to the winery, the so called wine tourism.
What is true for normal tourism is also true for wine tourism: it is good to be well- prepared and aware in order to avoid the typical mistakes of the so-called ” occasional tourist”. Which are therefore the aspects to keep into consideration? What should we ask during the visit to the vineyards and the winery?
1. Preparation for the visit
In order to choose the winery to visit, based on our own interests and personal taste, the first step is to make a research on the web, starting with the winery’s website which normally provides useful information as for example the contacts. Yes, the contacts, because it is important to fix our visit and make an arrangement with the personnel of the winery. There are certain periods during the year in which wineries can not dedicate much attention to visitors as for example harvest period in which if not previously agreed, visitors can be a disturb. A good period to visit a winery is the end of the spring or during the summer when the vineyards are in vegetation and are a nice view.
2. Visiting the vineyards
The first thing to see when we have choosen the winery we want to visit is without doubts the vineyard, as it is exactly there that the wine is born. We can understand a lot about the quality of a winery by seeing how they thread the soils and the vines, especially if the winery is applying organic approach. In this case, being forbidden the use of chemicals in the vineyards, it is interesting to ask what kind of natural means are being used in order to fight diseases and which is the motivation behind the choice of the organic approach no meter its higher difficulty. We can also ask which are the grape varieties planted in order to understand better the philosophy of the winery and its connection with the territory and the local traditions.
3. Visit to the winery
If the cultivation methods of the vineyards are precise and guided by a certain method, normally, especially in the case of organic wineries, the winemaking method is also very subjective and guided by a certain criteria. Some producers choose to abolish the use of any kind of technology or enological products ( which are of course admitted) as selected yeasts, sulphur following a philosophy or “wine purism” others decide to make use of this kind of instruments in order to achieve a quality wine without altering its natural characteristics. We don’t judge here which method is better, it is more important to understand the reasons behind certain choices which determine the character of the wine.
4. The tasting
A visit in a winery is generally concluded with the tasting of the wines- the culmination moment of the visit in which everything we have learned, heart and seen during the visit should be recognizable in the glass. Of course personal taste is something very subjective and depends on many factors, in any case the wine that we have tasted should be a sort of testimonial of the territory it comes from and of the various passages it has undergone. Only in these conditions we can consider our visit as a complete and fulfilling.
In conclusion, a visit to a winery done in such an “modality of awareness “can only be an enriching experience, not only entertaining but also useful from a cultural point of view. Of course it is not only the wine tourist that should be prepared but also the winery by having adequate structure and personnel prepared to receive visitors. We at Neragora are getting ready for this, come soon to visit us!
And you, would you like to tell us about a visit to a winery, that has impressed you particularly?