Great Wine Capitals Commissions High-Level Research into Wine Tourism


7/16/2009 - St Helena, CA--To mark the celebration of its first decade, the Great Wine Capitals Global Network (GWC) is investing in high-level research into wine tourism relevant to all wine-producing regions. Formed in France in 1999 to encourage the exchange of travel, education and business information to promote standards in global wine tourism, the Network initiates common projects aimed at sustainable development, education, best practices and the competitiveness of its eight member regions.

GWC has allocated 10,000 Euros for two studies, one based in California, the other in Portugal. The first two recipients of grants of 4,500 Euros each are Ian MacNeil, who has been engaged in the U.S. wine industry for more than 20 years, and South-African-born Carla Silva, a specialist in marketing and communications who lives in Portugal.

MacNeil, the hospitality and tourism management program director at Napa Valley College, will research the impact of wine tourism on California's Napa Valley, one of the world's most established wine tourism destination with some 3 million visitors a year. With viticulture and hospitality the two top drivers of employment in the region MacNeil will look at critical issues faced by the Napa Valley such as traffic congestion, declining water supplies and the impact on local residents. "In Napa Valley, viticulturalists and winery operators have come to accept the fact that significant challenges exist in balancing the health and landscape of a pristine agricultural area while at the same time supporting tourism," says MacNeil. "This study seeks to determine the best practices and conflicting influences from a long-established wine region that sees millions of visitors a year, and the effort will be cooperative with emerging wine regions around the world."

"His research could have far-reaching implications for our wine tourism regions," said Fernando Urdaniz, Argentina's representative of the GWC Education Committee. "Based on his findings we would be able to revisit our existing strategies and infrastructure needs to maximize the tourism potential of the regions, while protecting natural their resources."

Carla Silva, who is studying for a master's degree in marketing at Portugal's Minho University, will research the perceptions of wine and cellar door experiences of Generation X (born 1965 to 1977) and Y consumers (born 1977 to 1988 for the purposes of this study) in both the Douro region of Portugal and the Napa Valley. The study will look at the impact of communication initiatives by the wine industry on these consumer groups with a view to establishing a basis for improved advertising, public relations, marketing and sales.

Both grant recipients will present their research to the GWC Annual General Meeting in Bordeaux, France in early November.

About Great Wine Capitals Global Network
Great Wine Capitals is a network of eight major global cities in both the northern and southern hemispheres, which share a key economic and cultural asset: each is an internationally renowned wine region. It is the only such network to encompass the so-called 'Old' and 'New' worlds of wine, and exists to encourage travel, education and business exchange between the wine tourism centers of Bordeaux, France; Cape Town, South Africa; Florence, Italy; Mainz, Germany; Mendoza, Argentina; Porto, Portugal; Bilbao-Rioja, Spain; and San Francisco-Napa Valley, USA. For more information, visit

Contact: Terry Hall, Communications Director 707-968-4217