Summer is fast approaching and the entire world is cautiously optimistic that we will actually be able to enjoy travelling for the first time in over a year.
Naturally, this is great news for Italian wine lovers.
They may now have opportunities to visit the vineyards that produce their favourite wines again.
Wine tourism has always been a vital part of the Italian wine industry’s makeup. While the wonderful products that these producers create make up the bulk of their income, tourism allows them to let people behind the scenes so they can see how a winery works. It builds stronger attachments to the wine companies that invite people into their vineyards, which generally leads to repeat purchases of products.
And on a personal level, it allows producers to showcase their hard work and enjoy the sense of pride that comes from seeing others appreciate them for all that they do.
The loss of wine tourism has been a damaging one for the industry on both the financial and cultural levels. 2020 brought with it many challenges, with this loss being one of the steepest.
The good news is that 2021 may allow for many of the producers who welcome wine tourists to open their doors once again.
But there are some caveats involved.
In this article, we’re going to explore what wine tourism may look like in 2021 and what that means for you as a potential tourist.
Travelling Into Italy
This is the big question that we need to answer.
Will you be able to travel to Italy from another country?
After all, if you can’t enter Italy then you can’t visit an Italian wine producer’s vineyard. Any conversation about physical Italian wine tourism would be moot at anything beyond a domestic level.
And this is where we are delighted to announce some good news.
On May 6th, Italy’s government announced that they will be allowing tourists to enter the country, quarantine-free, from as early as this month. At the latest, people look likely to be allowed in by June, which means wine tourists have several months available to book trips in 2021.
But this is also where the caveats come in.
This is not blanket travel approval.
You will only be allowed into Italy if you meet one of the following conditions:
- You have completed your full vaccination program and are now immune to coronavirus.
- You are able to provide a negative test, likely one taken at the airport on the day you’re due to travel, to prove that you don’t have coronavirus.
- You have already had coronavirus and have thus built up a natural immunity to the condition.
Technically, this means that travel into Italy will be open to all, assuming they can provide a negative coronavirus test. The only times you will not be allowed to enter are in the following situations:
- You are unable, or unwilling, to provide a negative test.
- You actively have coronavirus.
- Your country’s government has not allowed travel out of your country.
The last one may be the biggest barrier for those who are planning a trip to a winery. While Italy has mostly opened its doors, with wineries being more than willing to welcome people, some countries may not allow travel because of the risks involved.
However, assuming you can meet all of these conditions, the odds are high that you will be able to visit Italy during the summer.
Of course, we should add a disclaimer here.
As we all know, every country has needed to be flexible with its policies as situations develop surrounding the coronavirus. It’s possible that this decision by the Italian authorities could be reversed should cases in the country spike up again.
So, booking your trip and meeting the conditions applied is still not a 100% guarantee that you will be able to travel.
As such, you must account for the possibility that policies may change depending on the situation occurring in the country.
But with that disclaimer out of the way, it looks like 2021 is shaping up to be a good wine for Italy’s wine tourism industry.
What if You Can’t Travel?
As we can see, there are several instances in which you may not be allowed to travel into Italy.
If that’s the case, you don’t need to worry.
While your physical trip to a vineyard will, unfortunately, have to wait, there are still ways for you to engage in Italian wine tourism.
In the wake of the pandemic, many producers took the creative step of leveraging the internet to allow people into their wineries. A lot of producers now offer virtual tours of their land, many of which are accompanied by guides and are, frankly, very interesting experiences. A select few are even exploring the possibilities presented by virtual reality and augmented reality technology in an effort to make these virtual tours more interactive.
These solutions are, of course, not as good as the real thing.
You’re not on a physical holiday while using them.
However, they do provide a middle ground that can give you an escape for a few hours, just as a good holiday should. Plus, these virtual tours will appeal to the history buffs and those who are unable to travel for other reasons, as they offer an opportunity for people to explore areas that they otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to see.
Wine Tourism in 2021
Nothing is certain during the period of time we’re all living through.
However, we are happy to see that the Italian government is opening its borders to travellers. Despite the restrictions, this means that producers now have the opportunity to return to some level of normality when it comes to Italian wine tourism.
And thanks to the advances made virtually over the last year, you as a tourist have more options.
You can visit physically, assuming you meet the criteria. Or, you could visit virtually and still enjoy a taste of what the Italian wine industry has to offer.
Italian wine tourism suffered some heavy blows in 2020. But it looks like the industry is set to bounce back in 2021 and may become stronger than ever once the pandemic officially ends.