Florence recently announced the winners of its 2012 Best Of Wine Tourism awards to five Florence area companies as well as honourable mentions to four properties by the local jury, made up of tourism experts, professors of tourism studies, representatives of social media, journalists and wine tourism associations. The awards ceremony will take place at the end of March or early April followed by a press trip to the winning companies. See below for the ‘Best Of’ winners.
The ‘Best Of’ winners are:
Accommodation: Dievole – Castelnuovo Berardenga (SI) dievole.it
Formerly home to the Florentine nobility, Villa Dievole is now a Tuscan hotel offering a total of 28 suites and double rooms, spread throughout several buildings, all with beautiful views over vineyards and olive groves. These historic buildings have been refurbished to a luxury 4 star standard, which still retains plenty of Tuscan charm. It also offers two pools, a bar, a restaurant and a children’s playground. At Dievole, good wine is the right answer to the right question, whether for vineyard or wine cellar. A good wine is the perfect union of man and nature.
Wine Tourism Restaurant: Borgo Allegro – Vinci (FI) borgoallegro.it
Love for what they do and suggest transpires from daily research of the best ingredients that seasons and friend-farmers provide them at the right time. Borgo Allegro offers his creativity by the respect which it uses in ingredients handling and plate arranging, like dishes of the best Tuscan meats, vegetables, Mediterranean fishes, mushrooms, truffles from San Miniato, and careful selections of cheese and various kind of cold cuts of pork and game. The wine cellar offers an excellent selection of wine, about 400 labels of the best Tuscan and Italian wine, suggested for the best pairing.
Architecture, Parks and Gardens: Azienda Agricola Malenchini – Grassina (FI) malenchini.it
Since 1830 the Malenchini family runs this farm, which lies around the Villa Medicea of Lilliano. 17 hectares are cultivated with vineyards and 42 with olive groves. The main façade is south-facing with a very simple sixteenth century design and is enclosed by two small towers preceded by a garden of water lilies. The prestigious fountain with statues was designed by the architect Foggini and is the twin of the more famous one in the Boboli Gardens in Florence. The splendid front terrace directly faces Florence. Remarkable are the cellar and the “orciaia”, with the ancient jars for olive oil.
Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences: Castello di Verrazzano – Greve in Chianti (FI) verrazzano.com
At Castello di Verrazzano it is possible, with several kinds of programs, to take guided tours of the historical but still working cellars. During the visit, strolling in the late-Renaissance gardens of the Villa, you will discover the great history of the Navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano and have the chance to see the wild boar bred in the surrounding woods. The tours are always completed with a guided tasting of classic wines, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Vin Santo (Holy Wine) together with the traditional almond biscuits.
Wine Tourism Services: Associazione De Gustibus Network – Campi Bisenzio (FI) de-gustibus.it
The De Gustibus Network is an association created for those who travel and want to connect with a reality often unknown or forgotten. It is in the process of developing an even-larger network of friends who can get to know and understand old and new flavours from a terrain that has much to offer. Their associates experience an alternative wellbeing that is outside the logic of the mass market. De Gustibus Network additionally aims to defend the variety and the complexity of flavours, tastes, and characteristics, retaining integrity and respect for the place and culture of origin.
SPECIAL JURY AWARDS:
Honourable Mention for Accommodation: Castiglion del Bosco – Montalcino (SI) castigliondelbosco.com
Its magnificent accommodations are only one facet of life at Castiglion del Bosco. Now as in the past, when this was a busy agricultural and social centre serving a diverse resident community, Castiglion del Bosco is a living country estate. Today, its unparalleled amenities reflect the true essence of la vera Toscana — luxurious relaxation, exceptional cuisine and great outdoor activities, all set against the picturesque backdrop of the Val d’Orcia.
The restaurant is located in one of the buildings in the hamlet of Fizzano and is open both to those staying at the complex and non-residents. Some of the dishes are prepared in full accordance with authentic, traditional Tuscan recipes, whereas others reinterpret those traditions in a modern style – all of the dishes, however, are made using only the freshest seasonal ingredients. Their extra-virgin olive oil, vegetables from the garden and wines from the cellar complement and enrich the culinary experience on offer at the restaurant.
Honourable Mention for Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences: Castello di Gabbiano – Mercatale Val di Pesa (FI) castellogabbiano.it
The visitor immediately senses an aura of protection from these ancient walls, along with the warmth of the light that streams through the vast windows along the sides of the little cloister Castello di Gabbiano offers a real immersion in the Chianti wine production world. There is the possibility to attend seminars of wine and food matching, to have a proper wine-education to discover the different appellations and wine making techniques, from the most traditional to the most modern ones, used in the area. It is possible to follow many operations in the vineyards and in the cellar.
Honourable Mention for Art and Culture: Fattoria Pagnana – Rignano sull’Arno (FI) fattoria-pagnana.it
Fattoria Pagnana is a quiet and relaxing farmhouse in the heart of the Florentine hills, surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, just 15 km. from Florence. The main activity of the farm is the location for weekly or short or long periods of its 25 apartments, completely restored and tastefully furnished in rustic style equipped with all modern amenities. The apartments are comfortable and carefully equipped. The farm has two swimming pools, a tennis court, playground, fitness trail, grill and a park with a terrace from which you have a magnificent view of Vallombrosa mountain.
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 – 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 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 greatwinecapitals.com.
Written by Best of Wine Tourism Awards