As part of a series of events held in Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide last month to promote Greek wine businesses in Australia, the Wine Tourism Marketing and Management Conference brought to an end this year’s touring, which placed some of Greece’s best wine brands on the map of high quality premium products worldwide.

Approximately 20 Greek winemakers took part in a series of trade and consumer tastings with the opportunity to showcase native grape varieties such as Xinomavro, Asyrtiko, Agiorgitiko, Robola, Moschofilero, Limniona, and Mavrotragano as well as newly produced varieties that haven’t been showcased in Australia before.

In Adelaide the delegation attended a full-day executive wine tourism marketing and management training seminar and a field trip to Barossa Valley cellar doors organised by the Centre of Tourism and Leisure Management (CTLM), Management School of the University of South Australia for The New Wines of Greece and its members.

“We are very pleased with the outcome because some of Greece’s best winemakers were given the chance to introduce themselves, discuss and interact with successful South Australian cellar door managers, observe how theory is applied in practice, and identify and learn from the best about industry practices and strategies,” says centre director Professor Marianna Sigala.

Some of the sessions focused on the service, marketing, and communication skills and competencies for cellar door staff along with strategies for designing their ‘servicescape’ and delivering wine experiences.
According to Professor Sigala, it is important to identify Greece’s position in the market before coming up with marketing strategies to promote Greek wine.

“We need to realise that Greece is yet to be identified as a wine-producing country in the consumer’s mind, therefore, before we look any further, it is important to work towards the goal of getting the consumer to subconsciously trust Greece for its wine products and subsequently enable them to enter the global wine markets,” explains Sigala.

“Before we look at marketing specific varieties and brands, we need to make adjustments to Greece’s brand image,” she says.

The training seminar looked at researching sales strategies and distribution techniques as well as understanding wine consumer behaviour and coming up with different ways to build a luxury wine brand.

In addition, keynote speakers spoke about the development of wine destinations, the importance of building synergies and networks amongst wine related tourism businesses and different ways to develop wine tourism experiences while promoting the winescape of tourism destinations.
Ways to use social media for promoting wine and engaging customers in wine marketing campaigns were also examined.

“These days, social media changes the way consumers decide what, why and how to drink and how to buy their wine, therefore, we need to look at social media as a tool that can potentially empower wine consumers and wine tourists to co-create their wine experiences and at the same time we need to examine how tourism wine firms can use social media to develop customer engagement campaigns through which they will enable customers to become co-designers co-marketers, co-producers and co-entrepreneurs of their wine experiences,” explains Sigala.

The event concluded with a dinner at multi-awarded restaurant Georges on Waymouth where Greek Australian restauranteur and wine lover George Kasimatis stocks a number of Greek wine varieties.

“The menu that George prepared was without a doubt the perfect ‘marriage’ of food and wine and one of the best wining and dining experiences I have had to date,” reveals Sigala.

According to the Greek Bureau of Statistics, in terms of value, there has been a 27 per cent increase in Greek wine exports, between 2014 and 2016.
“Wine tourism is a great and extremely profitable industry all around the globe and Greece needs to focus on strategically creating a strong global branding. The Greek sun, the Greek beaches, the Greek islands and infamous traditional Greek food are great assets for the country but we can’t depend on them forever.

“It is time to move forward and turn our gaze to new horizons if we wish to be competitive in tourism and wine exporting on a global scale,” concluded Sigala.