/Wine Tourism – Routes Italy – Greece

Wine Tourism – Routes Italy – Greece

Fotini Mamiou – Master of International Studies from the University of Aegean, fvtinimaniou@yahoo.gr
Aikaterini Michopoulou – ΜSc Tourism Business Administration (Hellenic Open University), toum18670308@uniwa.gr
Angelopoulos Marios – University of Western Attica, Department of Tourism, mariosangelopoulos@hotmail.com


The purpose of this paper is to present the phenomenon of wine-makingin Greece and Italy. To highlight the characteristics of wine tourism in those countries either positive or negative. Also the “Road of wine” in both countries is analyzed and the way they manage this event to welcome tourists and locals who want to learn more things about local wine. The first section analyzes the definition of tourism, tourist incentive, forms of alternative tourism and the consequences arising from tourism on the economy and society. The second section analyzes the history of wine in Greece and Italy. Immediately after, the classification of the wine is developed based on the aging time but also based on the color. The concept of wine tourism and its goals are also being developed. The third section mentions the routes of the Peloponnese in general and in particular which wineries and which places / islands take part in the event. Immediately after, the routes of wineries of Achaia are analyzed in the event “Wine Road”. Then it is mentioned how the event “Wine Road” started in Italy and especially in Venice.

Keywords: Italy, Greece, White wine, Red wine, Wine history, Wine tourism, Wine roads

1.1 Tourism Concept

As it is stated by Leiper (1975), tourism is the transition and temporary stay of a man in a place different from that of his residence but also in a place, an area. The concept of tourism is different for eachperson. However, there are two common features that mark the concept of tourism. It is the temporary abandonment of physical and psychological motives and techno-economic mechanisms of tourist reception. When we talk about tourism, we mean traveling away from home. So as tourism we could name all the relationships but also of phenomena where they occurred through a journey. This trip could be to a specific place of residence either domestically or internationally.

1.2 Tourist Incentive

According to Goeldner (1995) incentives which lead people to do tourism can be divided into four categories. These are :

  1. Personal motivation. That is, the need to avoid the routine of everyday life that creates in people the desire to escape and meet new people or to visit friends or relatives.
  2. Motivations of prestige and high social status. That is, the need of some people for personal development where it takes place through trips that are related to their work, attending conferences and more.
  3. Incentives to serve and compensate for a limited freedom. That is, the break from the tedious rhythms of everyday life where they do not allow people to enjoy what pleases and relaxes them.
  4. Incentives for education and exploration. It is the innate tendency of people to learn and experience new things which increase the educational level and theexpansion of their horizons.

1.3 Forms of alternative tourism

The alternative forms of tourism are opposed to the traditional “forms” of mass development. In alternative tourism there are social as well as economic changes intended to improve the standard of living and of social culture. The alternative tourist generally pursues the acquaintance with the environment and culture.

1.4 Consequences of Tourism

Tourism is a successful industry in the modern era with a global character even though it appeared on 1950’s. This is, despite its relatively short lifespan. With the aim of achieving proper management of tourism policy a lot of researches and studies have been done. These recorded the effects of tourism in the society, the economy but also in culture. So starting with the economy, we can see that according to WTO ( World Tourism Organization ) tourism is crucial. Decisive in both national and global economic developments. (Manola, 2019). The economic affects are:

  1. The inflow of foreign exchange, Tourism remains its deficits developed and strengthens other areas in need of improvements. So, tourism is therefore a foreign exchange export industry.
  2. The strengthening of investments in new tourism economic activities. As long as tourism is developed more and more people want to work / deal in this area. This results in growth of GDP, that is with investments come new jobs but also money in the country.
  3. Strengthening employment. Tourism produces employment it is especially in countries like Greece. That is, because countries like Greece are affected by economic crisis and unemployment. An answer to these problems is Tourism, because tourism sector offers many opportunities for permanent or seasonal work. In addition, it offers many career opportunities as it is considered more accessible than other sectors of the economy.

Society, on the other hand, cannot be left unaffected. The development of tourism is not necessarily bad. This is because a theoretically new step has its pros and cons. The development of tourism creates the tendency to copy in many things. For example, in customs, in the consumption of goods and in the way of life. There is still a shift in investments to provide tourist service from productive activities. On the other hand, the inhabitants of the tourist areas have changed their behavior towards tourists because it was something foreign to them and now everyone is communicative, take time and have direct contact with the tourist.( Manola,  & Papagrigoriou, 2020).

