Allegrini 2024

Open weekends, young audiences and more and more experiences to come: the growth of wine tourism

Report by Divinea: turnover at +11%, visitors willing to spend more. Italy leads in visits ahead of the US. Good seasonal adjustment
Wine tourism is a growing phenomenon, atouts from Divinea research

Turnover up 11%, although with an average number of visitors to the winery down 6%, the result, however, of steadily increasing competition; a receipt per reservation that is getting “heavier” (109 euros, +18% over 2022), “deseasonalization” that is growing (as are the offers proposed and the “loyal” customers) with visits going increasingly “strong”, thanks to the willingness to open on weekends with wine-lovers increasingly eager for recurring experiences (96.5%) rather than participating in events (3.5%), useful in any case to mitigate the impact of seasonality. And then the young, they are the most “curious” and interested in visiting wineries and this bodes well for the future of the sector. Appearing, therefore, healthy are the numbers of Italian wine tourism, as shown by the data published in the “Report Enotourism and Direct-to-Consumer Sales 2024”, produced by the technology company Divinea with the intention of supporting wine businesses and industry experts to seize the opportunities related to direct sales and wine tourism, through an analysis of data. A document that also involved, in its concluding part, the Catholic University of Milan with research on sustainability.
On the other hand, that wine tourism is an indispensable economic engine for wineries was pointed out, at WineNews, by Denis Pantini and Roberta Gabrielli of Nomisma Wine Monitor: “winery tourism is a cross-cutting development lever for large and small wineries. Especially in the case of smaller wineries, it can come to represent more than 20% of turnover, and is a direct attractor, but also an indirect channel of enhancement, of tourism in Italy. Not only tastings: the “tourist grape harvest”, picnics in the vineyard or winery, and of course direct sales favored by the experience itself are growing. And the mix with sports and wellness also works very well”.
Returning to Divinea’s study, 2023 marked a shift in gear for wine tourism in Italy: experiences have diversified and wineries equipped to welcome visitors even on weekends (in 2023, +30% those that can be visited on Saturdays). Therefore, it is not surprising that the turnover born from wine tourism services has grown by 11%. Data from the “Wine Tourism and Direct-to-Consumer Sales Report 2024” were collected anonymously through 350 client wineries using “Wine Suite”, the Crm and Marketing Software developed by Divinea, and analyzed together with sales data from divinea.com and Google Analytics metrics related to wine tourism experiences booked on divinea.com in 2023. A year in which Italian wine tourism offerings changed rapidly, with wineries offering an average of 6 different experiences or events (there were 4.7 wine tourism offerings on average during 2022). Opening days also changed, and the number of wineries that could be visited on Saturdays rose to 78.1%, or almost +30% compared to 60.3% in the previous year, while 54.2% of wineries equipped themselves to welcome visitors on Sundays as well. For time slots, the 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. slots remain the most popular, although these preferences vary significantly depending on the different wine areas: for example, in the Prosecco DOCG area, more than 30 percent of visits take place at 10 a.m., while in Puglia more than a third of visits take place in the afternoon, at 4 p.m. There are two factors encouraging year-round winery visits. On the one hand, milder temperatures in autumn and winter, and, on the other, an increasing number of wineries that have developed targeted seasonal offers. Data confirm this trend: between March, April, November and December, more than 25% of total visits were recorded (+4% compared to 21% last year). A statistic that confirms a change in the seasonality of wine tourism, which historically has always focused on the months from May to October.
Another interesting fact, and one that goes against the trend of the younger generation drinking less and less, concerns winery visits, which are attracting more and more young people to the winery. Confirming this is the fact that 43.8% of those who have booked a winery experience in 2023 are between 25 and 34 years old. Next we find the 35-44 and 45-54 bracket with 23.1% and 15.3% respectively, which are often families. For the nationality of origin of visitors is highly variable according to different wine territories, overall two-thirds of winery visitors are Italian and 10% are from the United States. European foreigners account for 20% with Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom together taking the majority and generally being a particularly popular audience given that they often travel by car and tend to buy far higher than average quantities of wine. The report’s data highlight how a well-implemented strategy toward the end consumer can not only lead to significant growth in direct sales, but also to an increase, up to a doubling, of wineries’ sales margins.
On the topic of direct sales at the winery, 76.5% of visitors make purchases after an experience, another growing figure. In addition, the average receipt of an order placed in the winery store is 140 euros, +19% over 2022. Online sales are no different, reporting a 30% increase in the average value of eCommerce orders, rising from €141 in 2022 to €184 in 2023. “Our survey, rooted in in-depth data analysis, highlights”, says Roberto Villa, Cmo and Divinea digital expert, “how investing in meaningful relationships with customers during winery experiences translates into a tangible advantage: the ability to generate ongoing value and increase direct sales of products and services over time. From this perspective, wine tourism is not just an experience, but becomes a strategic pillar for the success and economic growth of wineries”.

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