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Bilbao's historic wine warehouse, La Alhondiga, recently remodeled as a cultural center, was the venue for the Bilbao/Rioja 2011 'Best Of' Winery Tourism awards ceremony on October 26.
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Seven companies were selected for awardsfrom 28 candidates.

The WineryTourism Services award went to the WineOil Spa, located in the Hotel Villa de Laguardia, a previous ‘Best Of’winner. The spa occupies 1.000 m2,  and features 15cabins, A therapy pool and Wine Oil Spa hydrothermal circuit, gym, relaxationarea. Treatments include hydrotherapy, peelings, scrub, body wraps, facials,massages, and waxing. Other treatments are based on wine, olive oil and holisticmedicine, emphasizing the client’s well-being and health. Thanks to themassages, the music, the aromas, the colours, the candles and the bestcosmetics, guests will relax and feel invigorated to visit the Rioja Alavesa Wine Valley.The hotel also offers spacious gardens and playgrounds for children.

Yandiolawas the winner in the Restaurantcategory. The restaurant, located in La Alhóndiga, featuresdishes from northern Spain,especially the Basque region, prepared with local ingredients and a moderntouch. An international wine list.

Accommodation: Hotel Eguren Ugarte in Laguardia. The hotel offers visitors the unique opportunity ofsleeping inside a winery amongst the barrels, surrounded by vineyards andbeautiful views of the Cantabrian mountains in the outskirts of Laguardia inthe Rioja Alavesa region. The resort offers 21 rooms and suites with balconiesoverlooking the vineyards. It is also fully equipped to hold events or businessmeetings, with the possibility of private tastings and visit to the winery. Anideal central place to visit the Rioja Alavesa Wine Valley filled with athousand years of human history, from prehistoric to avant-garde architecture.

The 2011 winner for Architecture, Parks and Gardens was Bodegas Olarra in Logroño. Thewinery is situated on the outskirts of Logroño, right in the heart of the Riojawine district and within the sub-zone of Rioja Alta.Constructedin 1973 by Juan Antonio Ridruejo, Olarra is characterised by the beauty andcomplexity of its facilities. It occupies a surface area of 54,000 m2 of which18,000m2 correspond to the plant, and was the first bodega in Rioja to applyarchitecture to the winemaking process not only as an aesthetic but also as astructural and practical element for production. It is popularly known as “TheCathedral of Rioja “ due to its pillars and dome.

BodegasMarqués de Carrión in Labastida in Rioja Alavesa received the Art and Culture award for its stunning murals and sculptures, surrounded bya fully functioning Rioja winery. Bodegas Marqués de Carrión is open seven days a week and welcomes bothindividuals and groups.

InnovativeWine Tourism Experiences: Bodegas David Moreno Peña in Badarán(Rioja Alta). In 1981 David Moreno left his job in Barcelona as an engineer to return to hishome town and turn his dream of becoming a winemaker into reality. In 1988 thebuilding work began on what was to become today’s winery, occupying an area of 17,000 m2 with 5,000 m2 of buildings.With capacity to make 2 million litres, our current sales are of a total of850,000 bottles per year. They make a wide range of fine wines which haveearned the recognition of major national and international awards.

The winery organizes a number of activities aroundtrhe winemaking process, the cultural heritage of the region, featuring the firstevidence of written Spanish, and the nearby monasteries of Suso and Yuso. A restaurant serves lunch.

Bodegas Murillo Viteri in Cenicero (Rioja Alta) received the award for Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices. BodegasMurillo Viteri define themselves as a small family wine cellar dedicated to theproduction and elaboration of wine for five generations. All their processesare environmentally friendly, and the concept of social responsibility in termsof sustainability, recycling, ecology, transparency and accessibility are presentin all their activities. The company motto is “A small wine cellar, bigresponsibilities”.

AboutGreat Wine Capitals Global Network

Founded in 1999, the Great Wine CapitalsGlobal 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-NapaValley, USA. The Best Of Wine Tourism awards serve as an industry benchmark forexcellence and recognize leading wineries and wine-tourism related businesses withineach Great Wine Capital that have distinguished themselves in areas such asinnovation, service and sustainable practices.

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