Former senator Dario Stefàno and wine entrepreneur Donatella Cinelli Colombini have authored the manual Enotourism 4.0, focusing on the wine tourism sector with an emphasis on the impact of digital technology.

The work, presented in the Senate on March 6 and reported by Gambero Rosso, represents the most extensive analysis of Italian wine destinations (cities and wineries), investigated by Nomisma Wine Monitor, which has worked on an extensive sample of 145 municipalities and 265 companies.

Read also: The insurmountable challenges of wineries wanting to engage in wine tourism

Every year 15 million visits

The sector is becoming increasingly strategic for all Italian tourism, and the manual (contributed to by Le Donne del Vino, Movimento Turismo del Vino, Città del Vino, Nomisma Wine Monitor) finally defines the categories in which to group the wineries, which today register 15 million visits each year and derive 7% of their business from wine tourism. Specifically, these include small family-run wineries (39%), wineries of historical, architectural, or artistic significance (14%), well-known brands/historic labels (12%), wineries with landscape or natural significance (11%), wineries organized for incoming tourism (11%), and wineries with innovative offerings (11%).

Women dominate in consumer relations

The text illustrates, for example, the operation of wine clubs (very popular in the USA) and explains why Italian wineries should use more technology in interacting with visitors, stopping the offering of cookie-cutter wine experiences. It also addresses the role of women in the wine industry: they are a minority in the production sector but dominate – including in terms of career progression – the areas closest to consumers, namely sales, wine tourism, communication, and marketing.

Among the weaknesses is closure on weekends and holidays

The problems are not lacking, as highlighted in the work presented to the Senate. While it is true that tourist-oriented wineries in Italy are accelerating the creation of experiences, they still face three types of obstacles: distance from tourist flows (32%), a lack of contacts, and a shortage of trained personnel in wine hospitality (74%). The issue of accessibility to facilities on holidays and weekends remains, paradoxically at the times when visitor numbers increase: on Saturdays and Sundays, to this day, 50% of the wineries remain closed (except by appointment).