Editor in Chief at Wine Meridian
Fabio Piccoli is a wine journalist and an agricultural expert, specialized in wine marketing. He is the editor in chief of Wine Meridian, a web magazine which promotes Italian wine around the world. He is an internationalization expert, responsible for the promotion of Italian wines on international markets. Fabio is a published author writing about wine, wine marketing and communication in the food and beverage sector. He is a well-know organizer of food and wine events in the U.S., Canada, the EU, Russia, China and Northern Europe. He received numerous awards for his editorial production.
"Virtual reality leaves one wanting: only real life wine tourism can fit the bill"
In tourism, as in wine, the real and the virtual each have valid yet different roles. Further, Italian wine tourism will ring true if it can offer varied and authentic experiences. By effectively weaving a balance between reality and virtual reality, the wine sector has the opportunity to benefit our country, the agrifood industry, and tourism’s restart. The virtual, on its own, serves as a poor substitute for real experience, and it sells short Italian wine tourism, merely creating the illusion of travel, associated learning, and emotion. Two examples from this past summer allow us a glimpse of a new “wine experience” approach to tourism: Donne del Vino “camper friendly” and Touring Club Italia visited fifty-seven winemakers, while the Italian Wine Tour, presented by Wine Meridian, traveled by camper to cantine in each of Italy’s constituent regions. Such initiatives underscore the potential of a blended tourism. These trips involved direct interaction with wine producers, businesses, and territories. What’s more, the moments lived were unique, full of real emotion, and unfiltered. Still, these stories were shared with the world through digital means – here, the realm of the virtual amplified the message and added value. This year camper licensing is up 104-per-cent compared to the summer of 2019, and campers have been proposed as the icon of a new mode of travel. Campers can also set up itineraries not traditionally “made for tourists,” such as vineyard visits. Meanwhile, the summer of 2020 saw cities traditionally associated with the arts left empty, while post-COVD tourists sought “green” experiences supplemented by wine and gastronomy. The “digital revolution” has only gathered speed given the worldwide pandemic and the internet has rebroadcast well known wine places, standardizing information and continuing trends that have continually focused more and more attention on the biggest companies and the most famous wine territories. Through typical viral mechanisms of the web, those with critical mass have only augmented their already copious visibility and recognition. The revival of wine tourism, within the overarching umbrella of the agroalimentary sector, is poised to capture the attractions and desires of tourists if we can successfully find appropriate roles for the real and the virtual – roles that complement and reinforce each other. In this way we can reverse the divorce of real experience from that which Italian tourism can offer. Particularly because of its authenticity and continued evolution, Italian wine tourism will continue to excite, surprise, and engage.