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The steering committee of the Bilbao-Rioja partnership recently announced the winners of the regional ‘Best Of Wine Tourism’ awards at a ceremony held in the VIP pavilion of San Mamés stadium in Bilbao.

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Bilbao- Rioja’s Best of Wine Tourism 2018 awards

The 24 candidates were examined by a jury made up of Mikel Zeberio, a winemaker, sommelier and food and wine writer; Carmen Romo, the director of Romotur, an incoming travel agency; and Lourdes Aedo, the editor of GPS, a weekly food, wine and lifestyle supplement published in El Correo, the most widely-read newspaper in northern Spain.

The 2018 winners are:

Bodegas Conde de los Andes (Ollauri)

Conde de los Andes is a historic group of three underground cellars, excavated between the 15th and 18th centruries. The earlier cellars show a clear Hispano-Arabic influence while the later cellars were the work of stonemasons from Galicia in northwestern Spain.

Following extensive remodeling, more than two kilometers of these cellars, the oldest still in use in Spain, are open to the public.

Conde de los Andes also received an international ‘Best Of’ award at a gala dinner at Viña Veramonte in the Casablanca Valley in Chile.

Bodegas Valdemar (Oion)

Valdemar won its award for an original idea creating a tour of the cellars for parents and children from 4 to 12 years old. The theme is the winery’s loss of its magic grapes and the need to find them by means of a tour where the young visitors learn about the origin of wine and the winemaking process.

After the tour, while parents enjoy a wine tasting, their children drink a glass of grape juice and play in a game room created specifically for them. A tour of Bodegas Valdemar is a treat for the entire family.

Bodegas Lecea (San Asensio)

Bodegas Lecea is the brainchild of the Lecea family, owners of extensive vineyards and several underground cellars in the Cerro Verballe quarter of San Asensio.

The company lacks the resources of the large wineries to develop winery tourism so the family came up with an original idea: to share with visitors how wine was made in six underground cellars that were excavated in the 16th century using only gravity and manpower.

During the harvest, Bodegas Lecea offers visitors a unique experience, treading grapes by foot in open tanks (lagos), following the path of the free run juice and the pressing of grapes with an old wooden press.


About the Great Wine Capitals Global Network

Founded in 1999, the Great Wine Capitals Global Network is an alliance of nine internationally renowned wine regions – Adelaide|South Australia; Bordeaux, France; Mainz|Rheinhessen, Germany; Mendoza, Argentina; Porto, Portugal; Bilbao|Rioja, Spain; San Francisco|Napa Valley, USA, Valparaiso|Casablanca Valley, Chile and Verona, Italy.

The Best Of Wine Tourism awards serve as an industry benchmark for excellence and recognize 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 www.greatwinecapitals.com.