Wine tourism and Italian legislation by Chiara Tincani

Wine tourism and Italian legislation Chiara Tincani University of Verona 1. The notion of wine tourism. 2. The so - called "wine routes". 3. The normative definition of wine tourism. 4. The proposed law. 1. The notion of wine tourism Italy boasts "wine production of (...) value, renowned at an international level (...). It has a territory" with a strong vocation "under the enological profile", a vocation "whose cultural value has been recognized by UNESCO, which has awarded 'The wine - growing landscapes of Piedmont: Langhe - Roero and Monferrato' and the 'Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene' the recognition of World Heritage Sites"1. This has exerted an attractive force for tourists; born in a gastronomic logic, the interest in wine has taken on an identity of its own over time, to the point that, today, we speak of wine tourism2. It consists of offering an experience in which the tasting of local productions is combined with visits. Wineries are in the countryside and, therefore, their attendance corresponds to the so - called slow tourism, the new way of traveling, which, as a reaction to the hustle and bustle of modern life, selects places that are uncrowded and immersed in the nature, so that one can learn 1 Cf. Garibaldi, Enoturismo in Italia, in 2 Cf. Strambi, Dalle strade del vino all’enoturismo alla ricerca della qualità, in Riv. dir. agroalimentare, 2019, 503 ff.; Claroni, Il turismo del vino quale turismo culturale ed esperienziale e strumento di promozione e valorizzazione territoriale, in Riv. it. dir. tur., 2021, 28 ff..

Chiara Tincani about the traditions and customs of the countryside. In fact, wine tourism also allows for a vacation of slow discovery of the area. From a niche phenomenon, wine tourism has now reached a wider audience, which includes the expert, the professional, the enthusiast, down to the merely curious. In the face of an intensification of these needs, there is a more articulated offer; thus, alongside the traditional proposals of tastings and visits to wineries, activities among the vineyards, grape harvest experiences or stays in so - called thematic hotels are suggested. According to the "Rapporto sul turismo enogastronomico italiano 2021 - 2022"3, increasing attention is being paid not so much to renowned wineries as to small family businesses, and this has given rise to a combination of art, history and wine. Adding to the cultural dimension is the search for alternative leisure, as fifty - eight percent of Italian tourists would like to find opportunities for courses and fifty - one percent would like activities in vineyards. Wine tourism also seeks so - called sustainability; in fact, many travelers are inclined to visit wineries that adhere to projects that support local communities, and others express a desire for experiences such as grape harvesting. Linked to the focus on wine is the discovery of the places where other goods are produced, for example, traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena4. It is an ancient condiment, derived from the cooked must of grapes. It has a history that, today, can be retraced by visiting thirty - four villas scattered around the province of Modena, with the possibility of meeting the companies. In this regard, the Consorzio produttori di antiche acetaie (Consortium of Ancient Vinegar Producers) has compiled a detailed map that, with a guided tour, allows people to discover balsamic vinegar 3 See Rapporto sul turismo enogastronomico italiano 2022, in 4 Modena is a provincial capital of the Emilia - Romagna region, located in the center of Italy.

1st World Congress on Wine Tourism and the Law and the territory. It indicates all the available routes, and gastronomy has an important weight. As in Europe and the United States, beer - related tourism is also developing in Italy. According to the aforementioned report on food and wine tourism, nearly one in five travelers has visited a brewery or participated in a related event; they are expected to have an articulated experience that does not end with a mere visit. In particular, many would like to taste the drink with local dishes and, at the same time, would like to purchase it at affordable prices. Therefore, the company should ensure direct or online sales with home delivery, fostering a more lasting relationship. An example is the initiative of Spa Forst in Merano5; in fact, it is a complex organizational model in which, alongside the tasting, a restaurant service and typical products are offered. In food and wine tourism, experiential activities are increasingly in demand, and even in brassiculture one would like to try brewing under the direction of the brewmaster. As the economic initiative is linked to the local area, there is increasing demand to participate in courses on plants and wild fruits used as additional ingredients. There are interesting opportunities for tour operators, as there is a strong demand for organized trips. Finally, the hospitality sector should not be underestimated, as indeed experienced in the wine world with wine therapy centers. 2. So - called "wine roads" Over time, wine tourism has taken on its own identity; born as one of the expressions of the gastronomic experience, it has become the subject of specific regulation in our country. With Law No. 268 of 1999, Italy enhanced the value of wine - producing territories, with regard to places of quality production, and encouraged the creation of so - called 5 Merano is a city in South Tyrol, located in the North of Italy.

