RKS 2023 Wine: Portugal Charging Ahead with Wine and Tourism Strategy

I was invited to apply to attend the first Wine and Travel Week in Porto from 20-26 February 2023. There were sessions on wine and food, mega lunches featuring Portuguese seafood and meat prepared by Portugal’s leading chefs. There was an awards ceremony for tourism which due to administrative error and clerical lack of discretion I was wrongly denied entry. There were local tourism boards promoting their wines, wine routes and tourist destinations There were 3 day trips to all Portuguese vinicultural districts focusing on wine tourism and food. I was delighted to visit Pico Island in the Azores. It was so invigorating I forgot the numerous gaffes by organizers, aborted landings and airplane turn backs.

Food, gastronomy, music and wine at Adega Czar on Pico Island: Photo Robert K. Stephen

But the bottom-line is that Portugal has formally recognized and publicized the link between wine, gastronomy and tourism sort of a triad of reality to fully develop tourism. It is no longer de riguer to simply visit a winery see the tanks and facilities and have a tasting. There should be local food products at the tasting, the region’s restaurants and hotels should carry local wines. The goal is to beyond wine and see the attractions of the area. Somewhat like wine, gastronomy and tourism being a team. In fact journalists wishing to attend had a distinct advantage of being invited if they had experience with wine, gastronomy and tourism. I had this background and was the only Canadian journalist invited.

The Algarve exhibit promising more than sun and beach! : Photo Robert K. Stephen

Here in Canada we have many wineries in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia that have spiffy dining facilities which we all know attract tourists but I am unaware of a formalized approach here in Canada like Wine and Travel Week. A possibility provincial and federal Canadian governments, local destinations, hospitality venues and wineries should collaborate to emulate the Portuguese model. Does this approach explain why you see more Portuguese wines being sold in Canada than Canadian wines sold in Portugal. To see the programme for the First Annual Wine and Travel week https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QiNTE4T96AJ9tBJakF4hIdzQEwBYJSu3/view?eg_sub=35de413a8c&eg_cam=7b62733a2d526bf92e9fe37cb82ee7a9&eg_list=1

I would say if there were wineries from Chile and Southeast Australia exhibiting their touristic and gastronomic experiences there is a place for Canadian exhibitors next year.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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