With 90 million international tourists in 2019 (latest verified figures) and approximately 11,000 wineries open to the public, the world of wine has become a major player in economic and touristic development.
Well aware of the tremendous marketing potential that wine tourism represents for French winemakers and regions, wine tourism stakeholders are now offering new activities to attract both newcomers and seasoned wine enthusiasts.
From the 2016 launch of the Cité des Vins wine museum in Bordeaux to the 2021 opening of Épernay’s prestigious Musée du Vin de Champagne et d’Archéologie Régionale (Champagne Wine and Regional Archeology Museum), more and more projects are underway to arouse the curiosity and desire to learn more about wine and vineyards.
Boosted by the wave of ecotourism and the desire to consume locally, wine tourism is growing in all wine-producing regions of France. Web and digital are very powerful promotional tools to this end. In 2016, the French government launched the Visit French Wines website, with similar aims as Atout France or the national “Vignobles et Découvertes” label.
Through this initiative 71 destinations in France have been named “Vignobles et Découvertes.” This vineyard label promotes regional tourist products related to wine (visits to local heritage sites, restaurants, lodgings, wine tastings, activities, etc.).
Over 5,000 service providers have joined forces to produce a quality offer and support the work of wine growers. This healthy, dynamic synergy must be able to add value to each wine producer and highlight a given area.
Traditional and interactive activities
Many activities are on offer that appeal to both adults and children in tourist destinations. Whether you tour vineyards in a horse-drawn wagon or by bike, visit wine cellars on horseback or in a vintage car, learn the science behind wine and blending techniques, the range of activities is rapidly expanding and growing ever more imaginative.
One example is the comic book Esprits Médoc created by Arnaud Hacquin, CEO of the Jardin des Marques, which immerses readers in the world of wine estates and invites them to solve the story’s challenges using their smartphone while visiting the sites.
Similarly, Hameau Duboeuf’s wine has become the focus of a theme park in Saône-et-Loire, welcoming 100,000 visitors per year. Its fun and activities bring the whole family together around gardens, screenings, an automated theater and explorer games.
In Ay, Pressoria invites visitors to learn about Champagne using their five senses. From the grape juice stage to the final production of Champagne, this fun educational visit unfolds over a two-hour interactive tour in an extraordinary setting. The towns of the Marne Valley Community are behind this sensory interpretation center.
In the Toulois, the Terroirs Moselle, a European Economic Interest Grouping, designed the Via Mosel’ project around wine and architecture. The route runs from Koblenz, Germany, to Toul in France following the Moselle and Meuse rivers. It links up with local initiatives that let visitors discover the richness and intimacy of a humble territory by dipping into the cellars of wine producers and cooperatives.
These initiatives have met with great success among locals and foreigners alike, demonstrating that wine tourism is an excellent way to promote and showcase vineyards and their regions, regardless of size or reputation.