Wine Tourism Remains a Lucrative Nicheby Richard D'Ambrosio /
Travelers with a strong affinity for wine are inclined to stay in luxury hotels, and are influenced by word of mouth recommendations, according to a recent study.
According to the Wine Institute survey, which focused on travelers to California wine regions, 48.3% of wine tourists stay at four-star hotels, while 25.6% choose five-star properties, versus a national norm of about 15 percent staying in the equivalent of five-star properties. The average household income for these travelers is slightly more than $86,000 a year, and the average age is about 44-years-old.
These enthusiasts rely on word-of-mouth recommendations (62.3%) and general internet searches (43.9%) for most of their information and decision making. Wine magazines edged out travel magazines as an information source, while printed wine region maps came out higher than both.
About 75% said that tastings, tours and food pairings at wineries are "important" or "very important" during their trip, and 70% prioritize visiting local restaurants while they travel. Baby Boomers account for 39.5% of the market, Gen Xers 21.9% and Millennials 36.1%.
The study was fielded in late 2016 and includes online responses from 2,000 U.S. adults who recently visited California wine country. A California wine tourist was defined as someone who had visited a California wine region for leisure within the past three years.
The Wine Institute is a California public policy advocacy group.