  1. Concept and classification of wine tourism

2.1 The History of wine in Greece

Grapes are a fruitwhich belongs to the category of fruits which were available to man and the world in general since antiquity. We could not claim with certainty where did the first vineyard exist. Some areas are considered cradles of wine and viticulture. These areas are of the Caucasus, Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. Viticulture is estimated to have started around 5.000 B.C. It is said that Crete was the first region to hold wine in Greece, then Naxos and later wine got spread to the rest of Greece. The ancient Greeks mixed wine with water in a ratio of 1:3 so that they will drink it. That is, one part wine and three parts water. For the ancient Greeks wine was used to honor the God Dionysus (God of wine and feasting), while the usual events were banquets where they drank wine. The clergy and the monks were the ones whom during the Byzantine years dealt with viticulture. There was a decline in the quality of agricultural production and consequently the level of the wine. Thus the best local winemaking traditions were articulated within the modern wineries of the monasteries of the times with a specific purpose. This goal resulted in the improvement of wine production techniques and the production of a large quantity of good quality wine as they did. In 1969 Greece benefited from its efforts to join the European Union. Thus the wine legislation was revised and a new reality began for the wine industry. In 1971 we have the first categorization of Greek Wines. At that time, the first designations of origin of wine in Greece were legislated according to the standards of French legislation. Wine technologies have received serious investments and improvements in recent years in the Greek wine industry. The technology helps the new generation of winemakers to be better educated so that their efforts pay off. As is the case with Greek wines which continue to receive the highest awards in international competitions as well as the recognition they deserve.

2.2 The History of wine in Italy

Wine tourism in Italy started to grow as a thematic for of agro tourism in the ‘90s. At that time only a few areas took part and preceded the organization of wine tourism programs aimed at information of wine tourism. This is how they created the so-called “Wine Roads” with wineries to visit. In 1993 it became the first implementation of this program. This event became known to the whole Italy and as a result they profited 200.000 euros. It should even be noted that from all over Italy only 20 wineries had taken part in this event. These events continued to happen in the coming years. It started in Northern Italy and equally later in the rest of Italy. These positive results made the first wineries in Tuscany open their doors to the public in 1993. Eventually attempts were made to hold a world event called “Wine Day”, but unfortunately this attempt was unsuccessful. This wine tourism movement and the association that now organizes the “Wine Road” printed brochures, promoted and above all taught the producers how to organize discounts, excursions and tasting days for visitors. Even today this event exists in Italy as well as others, at Christmas time and the time when the grapes are picked. As always rapid growth has its pros and cons. Today in Italy the percentage of winemakers who let people visit is very small. Out of the 21.000 vineyards with one store, only 1.000 of them areproud to have trained multilingual staff, informative entertainment activity and a well-equipped shopping area.

2.3 Wine classification based on aging time

According to what I have read as of now the classification of wines in terms of aging is done depending on the time that has elapsed between the triangle and at the moment when the wines can be bottled. That is, after they are released for consumption. These intervals can be checked at any time through the winery’s books. The classification is divided into the following:

  1. a) Early wines. These are the wines that can be sold in a very short period of time. The most typical example of such wines is Beaujolais Nouveau.
  2. b) Fresh wines. These are wines where they must be consumed in a short time of period after they are released. That is after bottling them.
  3. c) Aged wines. It is the wine which is found in barrels where on each one of them has a number that indicates months that the wine has been aging.
  4. d) It’s a well know wine cellar which exists for table wines. As we understand, the wine cellar refers to aging time. Two years aging for white wines and three for red wines respectively.
  5. e) Finally, there are special indications. These tell us the category, the time and the method where it was used for for the aging of wines. There are, therefore, the indication Selected (Reserve) and Specially Selected (Grande Reserve). The term “Reserve” exists for wines that have been aged in wooden barrels and bottles.

2.4 Classification of wine based on money

 The classification based on color is the simplest. That’s because it is easily made depending on the color of the wine. So we have white and red wines.

