Aiming to promote enotourism in Attica and link all things wine with parallel travel activities, Attica wine producers and related businesses joined forces to create the Attica Wine and Food Experience network.
The project, with the support of the Attica Region and the Greek tourism ministry, was presented on Wednesday, during a press conference and wine-tasting event held at the Yolenis Greek Gastronomy Center in Athens.
“The Attica Wine and Food Experience (AFAWE) started from a group of Attica winemakers with a passion not only for wine but also for our homeland where the idea of hospitality was born. Professionals from tourism, gastronomy and communication joined us with the common goal to promote Attica as a prime tourist destination,” said George Vassiliou, who is heading the project.
“Additionally, we aim also to preserve, research, promote and support Attica’s vast wine and gastronomic traditions and products, as well as their connection to culture through wine,” added Vassiliou, who is also a winemaker and owner of Domaine Vassiliou.
“Greece’s success in tourism has been the result of offering genuine experiences,” said Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development George Tziallas, adding that the recently passed thematic tourism law is now paving the way for private and public sectors to work together to create networks that will link all related sectors into a unified tourism experience.
‘Tourism Above Politics & Parties’
Tziallas, who publicly expressed his dream to become a sommelier, stressed that tourism, among Greece’s top economic drivers, is “above politics and parties”, adding that he hoped the next government would continue to work done.
On her part, Attica Region Executive Councilor for Tourism Promotion, Eleni Dimopoulou, referred to the difficulty in bringing together professionals from different fields into a network. “Enotourism is the ‘connector’, the link bringing all areas together to create a singular tourist product through story-telling”.
Already in its first year, the Attica Wine and Food Experience is now online (in Greek and English). Maria Alifrangi, vice president AFAWE and managing director at Signature Travel, stressed the importance of getting the word out, adding that future plans include stepping up marketing actions. So far AFAWE has been promoted at WTM London and through B2B meetings at various trade events aiming to bring new partners on board.
Concluding the event, chemist and oenologist Maria Tzitzi, who has also been awarded the French Order of Agricultural Merit, underlined the importance of educating not only the country’s winemakers but most importantly all those involved in the serving and promotion of wine.
“It is unfortunate to see so much work and effort going into Greek wines by producers and then at restaurants encountering total lack of knowhow… everything is important from the glass and the carafe to knowing the varieties and what dishes these go well with,” said Tzitzi, who also teaches at the Le Monde Institute of Hotel & Tourism Studies.
She further added that with such significant and diverse production, Greece cannot and should not rely on selling or serving bulk products.
“It is vital that we bring serving wine up to par, in tune with the times and the demands,” she concluded.
AFAWE @ a Glance
There are currently 13 Attica wineries as well as specialized restaurants and bars such as the Michelin-starred Varoulko and By the Glass, travel agencies and cultural clubs, museums, culinary services providers such as Yolenis, and many more participating in the Attica Wine and Food Experience network.
Wine and tourism experiences offered include winery tours, wine route tours, tasting events and exclusively designed tours and products. Travel agents or tour operators interested in arranging an Attica wine experience should contact AWAFE.
Due to its mild climate, the Attica region has since antiquity produced dozens of wonderful wines.
The region is particularly known for its white wines, among these the Roditis, Savatiano, Athiri, Malagouzia, Assyrtiko and Mandilaria, which are excellent accompaniments to Mediterranean dishes.