Credits: © Valdichiana Living – Strada del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano e dei Sapori della Valdichiana Senese
The Nobile di Montepulciano wine is truly a noble wine with an ancient history, inextricably linked to the Municipality of Montepulciano. Olive trees and vineyards characterize the landscape of the charming medieval village, located on a hill 650 meters above sea level.
The history of Vino Nobile, the first Italian wine to have received the DOCG status label, in 1980, is documented since the mid-1300s when the rules for its trade and export were established. The definition “Noble” was conferred in the second half of the 18th century as a certification of the high quality of the product.
Voltaire, in his famous work “Candido”, describes the precious characteristics of the Nobile di Montepulciano wine which will thus definitively enter the elite of the finest wines, counting among its admirers also numerous presidents of the United States.
Like all fine wines, the Nobile di Montepulciano wine is also a means of getting to know the history and culture of the area in which it is produced.
The Association “Strada del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and the Flavors of the Valdichiana Senese” was created with the aim of guiding the visitor to discover the Sienese territory, offering various services.
Let’s find out more from the words of Bruna Caira.
From 1998 (year of foundation of the Association) to today, what goals have you achieved and what are the ones still to be achieved?
In 22 years of activity, the objectives have certainly changed. The Strada del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, the first Wine Road established in Tuscany, operated until 2014 only in the territory of the Municipality of Montepulciano. After that, both the name and therefore Strada del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano dei Sapori della Valdichiana senese and the territory of competence, which extended from the area of Montepulciano to that of the whole Valdichiana Senese, including the Municipalities of Chianciano, changed. Thermal baths, Cetona, Chiusi, Montepulciano, San Casciano dei Bagni, Sarteano, Sinalunga, Torrita di Siena, Trequanda. The strategic objectives are defined within a three-year tourism plan of the Valdichiana Senese and are:
– Increase arrivals in the Valdichiana Senese
– Extend the average stay of the stay
– Increase the visitor’s tourist spending
– Distribute tourist flows evenly across the territory
– Develop the destination’s notoriety
In 2016, the activation of the internal travel agency Valdichiana Living, allowed the Strada del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano e dei Sapori della Valdichiana Senese to expand its potential, accompanying the promotion of the territory with the marketing of tourist packages, stay and thematic tours. Each tourist product is closely linked to the plurality of services made available by companies.
An important work in promotion and marketing that, over the years, has paid off in terms of presence in the area and important awards. To name a few: the Sienese Valdichiana has been awarded the title of ‘Wellness Paradise’ and has become part of the European Eden network, the circuit that promotes European wellness resorts. The recognition came to the ‘European Destinations of Excellence Network’ project, aimed at the exchange of good practices and the promotion of the international marketing of wellness and sustainable tourism. The Valdichiana Senese is also the European Community of Sport for 2021, recognition attributed by the Federation of European Capitals and Cities of Sport (Aces Europa), because it is a good example of a community in which sport is a tool for health and integration. In Valdichiana Senese there are also 7 Orange Flag Touring Club villages, two are the municipalities belonging to the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy circuit and two historical rural landscapes recognized by Mipaaf (Trequanda and the hills of Montepulciano together with Pienza).
Through which services/activities do you promote the dissemination of the Nobile di Montepulciano wine?
The Strada carries out an intense tourist promotion activity through participation in national and international fairs and workshops, road shows abroad and promotional events. The tourist offer of the territory is presented in its priority assets and connected tourist products: villages rich in history, art and culture; the thermal well-being linked to the three spas in the area, namely the Terme di Montepulciano, the Terme di Chianciano and Fonteverde in San Casciano dei Bagni; the beauty of the landscape and outdoor tourism to be experienced by bike, on foot or on horseback; the offer linked to wine and quality food that is declined in many proposals, many of which related to the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG: from the simple tour in the monumental cellars of the historic center, to dinners in the vineyard, to the wine tour by ebike, up to the more complex packages designed for wine lovers. Every year, we host journalists and bloggers, as well as national and international tourist buyers. Since 2019, we have been the technical secretariat of the Italian Federation of Wine Roads and Flavors of Italy, with which we organize tasting events of wines and local products. At our headquarters in Piazza Grande 7 we have opened a “Shop” dedicated to the sale of products from local companies in agreement with local producers we know personally. To support all offline activities, the official e-commerce of the typical products of the Valdichiana Senese has recently been developed, where the producers of the Valdichiana Eating network themselves guarantee quality. On www.valdichianaeating.shop you can buy thematic boxes that tell stories, through the skilful combination of local products. For example, with the Sunday Lunch Box we take you to the most classic of tables, that of the Tuscan tradition par excellence, with typical recipes and authentic flavors that you can only find in Valdichiana Senese.
Among the numerous Tuscan wine excellences, what are the peculiar characteristics of the territory of Montepulciano and its wine?
The Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has a dry and persistent flavor, which goes perfectly with the typical products of the territory of Montepulciano and the whole Valdichiana Senese, such as the Chianina IGP meat from which the well-known Florentine steak is obtained. Surely, the most fascinating feature that binds Montepulciano to its wine is represented by the monumental cellars, located inside the Renaissance palaces of the historic center; a historical heritage that testifies to the centuries-old link between the village and its main product.
Over the decades, has the type of user (Italian and/or foreign) who chooses your services changed?
Tourism has grown a lot in recent years, especially in rural villages. Today, tourists increasingly seek the authenticity and quality of an experience. Organizing a simple tasting in the cellar is no longer enough. It is necessary to take care of every aspect of the experience, from the choice of the company, to the direct meeting with the producer, to the selection of wines, to the emotional and sustainable component of the tour. Our strength is, certainly, the knowledge of the territory and of the companies, with which we have an almost daily dialogue. In www.valdichianaliving.it you can find over 100 experiences, each of them built with care by our team of local travel experts.
How important are associations like yours to spread, among other things, the culture of responsible drinking?
Our interest is that the agri-food and wine culture spreads more and more. Our tourist proposals have a character of edutainment, that is entertainment and education precisely to spread the culture of eating and drinking well. Another time to spread the culture of responsible drinking is certainly during events. Calici di Stelle in Montepulciano is our flagship event (we have been organizing it every 10 August for 20 years now) and allows you to taste the Rosso and Nobile di Montepulciano in the evocative setting of the historic center, choosing from over 70 labels. On this occasion we try to convey the message that drinking is a pleasure, but only if done responsibly.
Through which services / activities do you enhance the Valdichiana Senese territory?
The three-year tourist plan of the Valdichiana Senese indicates the tourist products, the markets, the projects and is accompanied by a chrono-program of annual activities for the enhancement of the territory. There is constant discussion with Toscana Promozione Turistica, the agency of the Tuscany Region that collaborates with local realities for the development of the various destinations, precisely to align the program of the area with the regional promotional activities. Furthermore, we try to use the new and most innovative technological tools in the sector both in the communication and marketing activities.
Of fundamental importance is the network with local tourism operators and local institutions, which makes it possible to communicate the Valdichiana Senese in a coordinated and efficient manner.