(CNN) — The comforting glug of wine into glass has been one of many few pleasures left to us through the lengthy months of lockdown — however how significantly better to get pleasure from it on a sunlit vineyard terrace.
The World’s Best Vineyards awards, created to honor the best in trendy wine tourism, was meant to be held this yr within the lush surrounds of California’s Sonoma County wine area, however — 2020 being 2020 — the winners this yr had been revealed on-line.
There was one fixed in these topsy-turvy instances nonetheless; South America stays the best vacation spot for a winery trip (as soon as we’re all touring once more).
Winner on the inaugural 2019 awards and now once more in 2020, Zuccardi Valle de Uco is an Argentinian vineyard within the coronary heart of the Uco Valley, on the foot of the Andes mountains. A family-run enterprise based in 1963, it delivers what the Best Vineyard Awards calls “precision-made high-altitude wines” out of a shocking modernist bodega.
Uruguay’s Bodega Garzón, as soon as once more in second place, was praised as a frontrunner in sustainability. It gives a top-class program of tastings and occasions, and its 120-seat restaurant gives Uruguayan delicacies and panoramic views of the encompassing countryside.
Bodega Garzon is in Uruguay’s coastal area of Maldonado.
Courtesy Bodega Garzon/World’s Best Vineyards
No guidelines, no standards
The awards are based mostly on nominations from a Voting Academy made up of greater than 500 wine consultants throughout the globe. To make sure the Academy is consultant, the world is split into 18 geographical areas, with 36 consultants in every.
“There is no predetermined checklist or criteria,” stated awards founder Andrew Reed as he launched the live-streamed occasion. “The experience will take in all sorts of things connected with the visit. The tour, the tasting, the ambiance, the architecture, the wine, the food, the staff, the view… The list goes on.”
There had been 5 South America winners within the prime 20, with Chile’s Montes and Viña Vik at four and 10 respectively, and Argentina’s Catena Zapata, with its pyramid-like design impressed by Mayan structure, dropping this yr to No. 11.
Europe’s best winery — taking pictures up 16 positions to 3rd place — is to not be discovered within the conventional wine areas of France or Italy, however in an Austrian valley fashioned by the Danube River. Domäne Wachau, with its baroque citadel and UNESCO World Heritage web site environment, additionally wows with its Grüner Veltliner white wines.
Better yr for Europe
The highest-placed French winery was Château Smith Haut Lafitte, close to Bordeaux, at No. 7, which climbed seven locations this yr. Château Pichon Baron, additionally in Bordeaux, broke into the highest 20 at No. 19.
Italy’s best winery was Antinori nel Chianti Classico in Tuscany, up 9 locations to No. 9. Its new cellar, opened in 2012, is a wonderful brick-red construction of terracotta and wooden and is, defined the World’s Best Vineyards voiceover, “designed for gravity-flow winemaking.” With no use of pumps or mechanics, it is a gentler method to an historical craft.
Spain’s Marques de Riscal vineyard (up three locations to No. 6), with its eye-popping design by legendary architect Frank Gehry, is typical of the brand new breed of winery the place top-class structure is on the menu alongside the standard varietals and connoisseur meals choices.
You can keep on this Gehry resort at Spain’s Marques de Riscal vineyard.
Courtesy Marqués de Riscal/World’s Best Vineyards
Impressive new winery from Japan
New Zealand’s Rippon, a biodynamic winery on the shores of Lake Wanaka, dropped 5 locations to No. 13, however was nonetheless named Best Vineyard in Australasia.
North America’s highest entry was Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley, which climbed seven locations to No. 5. It produces world-class Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and Oakville District Cabernet Sauvignon.
The highest climber, nonetheless, was Delaire Graff Estate, in South Africa’s Cape Winelands. Leaping 25 locations up the listing, and boasting “unparalleled views of the Banhoek Valley, Stellenbosch vineyards and Table Mountain,” it landed in 14th place and was named Best in Africa.
Japan’s Château Mercian Mariko Winery, which solely opened in September 2019, made a really spectacular debut at No. 30, and was named Best in Asia.
Lebanon’s rising wine scene was represented by Château Oumsiyat (No. 38) and Chateau Heritage (No.48) and there have been new entries from India (KRSMA Estates, No. 46) and Bulgaria (Wine Cellar Villa Melnik, No. 39).
The return of wine tourism
“There is no single definition for an amazing vineyard experience in the same way as there is no single definition for an amazing wine,” stated Reed as he launched the live-streamed occasion.
“As the world begins to emerge from lockdown, people will start close to home to begin with, and eventually they will become more bold, and they will venture further away from home to find the food and drink which they want.
“There will in fact be variations all over the world, however I’m certain we’ll get via this very quickly.”