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Travel in France





Wine-tourism, an under-exploited potential?

Conference organized during the IFTM trade-fair


Rédigé par Michèle SANI translated by Joséphine Foucher le Lundi 3 Octobre 2016

Wine-tourism holds an essential spot in the image and popularity of France overseas. But, despite its formidable potential, it is still under-exploited due to the multitude of players in the wine businesses, vineyards, grape varieties, and labels. For incoming tourism professionals and their clients, it represents a fragmented offer that is difficult to comprehend. Such is the observation made during a conference at the IFTM - Top Resa trade-fair.



Wine-tourism is known as a strong motivation to visit a destination. Indeed, it holds the values of the art of living, sharing and experiences. It “stimulates” the sale of wines. Furthermore, it is promising on both an economic and cultural front.

Public authorities, via Atout France, along with lots of prestigious private players strive, each year, to better materialize this potential through an organized and packaged offer.

The conference organized at Top Resa offered two wonderful examples: Saint Emilion and the Cognac Remy Martin.

visitfrenchwine.com: an answer in 3 clicks

Atout France has committed, along with professionals, to the development of wine-tourism, through 3 majors axes: identify and analyze the markets, brand the offer through the "Vignobles&Découvertes” label, and enhance the promotion and marketing of the destinations overseas.

In 2015, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Laurent Fabius, elected wine-tourism - and cuisine - as an excellence poles of French tourism.

On February 9 2016, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched the website www.visitfrenchwine.com with the objective of improving the promotion of all the French wine-tourism destinations and brands.

Its missions: develop an accessible “media”, available in French and English, able to seduce then redirect the Internet user in 3 clicks maximum toward a partner site most adapted to the demand.

The “tasting lounge” of Saint-Emilion and the 3 centuries of history of Remy Martin

Saint-Emilion and Rémy Martin are two convincing examples of wine-tourism opening to the world.

In December 1999, Saint-Emilion made the list of World and Humanity heritage goods, as a cultural landscape.

For the first time in the world, a wine estate was admitted on the prestigious list of the UNESCO. This entry includes the 8 communes that are part of the former Saint-Emilion jurisdiction and 5,000 hectares of vineyards.

Saint-Emilion has its own institutional representation, “La Maison du Vin” located at the heart of the village. More than 250 estates are featured and their wines sold. It is also a wine school that hosts more than 200 students annually.

“La Maison du Vin” has a “Tasting Lounge”, a tasting area inside a cozy space, that offers a series of thematic modules to an audience. “Discovery”, “Terroirs”, “Blind Tasting”, “Grand Crus Classés.” (Between 20 to 28 euros per person.) This space can be entirely rented out upon request.

Special offers for work councils and groups

The Remy Martin Cognac represents three centuries of history and is the fruit of a long tradition. Its Charente origins date back to 1724, the year when a young winemaker from the Cognac region started to sell cognac under his own name.

His name is Rémy Martin. King Louis XV awarded him the rare privilege of planting new vines as recognition of the excellence of his cognacs. In the 19th century, his descendants exported the brand and cognacs and acquired worldwide fame.

The historical home, ancestral wineries where very ancient liquors are made, the Estate, the cooperage - oak barrels coming only from the Limousin Forrest known for their quality - can all be visited. Inside a contemporary setting, visitors can take a historical journey to meet the founders and vineyard masters that helped shape its excellence.

On the program, visit, tasting and discovery of the terroir. The choice of the program depends on the time and budget. Starting at 20 euros per person, it ranges from the exploration of the historical home with a commented tasting (2h - €20/pers.) to the Louis XIII experience (6h - €1,000/pers.) A private visit with a personal ambassador and a chauffeur for getting around.

Among other discoveries, the program includes a gourmet lunch or dinner in an ancient distillery, the Louis XIII tasting ceremony, the exclusive discovery of the References Rooms… Open all year-long upon reservation and starting with 2 people minimum.

Participants of this conference moderated by François-Xavier Izenic include: Stéphanie Wolski manager of private visits at Rémy Martin (Remy Cointreau), Frédéric Breysse, sommelier and instructor at the Conseil des Vins Saint-Emilion, Stéphane Tillement ( Mauriac Voyages), Sophie Lacressonnière (Atout France).


Good to know:

Last September, the UNWTO officially addressed this topic by organizing the 1st World Conference in Georgia on Wine Tourism (September 7-9, 2016.) It gathered over 200 participants from around fifty countries.

On the international scale, the competition is rough. Some countries invest a lot in this sector such as Spain, and others very little! In November 2017, Argentina will host the 2nd Conference on WineTourism for the UNWTO.


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