Chiara Tincani "wine roads"6. According to Article 1, second paragraph, these are "routes marked and publicized with appropriate signs, along which insist natural, cultural and environmental values, vineyards and wineries of farms, individual or associated, open to the public; they constitute an instrument through which the wine territories and their productions can be popularized, marketed and enjoyed in the form of tourist offer". In particular, hospitality, including product tasting and the organization of recreational, cultural and educational activities, carried out as part of "wine routes", can be traced back to agritourism initiatives7. The latter are now regulated by Law No. 96 of 20068 and, per its Article 2, "by agritourism activities are meant" those "of reception and hospitality exercised by agricultural entrepreneurs", with "the use of their farm in connection with the activities of cultivation of the fund, forestry and livestock farming". Therefore, "only a functional perspective of better exploitation of the farm's resources can make such services be considered connected to the typical activities of the entrepreneur"9. It is intended to facilitate the multifunctionality and permanence of enterprises on the fund with the increase in income, made possible by the performance of catering and hospitality services. Therefore, the original activity must be prevalent. Per Article 2, third paragraph, of Law No. 96 of 2006, agritourism functions include the serving of "meals and beverages consisting" predominantly of "own products and" those "from farms, including products of an alcoholic and super - alcoholic nature", as well as the organization of "tastings of farm products, including the pouring of wine". The winemaker may offer additional services as long as they are related to 6 See Article 1, first paragraph, of Act No. 268 of 1999. 7 See Article 1, third paragraph, of Act No. 268 of 1999. 8 Act No. 96 of 2006 repealed Act No. 730 of 1985. 9 Cf. Busti, L'agriturismo, in Aa. Vv., Manuale di diritto del turismo, edited by V. Franceschelli - Morandi, Turin, 2022, eighth edition, 269 ff.; Costato, La nuova disciplina sull'agriturismo, in Studium juris, 2006, 803 ff.; Testa, La ratio dellla normativa statale e regionale in materia di attività ricettive in case rurali, in Riv. it. dir. tur., 2013, 53 ff.; Aversano, Regole sul cibo e sviluppo turistico dell’impresa agricola. Il caso del food events, ibid., 2017, 7 ff..

1st World Congress on Wine Tourism and the Law the agricultural activity. Thus, the winemaker performs agritourism functions; in fact, Article 2, third paragraph, enshrines the close link with wine tourism, with a reference to Law No. 268 of 1999. In essence, the latter regulates in detail a form of agritourism. Article 2 of Law No. 268 of 1999 entrusts specific regulations to the regions, which must provide for the "wine road" specification, signed by the member entities, a promotion committee, a management one, the signage system, guides and illustrative, popular and promotional materials. Each region could resort to different implementation solutions. However, from a comparison of some regional laws10, a mostly homogeneous organizational scheme can be enucleated; thus, almost always, the law assigns to a promoter committee the task of proposing a specification for the establishment, implementation and management of the wine route, a specification which, then, must be approved by the Regional Council. With the launch of the initiative, the committee is transformed into a management one. By decree July 17, 2000, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry set the minimum quality parameters for routes identified under Law No. 268 of 1999. In particular, Article 3 of that decree identifies the entity responsible for each route in the management committee to which the organization and promotion are entrusted; thus, it must establish the opening hours for the public of the member farms, draw up illustrative and popular material, and arrange guided tours, with qualified personnel who has to know at least one other language of the European Union. According to Article 4, in order for such an itinerary to be carried out, at least two farms, one or more wineries, one or more facilities including wine shops, agritourism companies, establishments authorized to serve 10 See Law of the Veneto Region September 7, 2000, No. 17; Law of the Region of Tuscany August 5, 2003, No. 45; with some differences, though not substantial, see Law of the Region of Sicily August 2, 2002, No. 5.

