Record visits to the Sicilian winery. Tailored tours and foreign languages behind a success that also involves the territory.
In 2009 a total of 9,412 wine tourists chose to get better acquainted with Donnafugata, personally visiting the historical cellars in Marsala or the vineyards and vinification cellars at Contessa Entellina and on Pantelleria.
A record-breaking number, up 4.5% from 2008, in turn an increase from 2007. Also good was visitor distribution throughout the year, with more arriving in months that in Sicily are traditionally considered the low season.
Donnafugata’s wine tourism project is addressed not only to wine experts and dealers but also and above all to wine-lovers, and in every case is aimed at offering tours tailored to types of visitor. Through guided tours, tastings and elegant wine & food pairings, visitors have the chance to get to know the entire production process and crown their experience with a sampling.
In addition to designing “tailored tours” attentive to the motivations spurring a visit to Donnafugata, the winery also makes foreign languages (English, German and French) a strong point of the project: an added value provided by an international staff devoted to hosting and direct relations with wine-lovers from all over the world. Hospitality, professional training and organizational efficiency complete the picture.
A typical wine-tourist profile? It’s hard to draw. From the demographic standpoint, age and sex are equally represented. In general, most of the visits stem from “individual” and small-group requests, while big groups are much less frequent.
Visitor interest is aroused by a passion for wine as well as the desire to get deeper knowledge of a winery and learn its secrets right from the producer’s mouth. And this coincides with Donnafugata’s aim: to offer a unique, unforgettable experience that leaves a mark in minds and hearts.
Both Italian and foreign tourists are attracted by the scenic, archeological and monumental beauties of Sicily and consider its wines and food specialties an integral part of local culture. And for some visitors an interest in the territory’s wine & food is the main reason for their trip.
As for provenance, 77% of visitors are Italian, while the remaining 23% come from more than 50 countries, headed by the United States, Germany and Switzerland. In detail, the Donnafugata cellars in Marsala draw the highest number of foreign visitors (36%), while on Pantelleria they are mostly Italians. Most foreign visitors come in spring and autumn while Italian visits peak in the summer.
As can also be noted in other fields, the most sophisticated vogues come from the U.S. and so are created all-women groups whose slogan is “Yoga & Wine” and who, keeping faith with their karma (yoga), come to Sicily and Donnafugata.
Constantly on the rise are Swedish and Norwegian tourists, in the past few years taking advantage of direct, low-cost flights to the Trapani-Birgi airport (just 15 minutes from the Donnafugata cellars in Marsala) and not missing the chance to visit at least one winery in the area.
Also numerous are Russian visitors, passionately fond of “icon” wines like Mille e una Notte and Ben Ryé.
The winery welcomes both groups organized by tour operators and individual groups of wine-lovers. The latter often book their tours online and use the information contained in the rich “Wine Tourism” section at www.donnafugata.it
Also part of wine tourism are “Open Cellars” and “Goblets of Stars”, big nationwide events promoted by the Wine Tourism Association in which Donnafugata has taken part since the earliest editions, registering attendances that are increasingly wine-knowledgeable. The dates for these events are, respectively, May 30 in Marsala and August 10 at Contessa Entellina.
Baldo M. Palermo [email protected] tel. 0039 0923 7242267
Laura Ellwanger [email protected] te. 0039 0923 724258