In the heart of the Italian Prealps, Domodossola is not traditionally recognized as a wine center. However, Edoardo Patrone has changed this perception. Founding his company in 2016 after a stint in Australia, he embarked on a journey that transformed the area into a vibrant reference point for wine tourism. His story highlights the importance of innovation and adaptability in the wine industry.

How did the idea of developing a wine business in an area like Domodossola, traditionally not associated with wine, come about?

Upon returning from Australia, I seized the opportunity to enhance the abandoned vineyards, often owned by elderly people who could no longer care for them. Without a winery or vineyards of our own, we started working on microscopic plots, today totaling about 5.5 hectares across 35 micro plots, gradually integrating wine production with wine tourism.

What strategies have been employed to emerge in a territory not traditionally known for wine tourism?

Our proximity to Switzerland and Lake Maggiore played a crucial role. We attracted Swiss and international tourists, not just for the local market but also for our wine tourism initiatives. Interestingly, the Swiss tourist, despite being close, has a high acquisition cost, so we decided to focus on other markets, particularly the English-speaking ones, thanks also to the hospitality and language skills brought by my wife, trained in Switzerland.

What obstacles have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

The main obstacle was the wage competition with Switzerland, which made it difficult to recruit qualified personnel willing to work in Italy. We also faced the challenge of customizing our tourist offerings to different market segments, while maintaining efficient management of bookings and seasonal activities.

How have you developed the skills to successfully manage the company and what do you consider essential?

Besides language proficiency, which is fundamental, we have focused heavily on the customer experience. We reduced traditional guided tours in the cellar, preferring to let visitors explore on their own, with ready-to-use support and informational materials. This approach allows for a more personal and less formal experience, better meeting the desires of the modern customer.

What strategies do you use to manage visitor flows and activities during the low season?

We have implemented special events and promotions during quieter periods, such as themed tastings and collaborations with other local businesses. This allows us to keep interest high all year round and to balance tourist flows, also using downtime to analyze data and plan improvements.

How long did it take to see the first significant results and how did you measure success?

The first five years were crucial in establishing the foundations of our wine tourism business. We have consistently expanded our offerings and refined the customer experience based on feedback received, which has allowed us to grow and reach new milestones, such as a significant increase in annual tastings.

The transformation of Domodossola into a successful wine tourism destination, led by Edoardo Patrone, highlights how passion, innovation, and understanding of local and international dynamics can rewrite the fate of a territory. This adventure has not only renewed the region’s image but has also created a sustainable model of wine tourism that celebrates the local culture and landscape.