World’s Best Vineyards has revealed the 50 best wine tourism destinations in the world in the first-ever virtual vineyard awards with Argentina’s Zuccardi Valle de Uco taking the top spot for the second year running. Bodega Garzón in Uruguay came in 2nd place for a consecutive year and Domäne Wachau in Austria jumped 16 places to take the 3rd spot. The 2020 Top 50 vineyards represented 18 countries and included first-time winners from India, Bulgaria and Japan.
The World’s Best Vineyards list seeks to raise the profile of wine tourism and despite the difficult circumstances that the travel industry has faced this year, the organiser William Reed and 2020 host partner Sonoma County Winegrowers wanted to recognise the efforts of wineries around the globe. The announcement of the Top 50 hopes to encourage travel to these outstanding destinations as doors begin to open again to visitors.
“It is testament to this amazing community of winemakers and wineries that your flexibility and speed of response have allowed you to adapt your business model to survive, and even thrive,” expressed founder Andrew Reed in an opening speech during the virtual ceremony. Reed highlighted how as the world comes out of lockdown, vineyards must be ready to re-engage with customers.
The World’s Best Vineyards list also seeks to recognise the diversity across established and emerging wine tourism destinations. Overall, there were 17 new destinations in this year’s Top 50.
New Zealand had two vineyards on the list; Rippon Vineyard & Winery Ltd placed 13th overall and won Best Vineyard in Australasia, and Craggy Range, while slipping a few spots from number eleven, placed in the top 20 at number 17.
“We were looking forward to welcoming guests to Sonoma County, the most sustainable winemaking region in the world, but we were thrilled to be able to carry on with the unveiling of the Top 50. This year’s virtual announcement is a reflection of the ways in which wineries around the world, and not least our own here in Sonoma Country, have so skilfully adapted to the current situation,” noted Karissa Kruse, President of Sonoma County Winegrowers.
The World’s Best Vineyards list is based on nominations from a Voting Academy made up of more than 500 leading wine experts, sommeliers, and travel correspondents from across the globe. To ensure the Academy is representative, the world is divided into 18 geographical regions. Each region has an Academy Chair who has been selected for their expert knowledge of the international wine and tourism scene.
These Academy Chairs are responsible for recruiting 36 experts in their region. They vote for 7 vineyards in preferential order and at least 4 of which must be from outside their home region. There is no pre-determined checklist of criteria – each vote is a nomination for a vineyard experience that they deem to be amongst the best in the world. The experience can include tours, tasting, ambience, wine, food, staff, view, value for money, reputation, and accessibility.
The World’s Best Vineyards has been designed by the team at William Reed to raise the profile of wine tourism and encourage travellers to enjoy wine-related experiences around the globe. The World’s Best Vineyards Top 50 list reflects the diversity of the world’s wine landscape. The reveal of the 2020 list has been organised in partnership with Sonoma County Winegrowers.