Via Vino & Odysseia-In participated again in the leading global event for the wine and culinary tourism industry. The 9th Annual International Wine Tourism Conference, Exhibition & Workshop (IWINETC) was held in the region of Catania, Sicily, Italy 28 & 29 March 2017.
The 3 day event (2 day conference & 1 day Workshop), followed by winery visits (2 days) in Sicily delivers thought provoking professional education, an extensive exhibition area to discover wine travel destinations and their wines, a focused business environment for wine tour operators to meet wine tourism experience providers and a chance to discover the wine tourism highlights of the host destination…
There are 3 major varieties which are growing in the Etna region – Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio (reds) and Carricante (white). These are actually needed for the classification Etna rosso, resp. Etna bianco DOC. Of course, the minerality is dominating but quite typical are the sweet spices and the dry finish. Some wineries are producing also sparkling wine (the classical method) / Spumante – mostly off-dry and very refreshing. The trend among winemakers today are light bodied wines, avoiding often the oak aging. We had the opportunity to taste plenty of local wines in the wineries but also during the perfectly organized and conducted Grand Tasting of Etna Wines.
Almost 250 delegates from 32 different countries were attending. The grape escape destinations such as Italy, Spain, USA but also “emerging” ones as Hungary, Georgia, Slovenia and of course Bulgaria have been presented. The conference programme was interesting, though it could be further improved…
I would mark as essential the numerous useful meetings, the networking and a few fascinating wine cellars which we have visited – Benanti, Murgo and Fattorie Romeo del Castello. The latter has provided one of the most impressive wine experiences I have ever had – hospitality, homemade food, breathtaking nature, excellent wine and much more!
Talking about breathtaking nature I must say a few words about Etna – the most active European volcano, stretching high above and appearing suddenly when travelling in the area with its constantly smoking peaks… Yes – it is impressive! On top of that it is influencing strongly the wines – ashes from the erruptions form the soil, lava flows sometimes could be devastating for the vines but generally speaking the volcano contributes to the uniqueness of Etna wines!
Once again – connecting to like-minded, nice people and experienced professionals is great and priceless. As much as the joy of enchanting together good food and wine – not only Italian but Hungarian, Portugese, Georgian, Greek (thanks to my friends Sissy and Marian from Grapefool)… And a few bottles Bulgarian which I have brought to impress the wine lovers from around the world knowing nothing about our wines and our country. Well, I think I succeeded!
Next year the conference will take place in Budapest, Hungary. Knowing the nice guys from Wine A’More (a leading Hungarian wine travel provider) and the way Hungary is developing the wine tourism as a national strategy I am sure it will be successful and well organized event!