  1. a) White wines.

White wines are created by several varieties of Grapes. So we have the following categories:

  • White wines coming from white varieties of Grapes.
  • White wines made by red varieties of Grapes. This is because the majority of red grape cells do not contain pigments, so the flesh is white. This enables producers with careful ecchymosis to be able to produce white wines from red varieties.
  1. b) Rosé wines.

Red wines or Rosé wines are wines with light red color. They are created from red grape varieties or from red grapes only.

  1. c) Red wines.

Red wines come exclusively from red grapes. The dark red wines are often referred to as black wines.

2.5 Meaning of wine tourism

For the development of the vineyard industry wine is considered to be an opportunity. As  Manola,  & Koufadakis,  refers (2020), the wine is associated with the need for relaxation, communication with friends and hospitality.  Wine tourism is a kind of alternative tourism that is constantly evolving. Wine tourism is a form of tourism where one thing takes place. This is because through visits to vineyards and wineries visitors / tourists learn the “route” or otherwise about the wine production processes. Wine tourism includes some basic elements:

a)Visits of growers and buyers to vineyards for purchase or scientific purposes. That is, for business tourism and

  1. b) Visits to vineyards in general, in order to understand the process of wine production or even tasting.

However, it is not considered a new phenomenon. That is because there are reports of visits to vineyards and wineries where they had begun to take place from the beginning of classical times.

2.6 Objectives of wine tourism

According to the Association of Wine Producers (2010), the wines created by any winemaker are positive and each one helps individually in the development of the Greek Winery and wine tourism. Wine tourism nowadays is more and more connected with marketing. He’s responsible for the development of the viticulture industry. Countries with a developed wine sector but also with a tradition in it use wine tourism as a strategy to reduce the relationship with the consumer. Tasting is one thing that results in the right information and product sales. The goals of wine tourism are:

  • Maintaining or even generating local income
  • Contribution to social and economic reception costs
  • Contribution to the development of other sectors of an industrial nature
  • Contribution to local facilities for example sports facilities but also contribution to services for example schools and
  • To contribute to the conversation of cultural resources as well as environmental resources.

3.Routes Italy – Greece

3.1 Wine roads of Peloponnese

For 3.500 years the area of ancient Nemea is the area where the first vineyard was planted and from then the viticulture continues without interruption. The place / area of Nemeahas been characterized as a Name of Origin. That’s because from this place the most important Greek red wine variety is being created and bottled. This variety is known to all of us with the name Agioreitiko. In this area there are several farms which have many vines around them. The vineyards extend to many areas of Nemea. Due to the soil which is of low fertility we result in high quality grapes. The distinctive quality of the wine is given by the combination of microclimate, the weather conditions and with the help of human resources. This increases the will of people / visitors either from Greece or from other countries abroad to visit vineyards and wineries of this area. Greek wines are recognized internationally as they hold several awards and Greek wineries are of interest to the wine-lovers visitors. In today’s era of tasting and dining but also accommodations were created so that visitors / wine tourists can experience a complete tour of the vineyards. As the “Wine Road” was created in Italy, the “Wine Roads of the Peloponnese” event has been created, where the body that supports and plans this whole event is the Association of Wine Producers of the Peloponnese Vineyards. There, the products of the Peloponnese, where olive oil and diversity of local flavors are predominant, will accompany the very wide range of wines. The actions of this Association are great and from the islands in the western part of Greece. Like the islands of the Ionian Sea where it is one of the most popular tourist destination in Greece. The wine roads of the Peloponnese invite wine and wine tourism lovers to visit and discover the magic of its vineyards. The routes have been addressed and designed so that the incomparable beauty of the landscapes enchants the visitors to get to know the world of wine in 40 wineries.

Wine roads of Achaia:The wine roads of Achaia are full of exciting routes. These routes are directly in the mountains but also at sea. One of the most charming areas of the Peloponnese for wine tourism in Achaia is Kalavrita. Kalavrita is full of sights and beautiful landscapes. The wine road of Achaia is an enjoyable experience in any season, whether winter or summer. Next to the sea on the beach of Egialia, the railway of Odontotos which crosses the gorge of Vouraikos, the caves, the archeological sites and the monasteries of the area.

