Wine tourism has been consolidated in Italy since 1993 thanks to the birth of the “Movimento del Turismo del Vino”, a non-profit association that selects the most prestigious Italian wineries on the basis of specific requirements.

Enotourism, or wine tourism, is a true wine and food experience that combines a visit to places and territories of production with knowledge of the culture of the indigenous population.

Wine represents an integral part of our national identity, so much so that it is a source of curiosity or awakening of interest, even for tourist activities considered different from the “classic” ones. Nonetheless, wine tourism could be an even better known phenomenon if there were a greater involvement of tourists in routes that pay more attention to nature, the search for one’s roots and the desire to re-appropriate traditions belonging to our national culture.

Over the years, there has been a massive increase in wine tourism. In fact, various events have been organised throughout the boot of Italy, such as “Cantine Aperte”, “Calici sotto le stelle”, “Benvenuta Vendemmia”, and others; these events have crossed national borders and thanks to them has been possible to consolidate the ties between travellers who are passionate about wine and the wineries in the sector.

In the course of company visits, it is possible not only to promote one’s own product, but also to renew one’s own company as a tourist service, expanding its image and prospects.

The Sars-Covid 19 pandemic has changed daily and tourist habits to such an extent that tourists conceive and organise their trips differently, preferring open spaces, immersed in nature, even for short or medium-haul trips or for really short periods (so-called short breaks). No less important is the quality of the gastronomic products offered during the visit: typical food and drink, mostly organic and with a very low environmental impact, respecting the surrounding flora and fauna.

In 1999, “Strade del Vino” was created: unique routes designed for this particular tourist sector, with new road signs specifically indicating as many as 150 routes, with 400 labels and a total of 3300 wineries. Consider that, the great success achieved led to the Wine Routes being regulated in 2006 with the European Wine Tourism Charter.

But who is the wine tourist?

The typical profile of the wine and food tourist varies according to nationality. Although the estimated age generally ranges from 30 to 50 years, what stands out is the difference in the time spent visiting and organising according to origin.

Foreign tourists, in fact, tend to rely on Tour Operators and stay for about 4 days in the winery, while the Italian tourist organises his trip on his own, preferring a visit and tasting in one day, extending the visit to the next day at most. Spring is the preferred season, with an estimated expenditure of around 150€ per day.

Wine tourism is an intermediate phenomenon, neither mass nor niche, and represents a growing volume that could only be properly segmented if professionals in the sector invested more in training and a marketing strategy aimed at maximising profit.

It would therefore be a good idea to stimulate travellers with something new, never trivial, in which hospitality is the primary focus, because it is not simply the quality product that generates profits, but also the communication of the company philosophy and the identity of the label.

What is the situation of wine tourism in Sicily?

IRVO, Istituto Regionale Vini e Oli di Sicilia (Regional Institute of Wine and Olive Oil of Sicily), was established in 1950 as a public body serving Sicilian wine-growing, responsible for the protection, development and promotion of wine production.

The body seriously considers and values the “cultural” aspect of wine, and it is precisely to this end that IRVO has sought over the past 70 years to maintain collaborations with other similar bodies, so that gastronomic goods and territory can be promoted at the same time.

Among the places in Sicily where wine tourism is possible, we have here a list of wineries, with all the services available.

Discover Sicilian Wineries