How California’s Wine Country Tourism Could Evolve

Tourism in Napa Valley and California wine tourism in general is not a problem. Indeed, just last September numbers indicated that the tourism numbers had held steady even in the first year following devastating wildfires. Given that, it seems there is likely very little that could dissuade people from traveling to California to tour vineyards and enjoy local wines and luxuries.

With that said, however, everything changes over time and just like other sectors of tourism, it stands to reason that California wine country will ultimately evolve to suit shifting interests and supply new experiences for travelers. It may not happen now, or even in the next few years, but one day we’ll look back and realize that Napa and the surrounding regions evolved with the times. So, given this likely eventuality, we gave some thoughts to the different specifics that could be part of the evolution.

New, Virtual Experiences

Tech in wine is nothing new. In fact, you may have read here recently about the trend of living wine labels, which make for one of the most creative infusions of technology into the industry in some time. It’s not a direct next step, but given examples like that one it’s not a surprise to see new tech applications aimed at wine lovers – and eventually, this figures to include virtual reality experiences relating to wine country. In some cases that will likely mean tours that can be taken remotely, such that prospective travelers can “sample” different wineries and better outline their vacations. In cases, it might even mean that vineyards or wine shops have their own in-house VR experiences that can help to teach visitors about their wines in an interactive manner.

Wine-Based Film Screenings

Public cinema is changing shape slowly but surely, as the involved companies look for ways to combat the trend toward streaming. That is, as more people get used to streaming movies and TV at home, there’s a chance fewer of them will go out to theaters. This is ultimately the reason you’re starting to see more cinemas with recliner seats, drink and food service, and other perks; it’s becoming more about the total experience than just being able to see a new movie. We’ll probably continue to see creative changes in this industry, and it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if some of these include public screenings at wineries, outdoor showings after dark, or possibly even new Napa theories with a focus on wine sampling during films.

Wine-Fueled Mini-Casinos

Here too the idea is about wine playing into existing shifts occurring in an industry. The casino industry as it once was has been challenged fairly successfully by digital entertainment. Robust, largely UK-based companies are providing a plethora of games that can be accessed with ease and played smoothly, erasing in some ways the appeal of the standard casino. Thus, not unlike movie theaters, in-person casinos are evolving in various ways to better cater to real-world customers. This, coupled with the belief among some that casino gaming could receive a renewed push for widespread U.S. legalization following the embrace of sports betting, could well lead to small wine country casino facilities attached to wineries. Some might see this as going against the purity of the wineries, but at the same time there’s something sort of classy about imagining quiet poker tables adjacent to wine tasting rooms – and it would certainly generate revenue.

More Wine Bars

Exciting new wine bars in Napa and other wine regions are nothing new, but this is just a quick note to suggest that they’ll always be emerging. If vineyard tours go out of fashion, wine bars will be relied upon to bring in visitors and money; if traditional wine bars stop being trendy, there will be new twists on them to make them trendy all over again. There will always be new bars popping up around California wine country, and this, we feel confident in saying, will be the case whether or not some of the bolder predictions above come true.