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The Graves region is considered the cradle of fine wine making in Bordeaux, the site of some of the oldest vineyards of the region. Just south of the city, it is also the perfect place to choose as a base from which to discover the wineries and châteaux of Bordeaux.

When you roll through Rheinhessen, along those soft, vineyard-strewn hills, you find on the outskirts of a small village named Köngernheim a very inconspicuous assemble of buildings. When you step through the gate, a whole new world opens: old half-timber houses surround a romantic yard and cuddle the main house – an old grain mill. Its secrets lodge on the inside: highly modern, yet cozy rooms, a gourmet restaurant, and a 110 square meter spa area with yoga room, saunas and an outdoor pool that bows to the wine dedication of the area.

Mendoza’s hotels and wineries have a major landscaping and architecture advantage: the natural backdrop of the Andes mountains and carpet of green vines make most buildings look fabulous. In fact, the greater challenge for architects in Mendoza is finding the right balance of respecting the stunning natural landscape and blending modern architecture into such a striking backdrop.

 

The sky-high cypresses remind of southern Italy, palm trees grow behind the house, and the boxwoods form maze games for the eyes to linger – truly, the gardens at Weingut Listmann remind of a different time and place. Yet, we're here in Rheinhessen, only a few kilometers from the Palatinate which they call the Tuscany of Germany. "I always loved that view, when, driving over the Brenner Pass, we came to Italy and saw those cypresses", Eckhard Lismann rhapsodizes: "Whatever they're having in terms of gardens, we can have here, too."

Domaine du Burignon : come to sleep and to live in a hamlet dedicated to wine production, a mythical place for relaxation and inspiration, a timeless escapade.

Villabuena de Álava, a small village with 300 inhabitants, lies on both slopes of a ravine carved out by a small creek.  You could drive by the village on the main road and probably miss it completely if you weren’t looking carefully. But if you turn off the road and drive down the hill into the village, you are in for a pleasant surprise, because this village has more than 40 wineries, a fact that surely deserves a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Twelve of these wineries, along with the spectacular Hotel Viura, have created an innovative wine tour through the village that won a regional 2019 ‘Best Of Wine Tourism’ award from the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.

We decided to take the tour to find out for ourselves.

 

The ‘Best Of Wine Tourism’ People’s Choice Award is an offshoot of the ‘Best Of Wine Tourism’ awards.  The accolade, created in 2018, gives wine tourists from all over the world the opportunity to vote for their favorite wine tourism experience from among the latest winners of a prestigious ‘Best Of Wine Tourism’ award.

What are the ‘Best Of Wine Tourism’ awards?

Cockburn’s Lodge is the largest wooden Port cellar in the historic area of Vila Nova de Gaia. Holding one of the greatest collections of oak barrels and wooden vats of any Port cellar, this is where we age all our Ports and is the home of Cockburn's Special Reserve. Cockburn’s is one of the few Port producers to maintain a fully equipped and operational cooperage in Vila Nova de Gaia, with a full team of seven coopers. A highlight of the visit to Cockburn’s is the possibility offered to visitors to view the coopers at work, wielding mallets with which they disassemble barrels stave by stave for maintenance and then reassemble them.

Five years ago, local entrepreneurs and music lovers Jose Pancorbo and Rafael Bezares weren’t sure if they wanted to create a special music festival or a special wine festival.  So they created both: MUWI La Rioja Music Fest, an annual event that fuses music, Rioja wine and tourism.  This unique focus earned the event a 2019 ‘Best Of Wine Tourism’ award for Art and Culture from the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.

Imagine having a hobby that is extremely enjoyable to yourself, as it should, but also brings great pleasure to everyone around you. Mark Lloyd from Coriole might think of the successful music and theatre he has been bringing to the rolling hills of McLaren Vale, as he - almost guiltily - mentions them to be more of a personal obsession and a digression to winemaking. But, if you win Great Wine Capitals ‘Best of Art and Culture’ two years in a row, I think it is time to call it more than just a runaway passion.

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