I was touring with clients the other day and they were
surprised by how many Asian’s they were seeing in Napa, so I explained to them
that the people they were seeing were a mix of Bay area residents, where Asian
is the largest ethnic group, and international visitors. We are on the Pacific Rim!
For the past dozen years the world has been in the midst of
an international travel boon that we have only seen the tip of. That’s because
of the restrictions put in place by the Bush administration. The fact that Napa
and Sonoma see so many international visitors is the result of the sheer volume
of people wanting to visit here from around the world. The restrictions can
only discourage so many people.
Unless you are in the tour business, on the ground around
the wineries, I think that it’s hard to get a sense of the volume of the
traffic from other countries. This was pointed out to me the other day at
lunch. My clients were eating at the Market restaurant in St. Helena and I
headed over to Gillwoods for a salad. Have to maintain my fighting weight! I
was lingering over my coffee and who should sit down beside me but Terry, the
director of communications from the Napa Valley Vintners Association.
Now I had been trying to get his attention for a while,
without success, wanting to show him our Napa Valley Wine Tour iPhone App. And
here he was sitting next to me, looking for a San Francisco Chronicle. Well,
I’m as filled with news as any newspaper, so, I tell him about the app, all
very interesting. But then I tell him about how we market to Italian and German
visitors. This is where it gets real interesting.
He is surprised to hear that we get many Italian and German
visitors in Napa. Si, we do! Then it occurs to me that he doesn’t spend time
out in the wineries, standing next to buses, or eavesdropping in restaurants.
The group that he serves is composed of wineries that are focused on selling
wine. A perfectly legitimate pursuit, but the place that I travel is the
tourist and hospitality world, where the money is made from tours,
transportation, food and lodgings, and of course tour books and iPhone Apps.
On busy days in Sausalito you hear lots of conversations, and none of it in
English. Even with my five or so languages, and a passing knowledge of half a
dozen more, I hear many tongues that baffle me. Those folks also come to wine
country. The wineries aren’t ecstatic to see them because they don’t buy cases
of wine, because it’s hard for them to take home. But the hospitality industry
Napa and Sonoma have more wine educators per capita than
anyplace else on the planet, yet their knowledge of foreign languages can’t
compare with many international locations. If the local schools want to provide
a future for their students, expand the language programs and welcome the
Ralph & Lahni de Amicis are authors of the Amicis Winery
Guides, and owners of Amicis Tours. They are authors of over twenty books on
health, design, business and travel. Their iPhone Apps, The Napa Valley Wine
Tour, and The Sonoma Winery Tour are a tour guides approach to these beautiful
area, complete with 1000’s of photos and insights. Their articles and products
can be found on the sites http://www.amicistours.com and http://www.spaceandtime.com
Call 707-235-2648 for Tours, Books & Seminars Copyright Ralph & Lahni de Amicis 2013 All tasting fees, hours, wine lists, etc are subject to change.