SAN FRANCISCO | NAPA VALLEY INNOVATORS RECEIVE ACCOLADES FOR EXCELLENCE IN WINE TOURISM

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As one of the globally renowned "Great Wine Capitals," San Francisco | Napa Valley is home to the founders of America’s fine wine industry and legendary entrepreneurs whose pioneering spirit, passion for winemaking and dedication to preservation have enabled The Napa Valley to become the highly acclaimed wine, food, arts and wellness destination that it is today.

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2012 San Francisco│Napa Valley Best Of Wine Tourism and Award of Merit winners L-R: Kara Adamson (Auberge du Soleil), Mecaela Miller (Round Pond Estate), Mark Mathewson (Sterling Vineyards), Jim Caudill (The Hess Collection), Jerry Colton (Ma(i)sonry), Dev Sidhu (Cakebread), Louise Felsher (Treasure Island Wines), Christian Oggenfuss (CADE Estate Winery), Jennifer Buffo (Pure Luxury Transportation), Thomas Buck (Beau Wine Tours and Limousine Service), Charles Henning (CIA), Paul Dray (CIA).

With San Francisco’s close proximity to the Napa Valley, the rare opportunity to explore and experience one of the best wine regions in the world is within easy reach. San Francisco is repeatedly named one of the top food and wine destinations in the world and many of the gateway city’s restaurants showcase Napa Valley’s fine red, white and sparkling wines on their wine lists. Additionally, San Francisco is home to several of its own wineries and tasting rooms that feature wine made from Napa Valley varietal grapes.

Each year, with the Best Of Wine Tourism Awards, the Great Wine Capitals Global Network (GWCGN) offers hospitality leaders throughout San Francisco and The Napa Valley the opportunity to showcase their best practices in wine tourism and acknowledges the achievements of leading innovators.

There are seven categories in which “Best Of” awards are presented: accommodation, restaurants, architecture & landscape, art & culture, innovative wine tourism experiences, wine tourism services, and sustainable wine tourism practices.

2012 San Francisco | Napa Valley Regional Winners

AccommodationMeadowood Napa Valley has been recognized with the 2012 Great Wine Capitals Best Of Wine Tourism Award for Accommodation because of the high calibre of experience it offers wine tourism guests, including three-star Michelin dining in The Restaurant at Meadowood and a full-time Master Sommelier on staff directing wine education. Additionally, Meadowood Napa Valley annually hosts several notable wine-focused events that successfully market the Napa Valley as America’s premier wine tourism destination including Auction Napa Valley and the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers.

Wine Tourism RestaurantsThe Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant at The Culinary Institute of America has been recognized with the 2012 Great Wine Capitals Best Of Tourism Award for Wine Tourism Restaurants because of the multiple educational opportunities it offers guests including access to view chefs and students in open teaching kitchens; educational tips on its wine list offering flights of wines to compare and contrast varietals, winemakers and vintages; and their weekly series of wine tasting events with the Napa Valley Vintners that give visitors the chance to meet and interact with local vintners.

Architecture & LandscapeSterling Vineyards has been recognized with the 2012 Great Wine Capitals Best Of Tourism Award for Architecture & Landscape because it continues, more than 40 years after its founding, to be an architectural landmark, with unique Mediterranean/Greek Island-inspired architecture, and a landscape treasure with its many terraces showcasing 360-degree views of the Napa Valley and the environs of its surrounding agricultural preserve. Sterling Vineyards’ self-guided tour and tram transportation further enhance the wine tourism experience.

Art and CultureThe Hess Collection has been recognized with the 2012 Great Wine Capitals Best Of Tourism Award for Art and Culture because of its continued success and leadership in connecting the worlds of wine and art in a unique combination that allows guests an experience that touches the senses in many ways. With a combination of perception, passion and insightfulness, Donald Hess personally selects works of international contemporary art, creating a collection that is both thought provoking and inspirational. As a body of work in itself, The Hess Art Collection represents an extraordinary and ever-expanding, in-depth look at over sixty artists and is acknowledged as one of the largest collections of its kind.

Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences – Cakebread Cellars has been recognized with the 2012 Great Wine Capitals Best Of Tourism Award for Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences to acknowledge a quarter century of leadership in making wine and food education available to its guests. Today, Cakebread offers 13 innovative wine tasting and culinary experiences, updated seasonally to take advantage of fresh produce (much of it grown on site) and other food items.

Wine Tourism ServicesPure Luxury Transportation has been recognized with the 2012 Great Wine Capitals Best Of Tourism Award for Wine Tourism Services because of the level of customization and expertise it offers visitors seeking the ultimate Napa Valley experience, as well as its aggressive environmental policies as a Certified Green transportation company.

Sustainable Wine Tourism PracticesCADE Estate Winery has been recognized with the 2012 Great Wine Capitals Best Of Tourism Award for Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices because of its passionate dedication to the environment as the Napa Valley’s first organically farmed, LEED Gold Certified Winery.

“We congratulate the 2012 San Francisco | Napa Valley regional Best Of award winners, and thank them for their ongoing dedication to providing world-class wine tourism experiences to our guests,” said Clay Gregory, president and CEO of The Napa Valley Destination Council. “The Best Of awards present a wonderful opportunity for local businesses to shine and showcase their unique offerings on an international level.”

“We are proud to be part of Great Wine Capitals Global Network and to see our members recognized in the 2012 Best Of Wine Tourism Awards,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association. “For our visitors, the wine country experience begins in San Francisco, where Napa’s fine wines compliment some of the finest dining in America, and continues just an hour to the north in the beautiful vineyards of the Napa Valley.”

The Best Of Wine Tourism Awards were determined by a panel of judges within the industry and from the San Francisco|Napa Valley region. This year’s regional judges included Michael Dellar of Lark Creek Restaurant Group, Colby Smith of the Concierge Alliance of Napa Valley and Sonoma (CANVAS), Mike Gallagher, owner of CITYPASS and board member of Visit California, and Holly Krasner, Napa Valley marketing consultant.

“The group of entrants this year was stellar and the decision process was very difficult for the jury,” commented Michael Dellar. “There was a depth of excellent entries in each category to consider, which really shows why San Francisco | Napa Valley is a leader in offering compelling and innovative wine tourism experiences.”

About Great Wine Capitals Global Network
Founded in 1999, the Great Wine Capitals Global Network is an alliance of nine internationally renowned wine regions - Bordeaux, France; Cape Town, South Africa; Christchurch-South Island, New Zealand; Florence, Italy; Mainz-Rheinhessen, Germany; Mendoza, Argentina; Porto, Portugal; Bilbao-Rioja, Spain and San Francisco-Napa Valley, USA. The international Best Of Wine Tourism awards serves as an industry benchmark for excellence and recognizes leading wineries and wine-tourism related businesses within each Great Wine Capital that have distinguished themselves in areas such as innovation, service and sustainable practices. For more information visit http://www.greatwinecapitals.com.