Chiara Tincani meals, food and beverages, tourist - accommodation companies, museums of vine and wine or ethnographic and enological ones must join. In essence, without prejudice to the articulation of regulatory competence between the national and regional levels, the creation of so - called wine routes is not possible as part of a simple business initiative, nor is it left to private entities alone, but it requires institutional involvement, because special signage is needed. The overall mechanism is a bit baroque, but it works better than one might expect. 3. The normative definition of wine tourism Wine tourism was given specific attention by Law No. 205 of 2017 on the "State Budget for the Financial Year 2018", specifically by Article 1, paragraphs five hundred and two to five hundred and five. For Article 1, paragraph five hundred and two, wine tourism means all the activities of wine presentation carried out in the area, visits to places of cultivation, production or display of the tools useful for the cultivation of the vine, tasting and marketing of farm products, including in combination with food, initiatives of educational and recreational nature performed in the wineries. A broad definition has been given, in an attempt to encompass all the expressions into which wine tourism has hitherto been articulated and, in a deliberate manner, the law has resorted to an illustrative list, so that this notion can be adapted to new ideas. One can debate the usefulness of such an effort, in a perhaps excessive classificatory anxiety, because the concept has an unambiguous meaning in the Italian lexicon, without the need for too many specifications. In compliance with paragraph five hundred and four of Article 1 of Law No. 205 of 2017, by decree No. 2779 of March 12, 2019, the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry prepared guidelines on minimum quality requirements for wine tourism activities. The decree gives an even

1st World Congress on Wine Tourism and the Law more detailed definition; thus, we now refer to educational and informational functions aimed at the production of the wine and the dissemination of wine culture. Then, it is specified that the visits are those guided to vineyards or wineries and the initiatives can be educational, cultural and recreational, always performed in such facilities, including the grape harvest. Finally, tasting and marketing may be combined with the offering of food, as long as they are cold agri - food products, prepared by the farm itself, albeit manipulated or processed. This is a more detailed definition, but it includes the additional, new expressions of wine tourism, if ever contrasting them with catering; in fact, even Article 1 of the ministerial decree has a mere illustrative intent. As noted in the preamble of the aforementioned decree, the origins and potential of wine tourism as a cultural and economic phenomenon for the enhancement of high vocation areas are emphasized. After all, the World tourism organization itself, "in distinguishing the phenomenon of 'gastronomy tourism' from that of 'eno - tourism', configures (...) the latter as a subtype of the former"11. Then, per Article 1, paragraph five hundred, of Law No. 205 of 2017, wine tourism can be exercised upon the submission of the commencement report. With the filing of the required documents, the interested party can carry out its initiatives, without waiting for any measure of the administrative authority, but, if necessary, the latter can order the integration of what has been exhibited, with a subsequent control. However, a contact with the public entity from the urban planning viewpoint is needed for the possible verification of the premises. Article 2, first paragraph, of the ministerial decree sets additional parameters. For example, there is a need for weekly or seasonal opening 11 See Claroni, Il turismo del vino quale turismo culturale ed esperienziale e strumento di promozione e valorizzazione territoriale, loc. cit., 43 ff..

Chiara Tincani of at least three days, to indicate the means of booking visits, with a preference for computerized ones, to point out the company's website or the so - called web page, and to offer tasting by glass goblets, as long as the organoleptic properties of the drink are not altered. One may wonder whether all these details are necessary and, moreover, whether these rules are respected, while public entities' knowledge of the overall activity mainly corresponds to urban planning and even health control. The detailed rules appear superfluous. Then, per Article 2, third paragraph, of the aforementioned decree, the regions, in cooperation with the most representative trade organizations of the wine and agri - food companies, may promote training courses. The same regions may establish lists of operators, and they have supervision, control and sanctioning functions, according to Article 2, fourth paragraph. It seems out of place to create such lists in the absence of any real public interest to promote. Moreover, there is no need for a regulatory provision regarding training, which can be carried out in the free market without any specific discipline. Both Law No. 205 of 2017 and the ministerial decree have reserved regulatory space for the regions. Thus, for example, for the law of the Tuscany Region No. 76 of 2019, the achievement of a certificate of attendance at a course organized by trade associations, professional orders or other qualified entities, with a minimum duration of fifty hours, becomes relevant. Also per that law, those who perform a wine tourism activity must take out a civil liability insurance contract to protect visitors. However, neither Law No. 205 of 2017 nor the ministerial decree provided for this obligation. The aforementioned regional law added it, and this raises some doubts of constitutional legitimacy, because the regulatory power recognized to the regions cannot encroach on matters

