NAPA, Calif. – Zephyr Adventures and MartinCalder Productions, in partnership with the Napa Valley Destination Council, announce the launch of the first global wine tourism conference to ever be presented in North America. An anticipated 300 national and international attendees representing businesses, educators and other stakeholders in the wine tourism industry will convene in Napa Valley on November 16 and 17 to address industry trends and the issues that impact wine tourism for established and emerging wine regions.
Wine tourism has become big business as more wine-centric travelers seek out wine destinations for their vacations and weekend getaways. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 17 percent of American leisure travelers, or 27.3 million people, have engaged in culinary or wine-related activities while traveling, requiring wine regions to compete for their percentage of the market share. “With over 7,000 wineries in the U.S. alone interested in expanding their market share, wine regions are focused on creating attractive destinations that feature a mix of wineries, tasting rooms, conference services and other entertainment attractions,” said Elizabeth Martin-Calder, co-organizer of the Wine Tourism Conference and owner of MartinCalder Productions. “This conference will provide wine tourism providers with the knowledge and tools to compete.”
In collaboration with Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute and Wine Institute, the association of California wineries, the organizers have designed a two-day program of general sessions and panel discussions guided by leading educators and strategists in the wine and tourism marketing industry.
“Our goal is to serve as a resource for the wine community where industry stakeholders have an opportunity to learn, share and grow,” said Allan Wright, co-organizer of the Wine Tourism Conference and owner of Zephyr Adventures.
Caroline Beteta, President and Chief Executive Officer of the industry-led California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC) will open the conference with an inaugural address on wine tourism and its impact on California’s $95.1 billion tourism industry. Under her leadership, California tourism programs have brought in an average of nearly $4 billion annually to the state’s economy, and increased the state share of the domestic travel market by three percent, reversing a decade-long decline. Beteta also serves as Vice Chair of the Corporation for Travel Promotion (CTP), a new organization to promote the United States as a premier travel destination in countries around the world.
Additional presenters already scheduled for the conference include: Ray Isle, Wine Editor of Food & Wine magazine, Leslie Sbrocco of Today Show and Thirsty Girl, and Sara Schneider, Wine Editor of Sunset Magazine.
Napa Valley to Host the Inaugural Conference
Napa Valley vintner Robert Mondavi is credited with revolutionizing wine tourism in the 1970’s by opening up his winery for general consumer tastings, igniting a dynamic cultural shift away from the idea that wine sampling was a private affair provided only for the trade and wine connoisseur. Forty years later, the Napa Valley is a collection of small towns and villages that support wine tourism with an infrastructure that includes over 400 wineries, 100 wine tasting rooms and 150 accommodation providers and considered by many aspiring as well as established wine regions as the standard for tourism marketing success.
“We are thrilled that Napa Valley was selected to host the inaugural conference,” said Clay Gregory, President of the Napa Valley Destination Council, which is the official tourism marketing organization for the region. “We look forward to sharing our experiences with those in attendance, while also expanding our own knowledge and understanding of this cultural travel phenomenon.”
To welcome the international audience, Napa Vintners and Napa Valley Destination Council have partnered to host a wine reception and farm-to-table food and wine pairing dinner on November 16. Celebrity guest chefs and winemakers from around the Valley have been invited to attend and co-host the festivities.
A select number of rooms have been reserved for conference attendees and can be secured by going to the wine tourism conference site at http://winetourismconference.org/details.
Pre- and Post-Conference Tours
Conference attendees and their guests are invited to come early or stay after the formal events to explore Northern California’s varied wine culture and regions for themselves. Attendees who want to come early or stay longer to enjoy the Napa Valley can visit www.legendarynapavalley.com to access special offers. And a series of pre- and post-conference tours and tastings will be arranged by Napa Valley Destination Council, Sonoma County Tourism, Sonoma County Vintners, and Sonoma County Winegrape Commission.
Information and Registration
To learn more about the Wine Tourism Conference 2011, register, or make hotel reservations please go to www.winetourismconference.org.