Drinking and driving is a big issue – not only from a road safety perspective but also because of our public responsibility. This is of course a major challenge for the wine tourism industry. Even though we call it wine tasting, it is in essence drinking and I am delighted about the innovative ways the global wine industry is trying to get guests to, from and between wine estates.
No longer is the designated driver the only option and more than hiring a tour operator or chauffeur, the creative ways in which wine estate’s globally are tackling this issue, has turned what is a major challenge into a host of unique experiences.
The Chinese are known for the scale at which they do things. They recently launched a wine train from Beijing to the wine producing region of Ningxia in north-western China, offering passengers a whole wine journey. During the trip, travellers can do wine tastings, enjoy wine-infused skin treatments and choose a dining option from kitchens preparing both local and Western cuisine. Arriving in Ningxia, the experience is all about wine with harvest, vineyard and cellar activities.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram is another example of innovative wine region transport. These hop-on hop-off tours provides a unique and leisurely tour of the Franschhoek Valley and its numerous wine estates. Guests can opt between a double-decker tram or an open-air tram-bus, choose which of the routes they would like to do and plan their itinerary according to their preferences.
Then there are those who take the wine experience to the water. The Prague Wine Boat is an option I would like to try! A local wine enthusiast hosts a tasting of 5 Bohemian and Moravian wines in the comfort of a beautifully appointed boat cruising the historical part of the city centre. Locally, the Viljoensdrift river cruise offers a relaxing hour on the Breede River with a picnic basket and wines from the Robertson Valley.
Cycling through the vineyards is another popular tourist activity. Not only do you get some exercise, but you also enjoy the landscape at a leisurely pace and cycling in the winelands can be a wonderful family outing. If you are worried about the exercise after having a glass or two, try the new e-cycle! Yes, this battery-operated bicycle gives you all the freedom and fun of a normal bike, but without having to break a sweat! Wine destinations all over the world have embraced this new way of travelling through the vineyards – from the Cape to California!
For those who like the wind in their hair, but need a bit more power than the battery-operated e-cycle, a chauffeured motorcycle wine tour is an option when visiting the Cape Winelands. If you prefer to go about it in a more natural way, wine tasting by horse-back has always been popular. Riders can enjoy the landscape and the wine without breaking the law.
If you want to go all out, try a hot air balloon wine tasting! And how about hosting a tasting on a plane? Although a plane is a great way to get to your favourite wine area, tasting on-board is not such a good idea. Altitude has an influence on wine and because of the lower pressure and less oxygen in the cabin, the wine’s aromas dissipate quicker while the dry conditions make acidic or tannic attributes more pronounced. (Read more)
I am so impressed by how the wine tourism industry is keeping up with trends and technology. I guess teleportation wine tasting is not off the charts either!