1st World Congress on Wine Tourism and the Law that fall under the exclusive competence of the State, such as that relating to civil law, as per our Constitution. However, Italian law provides for a double level of regulatory intervention; in fact, the national law identifies general criteria, while the regions implement them in the different realities. Rightly or wrongly, wine tourism is subjected to a stringent publicistic regime, with checks on the legitimacy of the behavior of the companies and the risk of suspension or inhibition measures in case of illegal conduct. Actually, such threats seem a bit excessive. There could be dangerous illegitimate conduct if adulterated products were administered, but such cases would give rise to offenses already regulated by the general criminal system. By default, wine tourism is devoid of serious risks. 4. The proposed law On January 24, 2023, a bill for a new wine tourism regulation was submitted. The scheme is divided into nine provisions. Article 1 defines wine tourism by reiterating, in a more concise form, the notion referred to in the ministerial decree. It is not intended to expand or change these generic provisions, but re - proposes the themes of educational and informative activities on wine production, reception and hospitality services, visits, tasting and serving food related to the territory. Article 2 refers to the decree of the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of July 17, 2000. The reference does not seem correct, as the aforementioned decree sets quality criteria for wine routes, regulated by Law No. 268 of 1999. It would have been more consistent with the object of the proposal to refer to the 2019 ministerial decree, wanted by Law No. 205 of 2017, precisely for the regulation of wine tourism. Article 2, second paragraph, of the bill falls into the same error, because it refers to the list of entities that could be dedicated to such an initiative set by the 2000

Chiara Tincani decree; precisely because the latter regulates wine routes, it must select how many (there must be at least two) and which organizations can promote their creation. On the contrary, for wine tourism it is enough for the activity to be carried out by an agricultural entrepreneur, and this conclusion is inherent in the very definition of wine tourism as an expression of the multi - functionality of the farm. There is no reason to change the approach. Article 2, fourth paragraph, conditions the exercise of wine tourism on the notification of the start of the activity, but this principle is also enshrined in Law No. 205 of 2017. Article 2, fifth paragraph, of the bill imposes an administrative fine on anyone who exercises without having submitted the aforementioned report and authorizes the municipality to inhibit the activity in the twelve months following the establishment of the violation. Overall, these clarifications do not alter the existing regulatory framework. Moreover, in line with Law No. 205 of 2017, Article 2, seventh paragraph, refers the definition of the expected quality criteria to a ministerial decree. A new element is provided in Article 2, third paragraph, of the bill, according to which "the person in charge of wine tourism activities must hold the qualification of sommelier". The provision seems excessive and at odds with the desire to encourage the development of these initiatives; if these requirements were to be confirmed, they could be expected to shrink. For them to act as a stimulus for an expansion of agricultural activity and its qualification, they must be organized with a simplified procedure. Then, Article 3 entrusts the regions with the organization of training, retraining and professional development courses, but this is in continuity with the 2019 ministerial decree and no innovative insights emerge. Finally, Article 5 regulates the control functions assigned to

1st World Congress on Wine Tourism and the Law municipalities, which should also carry out spot checks on at least ten percent of the existing facilities in each territory, and by March 31 of each year should send a report to the regions on the matter. This provision is more detailed than Article 4 of the current decree, for which the regions define the controls, but this does not alter the existing regulatory framework designed with dual national and regional interventions. Finally, Article 4 of the proposal provides for the establishment at the Ministry of Tourism of the national portal, which should collect all information related to wine tourism offerings, with the aim of "disseminating, enhancing and communicating knowledge of data related to the goods, services and cultural reproduction of the national wine tourism activity". Overall, this proposal raises concerns; in some parts it confuses the two issues of wine routes and wine tourism initiatives, resulting in an overlap that would make the regulations unclear and difficult to implement. Otherwise, it retains the current system, so that the national law sets the general criteria and entrusts the regions with detailed regulation. Compared to the current 2019 decree, municipalities and not regions would be called upon to perform control functions and enforce fines. This change does not justify a new text, not least because, in practice, even now regions involve municipalities with the delegation of the exercise of relevant powers. The main innovations concern the establishment of the national portal and the requirement of a sommelier qualification for the person in charge of wine tourism initiatives. It would be superabundant to have a law for these two profiles, and these goals could be achieved by other, certainly faster ways, for example by a new decree. Next, it is not appropriate to require the additional qualification of sommelier for the enhancement and promotion of wine tourism, as this could discourage new initiatives. However, although questionable in its approach, the

Chiara Tincani proposal shows the attention of parliamentary bodies, who are aware of the practice and would like to develop it. This depends on business activities rather than further prescriptive action.