Legal Approaches for Sustainable Wine Tourism Development by Dimitrios Mylonopoulos and Polyxeni Moira

Dimitrios Mylonopoulos | Polyxeni Moira 4. Wine Tourism Networks The role of local associations of wine producers in developing wine tourism is crucial. In 1993, thirteen producers established a civil, non-profit company called the "Union of Wine Producers of the Vineyard of Macedonia" (Οινοποιοί Βορείου Ελλάδος, 2023). The initial goal of the Union is to support the Greek winemaking tradition and provide visitors with the opportunity to discover vineyards in Northern Greece. Using funding received from the organization "Thessaloniki Capital of Culture 1997," the Union took the initiative to create the first comprehensive wine tourism network of routes named "Wine Routes of Macedonia." Later, with financial support from the LEADER programs, the technical infrastructure of the network was modernized, and programs were implemented to train all stakeholders involved in the Wine Routes - both producers and others in the industry. Simultaneously, efforts were made to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of the regions crossed by the Wine Roads through various events, while international wine tourism conferences started being organized. In 2001, through the LEADER II program, the creation of the first visitable wineries was completed by developing appropriate infrastructure, gathering materials, and promoting and advertising them through mass media and exhibitions. In 2002, after the entry of new members from Thrace and Epirus, the Union was renamed as “Wine Producers Association of the Northern Greece Vineyard” and was rebranded "Wine Routes of Northern Greece" (Οινοποιοί Βορείου Ελλάδος, 2023). Businesses focused on either tourism or gastronomy, such as restaurants, accommodation, local product shops, travel agencies organizing alternative activities, and more, have gradually joined the network since 1998. In 2008 the expansion of the wine tourism network "Wine Roads of Northern Greece" was officially completed, with the integration of connected tourist enterprises (collaborating members) that complement the visitable wineries. The Wine Roads of Northern Greece are developed through eight wine routes that cover the region of Northern Greece. These routes were designed on the basis of different wine varieties produced in each area and according to their historical peculiarities (Karafolas, 2007). Each route showcases the unique wine production of its respective location and highlights the historical and cultural aspects that make it special. The wine itineraries follow the most picturesque points of a vine-growing zone, indicating visits to selected wineries for tasting local grape varieties and wines accompanied by traditional flavors of the region. They also include tours of traditional settlements, archaeological sites, museums. These routes are designed as a form of tourism that harmonizes perfectly with the natural environment and aims at providing an authentic experience of each place, delving into the tradition of viticulture and winemaking. Along the itineraries, restaurants, taverns, ouzeri10, and hotels offer quality hospitality, complementing the overall experience of getting to know Greece and its culture (Visitgreece, 2022). It creates an immersive experience that connects visitors with the local heritage, allowing them to explore and appreciate the unique winemaking traditions and cultural aspects of each region they visit. The wine routes in Northern Greece are as follows: 1. Wine Route of the Gods of Olympus 10 “Ouzeri” is a type of Greek tavern which serves ouzo (a Greek national drink) and mezedes (small finger foods).