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175 representatives from New Zealand’s South Island wineries, local and regional officials and guests from the Great Wine Capitals network cities attended a memorable gala dinner that took place at the AMI Stadium in Christchurch on November 4.

The ceremony was presided over by the Hon. Gerry Brownlee, New Zealand Minister for Economic Development and Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker.

The nine international award winners were chosen by an international jury from 59 nominees, all locally awarded Best Of winners.

The nine participating cities and wine regions of GWC gathered a total of 317 applications, with 80% of entries coming from new participants this year.

The 2011 winners are:

Wine Oil Spa Hotel Villa de Laguardia, set in the vineyards in a medieval town in the heart of the Rioja (Wine Tourism Services);

Cru Bourgeois Superieur in the Haut Medoc, Château Paloumey that regularly exhibits paintings and sculptures (Art & Culture);

Steenberg, one of the competition’s top-line international winners, winner of two categories in South Africa, was awarded the global Wine Tourism Services prize.

Yealands Estate in the South Island’s Marlborough region, New Zealand’s largest carbon-neutral certified winery that made international headlines for using miniature sheep to keep the vineyard’s grass and weeds in check (Sustainable Wine Tourism category).

Villa Vignamaggio, one of the oldest wine estates in the heart of Chianti Classico between Florence and Siena, dating back to the 15th century Renaissance (Architecture, Parks and Gardens);

The Hyatt Regency Mainz on the banks of the Rhine in Mainz that integrates a 19th century building with 21st century architecture (Accommodation);

Bodega Diam Andes, a member of the high-profile Clos de los Siete partnership of wineries in Mendoza, whose driving force is French winemaker Michel Rolland (Architecture, Parks and Gardens);

Conn Creek Winery on the scenic Silverado Trail in Napa Valley that promotes the region’s Cabernet wines (Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences);

Porto’s Quinta Aveleda, a 300-year-old family-owned estate and one of Portugal’s leading producers (Architecture, Parks & Gardens).

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; Bilbao-Rioja, Spain; Cape Town, South Africa; Christchurch-South Island, New Zealand; Florence, Italy; Mainz-Rheinhessen, Germany; Mendoza, Argentina; Porto, Portugal; and San Francisco-Napa Valley, USA. The international 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 http://www.greatwinecapitals.com.

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