3.2  Wine roads of Italy

As we have seen in the history of Italian wine since the 90’s, the so-called “Wine Roads” were created. Nevertheless, this event had started with a few wineries, mainly from Rome. In other words, all this started in the capital of Italy. It was a way for the Italians to learn the quality of the wines but also to create the interest of foreigners / tourists to take part in the event. Since other regions of Italy and more specifically wineries of other regions noticed the impact of this event, immediately afterwards other wineries took part in it. The “Wine Roads of Italy” include a visit to the vineyards, passes by beautiful coastal and mountainous places. In the mountainous parts, anyone who wants to do mountaineering can observe the area or even the vineyards of the winemakers from a high altitude. Despite its smaller size compared to France where it is only 60%, Italy has a successful and world-renowned wine production. A large number of wine tourists and ordinary wine lovers dream of visiting Venice. One reason is to see how the Venetians have managed to create vineyards in that place and the second reason is to visit the beautiful Venice, go on gondolas and see sights. Apart from these, there are many competitions, for example the competition called Vinofonino. Vino meaning wine and telefonino meaning mobile phone. According to wine news (2007), wine tourists take part in this competition and it is said that they spent their day through photos or videos where they took themselves form wineries and in general from this competition. The photos of the winner will be posted on the website of the event partner. This competition is help by some wineries as part of the “Wine Roads of Italy” event.( Manola.& Koltsikoglou.2020).

 Wine Roads of Venice: The name Veneto, which is also the name of the capital Venice, comes from a tribe called the Veneti. Veneto, located in northern Italy, is just one of the three regions of northern Italy. These three regions called Trentino-Alto Adige and Fruili-Venezia-Giulia together with the Veneto region cover northeastern Italy and produce some of the best white wines in the country. For example, Amarone has been placed on the list of the best wines in the world. This was rated by professionals and wine lovers. Of these three areas Veneto is the best known. In the past, the region produced and exported poor quality wines to Great Britain and United States. At that time the aim was to produce delicious easily but also in large quantities of wines. So, they did not pay attention to high standards and expectations. In Veneto, however, they achieved this with great success. This production volume in quantity of wine grapes in the Veneto region is corresponding and competes with respective producers in the regions of Sicily and Pulp. Nevertheless, in recent years, winemaking has taken place in Veneto, highlighting the area and its potential. Thus, the “Wine roads of Venice” were created, where well-known varieties of wine from Italy and the region of Venice are presented. The Veneto area is divided into 4 zones. Due to the special peculiarity, there are crops in the river called Pados (Po). That is, it is a riparian zone where there are winery vineyards and it is the coastal zone where Venice is located. The river Pados (Po) flows through Venice and divides it into three regions. These areas are:

a)Area to the west where Lake Garda and a volcanic mountain range called Monte Lessiniare located. There we find the wines Soave, Valpolicella and Bardolino. In this area the city of Verona where there is an exhibition of Italian wines which attracts lovers of wine and wine tourism from around the world to visit and buy.

  1. b) Area in the northern hills of Veneto, above Treviso. In this area there are two villages where a famous sparkling wine called Prosecco is produced.
  2. c) The central Veneto, from Venice to Vetsenza where you can find the well-known and easy-to-drink Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio up to the very interesting wines produced in the ColliBerici, ColliEuganei and Breganze regions.

Greece is already a very developed tourist destination. The sea, the sun and the incomparable beauty of the landscapes attract millions of tourists per time. The emergence of a new alternative tourism in Greece was a matter of time. Wine tourism is therefore growing rapidly and in the coming years it is estimated that it will be able to compete with destinations in Italy where wine tourism has evolved more for example, the region of Tuscany and Venice. The country has many wine-producing zones, especially in the law of Achaia, where they can be turned into vineyards. To do this, however, great care is required and organized effort to organize the wineries, to keep their architecture and their history.

Motivation of a simple person who loves wine and a wine tourist to follow the wine routes and visit the wineries of Achaia and the Peloponnese in general is enough. For example, the tours in the vineyards, the acquaintance with the winemaker, the modern hospitality facilities and the participation in activities. The “Wine Roads” essentially connect the wineries of each region with wine tourist being able to be guided to other destinations.


Foreign bibliography – articles:

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