Excellent management and the exacting regulation on quality are the keys to the success of this initiative
'Divinum Vitae' groups 32 wineries together, which are very different in size and elaboration techniques and all of which are from Castilla-La Mancha. This is a private project, directed by expert businesspeople, with an agile and efficient management, designed to provide high quality service. Miguel Ángel Castiblanque, Manager of the Association of Wine Tourism of Castilla-La Mancha 'Divinum Vitae', has offered a conference at FENAVIN in which he has set-out the keys of the satisfactory trajectory that this initiative has enjoyed.
Quite probably this association is the only Spanish wine-tourism commercial brand that is not connected with the regulation councils or to any administration. With about thirty wineries that can be visited and an offer of ten different wine-tourist routes, in 2008 'Divinum Vitae' received more than 25,000 direct reservations, an excellent figure in the wine-tourism sector. Thanks to the recent agreements signed with major wholesalers, such as Viajes Iberia, Miguel Ángel Castiblanque affirms that the forecast of 80,000 reservations for 2009 is not at all ridiculous, even in a moment of economic crisis such as this one. "It is very important to understand -he affirms- that we offer complete service, turnkey service, adapting each and every detail to the customer's needs and exigencies".
And all this based on strict quality control. "It must be made crystal clear - Castiblanque continued - that one business is the elaboration of wine and selling it, and another very different business is wine-tourism. It is not merely limited to opening up the winery to the visits; it is something that reaches further beyond and that exacts very specific approaches and solid, well-rounded training in tourism of the personnel that will be attending the guests".
This is so much so that 'Divinum Vitae' has developed its own quality standard that the ICTE (Institute for Spanish Tourist Quality, creator, manager and supervisor of the well-known 'Q for Quality") has already assumed as the basis for development of the UNE standard on industrial tourism. The Castellano-Manchego association actively participates in the Technical Committee that is developing this standard.
Miguel Ángel Castiblanque is very satisfied with the evolution of the association: "Our land is still the great unknown, but the possibilities for wine tourism in Castilla-La Mancha are absolutely enormous". Also, it must be taken into account that the return on investment is immediate: 70% of the visitors take cases of wine home with them.
Despite the fact that to form part of 'Divinum Vitae' the very strict quality standards mentioned above must be complied with, the association estimates that throughout the year 2009 at least ten new wineries will join the association.