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In 2008, twenty young winemakers started a crazy project: wine on the bank of the Rhine river in Mainz, open air, after work and mostly with standing visitors. "It was cozy in the beginning", Alina Engel laughs, "by now, the size of the crowd is crazy!" Ten years later, the Mainzer Weinsalon is an award-winning classic, and Alina welcomes us in the classy new vinothek of her Winery Meyerhof in Flonheim, deep in the heart of Rheinhessen.

Wine tourism and wine experience, that's why they won the Best of Tourism Award 2018 of the Great Wine Capitals for wine tourism services here.

If you are looking for a vineyard visit with a difference, Château Lamothe Bergeron could be just the place.  On his arrival Laurent Mery, the General Manager of Château Lamothe Bergeron in Haut Médoc, declared that the property would be open for business to both wine professionals and amateurs alike and he has been true to his word. As of 2015, the chateau has opened its doors to visitors, from the reception and conference rooms to the bedrooms, the underground cellars and tasting rooms and the park around the property.

In 2018 they added the Gold 'Best Of' for wine tourism services to their trophies shelf.

The Penfolds name has long been synonymous with South Australia and the wine industry. With properties in both Magill (near Adelaide) and the Barossa Valley tourists have travelled throughout the state to experience one of the world’s most iconic wine brands. A recent redevelopment at the brand’s spiritual home, Penfolds Magill Estate has significantly raised the bar on delivering wine tourism experiences.

Cais da Villa Restaurant recently won the Best Wine Restaurant of Portugal award. It was presented by the Best Of Wine Tourism 2018 Awards, an event organized by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.   I was very curious to discover the wonders that Chef Daniel Gomes and his team are producing.

Few restaurants in Mendoza have picked up a cult following quite as quickly as Casa Vigil did. Within a year of opening, the restaurant had become one of the top listings on Trip Advisor - pipping hundreds of other restaurants to the post.

What is so special about the experience of Casa Vigil, you might ask. The answer is there in the name - Casa Vigil literally means the House of Vigil, and Vigil happens to refer to one of Argentina’s most respected winemakers, Alejandro Vigil. The tables here book up well in advance as wine lovers congregate from all over the globe in order to enjoy an intimate experience of Alejandro Vigil’s El Enemigo wines and dine in his home restaurant in the vine garden next to his boutique winery. With this in mind, the Mendoza jury awarded Casa Vigil a regional ‘Best Of Wine Tourism’ award for a wine tourism restaurant.

They moved from the Black Forest to Rheinhessen, and they found a paradise of wine and gourmets. In 2011 Beatrix and Markus Hebestreit took over a vacant homestead in the small village of Saulheim and turned it into a pilgrim's destination for wine gourmets for the whole region. "We are fully booked every night", Markus Hebestreit says: "People here spend a lot of money for food and wine – and they go out eating even in the middle of the week!" "Usually, restaurants are visited for their food, and the wine plays second part", Markus says, "in our restaurant it's just the other way round." Many guests come here just to taste the new wine varieties. It’s no wonder that the Mundart won the Great Wine Capital's Best of Wine Tourism Award in 2018 for wine gastronomy.

Hentley Farm is determinedly guest-focused. You get the sense that the restaurant and staff exist purely for your comfort and enjoyment. From the moment you venture beyond the hedge into this world where heritage and evolution harmonise, until you walk out the door holding your personalised copy of the menu, Hentley Farm Restaurant is about making memories. Lifelong memories of South Australia, the Barossa, its food and its people.

Hentley Farm Restaurant is open for lunches daily and Friday and Saturday evenings for dinner. Bookings are essential.

Hentley Farm Wines is the 2018 regional winner of the Best of Wine Tourism Award in the Wine Tourism Restaurants category.

Come experience Napa Valley from the original rancher’s perspective - riding through the vineyards on horseback!  This 30-minute trail ride is a fantastic way to take in the breathtaking vistas of the Rapp Ranch Estate and the surrounding hills of Coombsville. 

Unlike any experience offered in the valley, Shadybrook’s vineyard horseback ride coupled with their estate wine paired tasting, stand as a hallmark for any adventurers’ trip to Napa Valley.  In recognition of this initiative, Shadybrook Estate received a 2018 ‘Best Of Wine Tourism’ award for Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences.

Porto Calém Wine Cellars recently won the Best Innovative Wine Tourism Experience of Portugal award. It was presented by the Best Of Wine Tourism 2018 Awards, an event organized by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network. They were kind enough to fly me to Portugal in order to see the fancy new High Tech exhibition that has won them so many awards.

Monteviejo Wine Rock has been one of the greatest musical and wine highlights in Argentina’s calendar since its inception in 2011, and today - thanks to a collaboration with the Park Hyatt in Mendoza city - it has spawned into a week-long event involving hundreds of artists, musicians and chefs, and thousands of wine bottles!

It’s no surprise that Wine Rock Week took home a Great Wine Capitals Award for Innovative Experiences in its very first year, 2017, and well deserved that it went on to become the global winner. The event has become one of epic proportions, however its roots go deep and have humble beginnings - starting with a winemaker and a musician who shared a bond for good wine and good music…

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