a decanter.com promotion The world’s top wine tourism experiences were honoured at a gala dinner on November 13 at Vergelegen Winery in the South African Cape, when the Great Wine Capitals announced the winners of its annual Best Of Wine Tourism Awards for 2009.
The Best Of Wine Tourism awards, which this year saw a record 385 entrants from four continents, is organised with the support of wine industry stakeholders in each of its member cities of Cape Town (South Africa), Bilbao-Rioja (Spain), Bordeaux (France), Florence (Italy), Mainz (Germany), Mendoza (Argentina), Porto (Portugal) and San Francisco-Napa Valley (United States).
Now in its sixth successful year, the international renown of the competition reflects the growing stature of wine tourism, as travellers seek niche, tailored vacations instead of the traditional package trips to the beach.
The 2009 International Best Of Wine Tourism Winners were:
Fundación Dinastía Vivanco of Briones, La Rioja, for its Museum of the Culture of Wine, an extensive wine documentation centre that has catalogued wines and their history and culture around the world from as far back as the 15th century.
Château de Carbonneau, on the slopes of Pessac sur Dordogne in Bordeaux, France, for its stylish five-bedroom chateau accommodation, built in the 19th century and surrounded by 15 hectares of vineyards.
Villa Petriolo in the Tuscan hills, selected for its support of local artists, whose works are exhibited at the winery.
The wine-growers of the Rheinhessen in Mainz, Germany, for their collective offerings of innovative wine tourism experiences.
Bodega Salentein in Mendoza for its cultural centre Killka that combines murals, sculpture and art and includes an 80-seat restaurant. The famous winery is housed in an imposing stone building in the shape of a cross, and has been dubbed the “Cathedral of Wine”.
Portugal’s Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, an estate owned by cork producers Amorim, for its Wine House. Dating back to 1764, the estate runs along the banks of the Douro River near the waterside villages of Ferrão and Pinhão.
Domaine Chandon for its Etoile restaurant, considered the foremost fine dining winery-based restaurant in California’s Napa Valley.
Mont Rochelle Hotel & Mountain Vineyards in Franschhoek, Cape Town, received its 2008 local award on this occasion; the property won in both the restaurant and accommodation category.