Wine tasting and U.S.-style hospitality are gaining traction globally.

By Barbara Barrielle

Memorable experiences, or the dearth of them, are key to vineyard tasting room visits in California, Oregon and Washington. Having the ability to style wines and chat with vineyard representatives is one thing we take as a right in these areas. The higher the expertise, the higher the gross sales for the vineyard. However how do different areas and international locations strategy vineyard hospitality? Increasingly, wineries across the globe are catering to guests to reinforce gross sales.

One of many many wine villages within the Tuscany area of Italy

Southern hospitality

Augusta, Missouri, turned the primary designated American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1980 and, whereas in all probability not the most effective identified wine area, the world continues to develop and thrive. It’s not too long ago exploded in recognition resulting from an infusion of money from billionaires corresponding to  Florida developer, David Hoffman, who’ve found the advantages of manufacturing their very own wines for his or her large distribution shops, together with eating places and conference facilities. Hoffman is investing $100 million to show Augusta right into a nationwide vacation spot.

St. James Winery, one of many space’s originals, is now in its third technology of household possession. Not solely does it have a big tasting room that includes native and hybrid wine varieties that develop nicely within the AVA, nevertheless it’s constructed a brewery to draw beer drinkers. Brandon Hofherr, presently advertising director of the corporate, says, “Our founders, Jim and Pat Hofherr believed ‘Go away the world higher than you discovered it,’ and that encompasses our strategy to every one that walks by our door…. in addition to sustainability and neighborhood.”  

One thing for everybody within the South of France

Renovated thirteenth century Chateau de Mille within the Luberon, France.

Throughout the Atlantic, within the conventional wine rising areas of France and Italy, hospitality has by no means been on the forefront of vineyard operations. Distribution to eating places and direct to collectors was the best way to go. However then mass manufacturing cooperatives began to export cheap wines closely and wineries began to open their doorways. Nonetheless, there stay historic wineries that don’t really feel the necessity to welcome guests — or that cost a hefty visitation price.    

Within the Luberon area within the Southern Rhône Valley of France, new house owners purchased Chateau de Mille, a thirteenth century medieval citadel and the oldest vineyard within the Luberon, and set about making it an ideal place for visitors — younger, outdated, adventurous or cerebral. Exploring the citadel and grounds or having fun with the on-property artwork galleries and reside music solely provides to the wine expertise.

“Hospitality is certainly on the coronary heart of our strategy at Château de Mille,” says vintner Constance Slaughter, a French native,  who owns the vineyard along with her American husband, Larry. “We provide personal excursions of the property, together with the winery, the château, the medieval chapel, the landscaped gardens, the viticulture museum and the personal archive assortment.” Excursions conclude with a personal tasting on the renovated 1907 vineyard or on the château.

Vineyards of Chateau de Mille

She continues, “After an unlimited renovation venture applied by native artisans, we’re delighted to share this unimaginable area to the broader public. The aptésiens [locals] are completely satisfied to lastly entry this a part of their native heritage and to share private tales.” Visitor villas invite guests to remain some time for a full southern Rhône immersion.

Welcoming Friends, Italian-style 

One other vineyard bringing upscale hospitality for the plenty is within the Chianti region of Italy.

Il Molino di Grace is a spectacular property that hosted greater than 12,000 guests final 12 months and bought 20% of its manufacturing by the tasting room. Staffed with educated guides that talk English, German, French and Spanish, tasting isn’t intimidating and everybody leaves with extra wine savvy than they’d earlier than they arrived. In any case, Italians are all about type.

Renovated thirteenth century Chateau de Mille within the Luberon, France.

“For us, the strategy to hospitality is essential. Within the final 5 years, we’ve invested cash to create the most effective situations to host individuals specifically for wine tasting and tour within the vineyards,” says Vineyard Director Iacopo  Morganti. “Our visitors are excited to stroll within the vineyards, style the wines exterior and now have one thing to eat.” 

Il Molino di Grace oozes historical past in its hospitality, and artwork, which is essential to the Grace household, might be jaw-dropping but approachable. A farmhouse is on the market as an AirBnB  within the vineyards dotted with out of doors sculpture among the many rolling hills of Chianti. E-book this beautiful property by the hyperlink on the vineyard’s web site “Winery Keep.”

In one other area of Tuscany, Montalcino, most Brunello producers don’t have tasting rooms. Fairly, wine bars for tasting are scattered round this charming city. Longtime producer Tommaso Cortonesi, of Cortonesi Montalcino Wines, will give an trade customer a tour and tasting however depends on the very well-stocked Enoteca la Fortezza di Montalcino, with its extremely educated workers, to introduce his 5,000-case manufacturing wine to the general public.

Cellar Doorways are open

Australia’s de Bortoli vineyard has a number of “cellar door” hospitality facilities

Down underneath in Australia, tasting rooms are identified by the charming identify “cellar doorways.” At DeBortoli Wines, a big producer of each high quality wines and huge export labels, hospitality is essential at its cellar doorways within the Yarra Valley, Bilbul, Hunter Valley and (the most recent) Rutherglen. Cellar doorways open to wine tasting and sometimes have a restaurant. Wine is the star and the restaurant the supporting participant.

Leeann De Bortoli explains, “all of our cellar doorways are fairly completely different as a result of they’re positioned in fairly completely different areas…we satisfaction ourselves on offering heat, pleasant hospitality to all guests, reflecting our Italian heritage.

Bilbul Cellar Door is the oldest cellar door — the mothership — the place all of it started again in 1928 when De Bortoli was based by my grandfather. It’s additionally residence to Noble One, considered one of Australia’s most iconic and highly-awarded dessert wines,” says DeBortoli. 

“Earlier than Covid, 50% of our guests have been from abroad and worldwide journey has been just a little sluggish to return nevertheless it is returning, spearheaded by Singapore and India, however we are actually seeing American guests coming by,” she says. “Experiential visitation is on the rise: our visitors wish to see the grapes on the vine, perceive the method — be taken on a journey. Gone are the times when guests would rock up at a cellar door and stand on the bar to style [free] wine.” 

DeBertoli Wines Yarra Valley

French Aptitude in Sonoma County

John Jordan, president of his namesake, Jordan Vineyards & Winery, likes to say, “We concentrate on three issues: Chardonnay, Cabernet and hospitality. Hospitality is a pillar of who we’re.” 

With wine tasting experiences starting at $80, Jordan isn’t cheap. As experiences turn out to be extra complicated and embody seated food pairings, excursions, and hikes, the worth can escalate to $350 per visitor for one thing like Jordan’s well-known Parisian Pop-up dinner. The vineyard has loyal followers and considers its audiences complete “with just a little one thing for everybody, from Gen Z and millennial visitors who’re new to wine nation to long-time wine collectors of their 50s and 60s.”

Hospitality Turning into Key

Wine hospitality can tackle many types however, internationally, wine experiences have gotten essential all over the place. Wine bought personally from a vineyard good points many issues from an intimate reference to the model and long-time clients to an enhanced backside line.

The writer at Chateau de Mille in Apt, Luberon, France.

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3 months ago

Excellent Article.