The Wine Roads of Northern Greece is a network and initiative promoting the wine sector, both business- and tourism-like, attracting 90.000 visitors annually.
The Wine Roads of Northern Greece comes to promote wine tourism in Greece which faces deprivation although wine constitute an extremely dynamic tourism product. Wineries haven’t been associated with tourism and local attractions.
The Wine Routes aim to achieve recognition of the Greek wines, to promote a common understanding of the wine-making process and production among producers, tourists and community, through events and seminars and to protect and preserve the origins and the native varieties of grapes and wines of Northern Greece. It also aims to support Greek cultural heritage and local activities related to wine, contribute to creating and implementing an effective institutional and legal framework for the wine sector and finally to promote cooperation with international companies and organizations.
The Association counts 26 members and several associate members such as hotels and restaurants. It has develop 8 routes in Northern Greece around 32 notable wineries in Thessaly, Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace. Signs along the Wine Roads direct travelers to vineyards, wineries and other points of interest enabling them to visit some of the most picturesque and fascinating venues in Europe. Wine Roads benefit local authorities, local businesses and local communities to the development of sustainable tourism increasing the capacity of local businesses, raising awareness regarding wine history and products and offering a strong local tourism product.
The network was initially founded by 13 winemakers, with their own resources. The winemakers themselves, who were also participated in the Board of Directors of the network were operating the network. No qualified personnel for the operation of the network was needed.
Evidence of success
The practice started as an exclusively business initiative for the promotion of wine business and local products. The initiative was successful as more wineries from other Regions joined the network and expand its activities in the tourism sector, attracting 90.000 visitors annually for wine tourism activities.
5 Regions participating
8 different routes have been developed
25 wineries follow the open door policy throughout the year
2 annual events take place: Open Doors and Wine Tourism Day
Funding problems: The annual budget of the network is not sufficient to fund its operation and activities. Subsidies are required, to secure the wine tourism indirect benefits.
Not all wineries of Northern Greece are members of the network
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice offers great potential as it has been successfully implemented in a region and expanded, promoting cooperation among wine companies for more than 25 years. As a result, Northern Greece produces a wide range of wine varieties, local and international, and has created a new tourism sector revolving around wine including food, accommodation and cultural heritage. This initiative is enhanced by the Cult-RInG Interreg Europe project with the Region of Central Macedonia as lead partner and can be a good practice for other regions because since its start it has grown bigger and new regions have joined the network. In particular, the initial members were wine producers of the Macedonia Region but later the organization included members from the regions of Thrace and Epirus, thus rebranding the whole structure into its current form. The new structure maintains a high rate of success in the development of the wine tourism sector in national level with great potential internationally