In this new role, Mr. Bonello shall be aiming to raise the profile and knowledge of Maltese wines, both locally and more importantly internationally. The Malta Tourism Authority is confident that Mr. Bonello will succeed in his mission to establish a brand identity for The Maltese Islands’ wines and also Mediterranean wines through his great experience and love of the wine sector.
Mr. Bonello’s own wine journey began more than thirty years ago when a local winery presented him with an opportunity to market its range of Maltese wines. Throughout his career, he gained valuable experience with local winemakers and wine importers who gave him the opportunity to represent wines from around the world. In the meantime, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust provided him with the academic foundations that fueled his infectious enthusiasm for wine.
Over the last forty years, the Maltese wine scene has experienced a tremendous growth as more and more wine drinkers are appreciating Maltese wine for its quality, and understanding how important it is to our culture, our agriculture, and our tourism product. Quality tourism is often the result of travelers seeking meaningful and unique experiences at their destination. The combination of wine and gastronomy is a niche that appeals to a wide audience and fortunately the Maltese Islands have an exciting story to tell in this niche.
“After successfully achieving the goals of the recovery phase for Malta’s tourism industry, with a record tourism performance in 2023, MTA has now moved into the second phase of the 2021 – 2030 tourism strategy, which calls for the rethinking of the tourism experience that the Islands are to offer to prospective visitors. The wine and gastronomy segment are a strong motivator of quality tourism that seeks a memorable experience, sustainable tourism operations and is also willing to spend more for the right product. I strongly believe that Josef’s extensive knowledge and experience in the wine industry will help us develop this tourism product in cooperation with Malta and Gozo’s wine industry. Our objective is to provide our guests with an unforgettable experience and at the same time establish Malta and Gozo on the international wine scene,” said MTA’s CEO, Carlo Micallef.
Malta’s vineyards invite their elite visitors to enjoy exclusive access to their tasting rooms. Guests can step onto one of their terraces and enjoy a glass of wine overlooking the vineyards and striking scenery of the Maltese countryside, with the Mediterranean coast or the medieval city of Mdina shimmering in the distance. Now winning accolades in international competitions, Maltese vineyards are renowned in particular for their high-quality boutique wines. Connoisseurs will especially appreciate the indigenous Maltese grapes – the girgentina and the gellewza.
Maltese Award-Winning Wine
There is nothing better to accompany local Maltese dishes than a wine produced on the Islands. Maltese vintages are more than holding their own at international competitions, winning several accolades in France, Italy and further afield. The climatic, geographical, and soil conditions on the island provide ideal conditions for the production of wines which have brilliant colors, clean aromas, and lively acidity. Meridiana’s Wine Cellars produces some of the finest Maltese wines using only Maltese grown grapes. Some of the most renowned wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Vermentino, and Moscato. Many of the local wineries offer visitors wine tasting tours.
In addition to the never-ending vineyards delivering the finest wine, Malta offers travelers a diverse culinary experience. Its traditional plate of eclectic Mediterranean food is a curation of centuries of relationships between the Maltese and the countless civilizations that once occupied the archipelago. Malta has been put on the gourmet cuisine map with the 2023 MICHELIN Guide Malta selection including 35 restaurants in total; six Michelin-starred restaurants, four Bib Gourmand and 25 Recommended. Not to be missed, are the local street foods including the famous and authentic, Maltese Pastizzi (cheese or pea filled pastries).
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The sunny islands of Malta, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, are home to a most remarkable concentration of intact built heritage, including the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in any nation-state anywhere. Valletta, built by the proud Knights of St. John, is one of the UNESCO sites and the European Capital of Culture for 2018. Malta’s patrimony in stone ranges from the oldest free-standing stone architecture in the world, to one of the British Empire’s most formidable defensive systems, and includes a rich mix of domestic, religious and military architecture from the ancient, medieval and early modern periods. With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife and 8,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do.
For more information on Malta, visit www.VisitMalta.com.