When you set foot in the charming streets of Saint-Émilion, a medieval town near Bordeaux, you can appreciate the tourist profile of the area. High-end cars, a multitude of American visitors, expensive hotels and a large number of wineries as the main attraction. Wine culture is one of the main drivers of tourism in this exclusive area of France and now Barcelona (the city and the province) wants to implement this model and position itself among the main wine destinations.
With this objective, the Rutes del Vi de Barcelona program has just been launched, which Turisme de Barcelona and the Diputación presented yesterday at the Fitur fair in Madrid. At the moment, 40 companies from the DO Alella, Pla de Bages and Penedès have taken advantage of it, although the purpose is to add wineries to create a large network dedicated to wine tourism that has a tractor effect on the rest of the businesses -accommodation, restaurants, stores…-. The feeling that the promoters have is that until now Barcelona has not sufficiently taken advantage of the potential of the wine and cava companies in the province, with large firms such as Torres or Codorniu, which generate a total turnover of almost one billion euros . And vice versa, that the wineries in the area can get even more out of the Barcelona brand, a city that is barely an hour away by car and that before the pandemic attracted millions of tourists a year. The plan will include routes, visits to the wineries in different languages or gastronomic activities that will be promoted all over the world.
The plan includes routes, visits to wineries, restaurants and hotels and seeks a tourist with high purchasing power
The visitor you want to attract is similar to the one who walks through the aforementioned Saint-Émilion: with money to spend, a preference for quality products and respectful of the environment. In a first phase, the program will focus on the public from the rest of Spain, which can be accessed more easily during the pandemic, although it will be opened up to the main international markets. The Barcelona of wine will thus stand up to other wine tourism destinations with a greater presence in the Spanish imagination, such as Haro, in La Rioja.
Some of the wineries that participate in the project already have extensive experience in wine tourism, highlighted by the Diputació de Barcelona. Not only the largest and internationally known, such as those already mentioned. The Alta Alella winery, for example, received almost 7,000 visitors in 2019, 20% of whom came from the United States.
The program also tries to help smaller producers, with fewer resources to promote themselves. 70% of the wineries in the province of Barcelona invoice less than one million euros per year and another 20% have sales of up to ten million. 51% of the sector’s turnover is concentrated by Freixenet, Codorniu and Torres.