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Wine Tourism in Italy Growing in Popularity

Even people who aren’t into wine know that Italy is famous for its wine production – which is one reason wine tourism is such big business in Italy. In fact, a recent report shows that wine tourism in Italy is growing in popularity, with more than €2.5 billion in annual revenue (yes, that’s billion with a “b!”), so the Italian wine industry continues to be a good thing for the country’s economy.

While being a DIY wine tourist in Italy hasn’t always been as easy as it is in, say, Napa Valley, Italian wine producers are starting to make it easier to visit wineries without being part of an organized tour. The annual “Open Cellars” events, organized by the Wine Tourism Movement (in Italian the acronym is MTV), are a great start – this is when people can visit select vineyards throughout the country as well as get out of the city and experience some of that legendary Italian country life, too. Open Cellars 2008 is this Sunday, May 25.

In addition to the annual Open Cellars day, there are also special itineraries which take you through some of Italy’s more popular wine regions. These are called Italy’s “wine roads” (think of them like Scotland’s “whisky trail”), and there are currently 140 of them. MTV also organizes other events throughout the year which help to highlight Italian wines and wine regions.

The article I found about the increase in Italian wine tourism gives some other interesting statistics about the amount of money generated by wine in Italy, but I think my favorite part of the article was this:

There are currently around five million practising wine tourists, also known as ‘wine-nauts’, in Italy.

Two things strike me as funny – first, “practising wine tourists?” That makes it sound like a religion! (And to many, I suppose, it is!) And second, “wine-nauts?” That makes them sound like they’re all Germans. I wonder how many of them actually are?