PRESS RELEASE: Thursday November 15, 2007 World’s Most Innovative Wine Tourism Programmes Rewarded The Old and the New World of wine celebrated their most exciting visitor programmes with the announcement of the 2008 International Best of Wine Tourism Winners at a ceremony in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Oporto, Portugal. All winners are situated in the heart of the Great Wine Capitals, an association of eight world famous wine cities – Bordeaux, Bilbao-Rioja, Cape Town, Florence, Melbourne, Mendoza, Oporto and San Francisco-Napa Valley. Every year, exceptional properties in each member city receive ‘Best of Wine Tourism’ awards across a number of categories – and the national winners go on to compete for the prestigious international prizes in one of eight categories. This is the fifth year of the awards, with over 320 properties from five continents competing for the titles. Don Tooth, CEO of Vergelen Wine Estate in South Africa, international winners now for the second year running, said, ‘To be a flagship for the wine tourism industry of South Africa is enormously satisfying. The real interest for us is not only external recognition but the opportunity to benchmark ourselves against international wine properties.’ Victor Pascual, managing director of Domaine Ysios, a 2006 International Winner, commented, ‘We found that many people have come to Ysios this year because of the Best Of awards, with visitors rising to 90,000 from just 4,000 five years ago. As president of the Rioja Wine Board, I know that all the nominees have seen a rise in visitor numbers as a result of the competition.’ For Remi Garuz, President of Planète Bordeaux, 2008 international winner, “this award is the reward of a winegrowers’ Association that believed in the blooming of wine tourism and had the desire to invest in this sector. It is a great pride for all of the Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur winemakers who have invested in a new innovative concept. The 2008 Best Of Wine Tourism award winners are: Bilbao-Rioja (Architecture, Parks & Gardens) Marques de Riscal Located in the heart of the Rioja, the striking architecture of this Frank Gehry-designed building has become a symbol of the architectural richness of the region. A 43-roomed hotel, a choice of restaurants, bars and lounges, plus the Caudalie Vinotherapy Spa make this an essential destination. www.marquesderiscal.com Bordeaux (Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences) Planète Bordeaux 20 minutes from the centre of Bordeaux, but in the heart of the region’s vineyards, this interactive space presents Bordeaux wine in a hands-on, multi-sensory experience, from seasons in the vineyard to tasting the final wine. www.planete-bordeaux.net Cape Town (Arts & Culture) Vergelegen One of the Cape’s oldest wine properties, and yet one of its most innovative, combining 18th century gardens, classic Cape architecture with wide-ranging visitor programmes from winery restaurants to picnics in the park to a peaceful library. www.vergelegen.co.za Florence (Accommodation) Castello di Meleto Meleto Castle, in the heart of Chianti, was originally a fortification of the Florentines against the Sienese. Today it is owned by Società Viticola Toscana, and offers guests the chance to stay in one of six beautifully converted apartments with a terrace or garden, surrounded by wine cellars and olive oil-mills, www.castellomeleto.it Mendoza (Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences) Familia Zuccardi Zuccardi is one of the oldest names in Argentine wine and its visitor centre is among the most impressive, comprising vineyard and winery tours, tastings, gourmet restaurant and even an art museum. Visitors can buy experimental blends and cuvees not yet in the market. www.familiazuccardi.com Melbourne (Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences) Victorian Alps Winery A beautifully-set winery, next to the Buckland Ranges in Victoria, with views over the Ovens valley, the cellar door offers picnics, live music, theatre, even cinema under the stars. The natural amphitheatre makes it a stunning setting for relaxing with a glass of wine. www.victorianalpswinery.com.au Porto (Art and Culture) The House of Sandeman Located on the riverbank of Vila Nova de Gaia, the House of Sandeman's history, heritage, tradition and innovation can be found at the Sandeman Visitor Centre and Porto Wine Museum, as well as in the Museum of Lagares in the Douro Valley. The downtown tour takes in the ancient cellars purchased by George Sandeman in 1811. www.sandeman.com San Francisco-Napa Valley (Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices) Grgich Hills Estate Biodynamic and organic winemaking practices, traditional grapes crushing by foot and the installation of solar energy are just a few of the ways that this iconic Californian estate has shown its seriousness about sustainable winemaking, and sharing that philosophy with its visitors. www.grgich.com Special Jury Award for Host City: Confraria do Vinho do Porto (Wine Tourism Services) The Port Wine Brotherhood is an organisation created in 1982 whose members, called confrades, are managers, owners, and key stakeholders in port wine, and who orovide a range of wine tourism assistance to visitors to the Oporto region. www.confrariavinhodoporto.com NOTES TO EDITORS Further details on www.greatwinecapitals.com For photography, please contact Catherine Leparmentier on email@example.com. All winners are available for interview.
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