Last week, Château Guiraud has been awarded with an International Best Of Wine Tourism award in Mainz.
Development of environmental good practices.
Château Guiraud has been a pioneer of organic agriculture in Sauternes and in Bordeaux. A champion of environmental practises since 1996, it was the first 1855 classified growth to be certified organic in 2011.
Now visitors can get upfront and personal with these initiatives, thanks to electric bikes and an app that allows them to navigate through the property and even further afield. The ‘Bulle Vert’ Guiraud by bicycle tour allows guests to cycle from 5 to 30 km, to enjoy the countryside and discover the biodiversity of the property. They can find nest boxes for birds and bats, insect ‘hotels’, different cover crops in the vines, and wildlife in the hedgerows around them. The more adventurous can take off with a picnic in their bike basket and of course everyone enjoys a tasting of the wines of the property.
The 2022 Regional Best Of Wine Tourism winners have been announced in October in Bordeaux.
As wine tourism booms in in the South West of France, properties are becoming more and more inventive in the way they welcome guests. It’s a hard task for the Best of Wine Tourism Jury to select just eight Golden award winners from a short list of 24 properties.
It is a wonderfully diverse selection including new and unexpected names amongst the winners from boutique wine start-ups to cooperative cellars in the foot hills of the Pyrenees and Japanese cuisine in the heart of the Medoc.
Architecture and Landscapes.
Château George 7 is right at the heart of the beautiful Fronsac appellation.
In 2015, Sally Evans changed careers and bought a small run-down house, an empty winery and a tractor barn at the heart of a 3ha parcel of vines. In 2017, Château George 7 was born. Although frost in her first year meant no real harvest, she soldiered on. Now her boutique winery and tasting room welcomes guests to discover the region and her wines. Her terrace overlooking over the 35-year-old vines is the perfect place for a sunset tasting.
Art and Culture
In the foot hills of the Pyrennes, Château de Crouseilles is the beating heart of a cooperative working with wine makers of Madiran and Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh to help them create a sustainable viticulture. The 120 member properties date from the 10th, 14th and 16th centuries, and they are committed to keeping their traditions alive through theatre, art exhibitions and concerts and festivals. Engaging local communities in its role as an important economic and cultural force in this rural region, the “7 follies” is an interactive experience of seven works of art in and around the vines and chateau inviting visitors to discover the heritage, culture and agriculture of the vine and the greater region.
Discovery and Innovation.
Japanese food and Medoc wines? Of course! Château Lagrange is yet another example of the innovation that is at the heart of the Best of Wine Tourism awards. This classified growth of Saint Julien has been under the Japanese ownership of Suntory since 1983. Always discreet, they have respected the Médoc traditions. Now you can enjoy the Japanese influence with a unique fusion cuisine experience. A teppanyaki table in the orangery of the beautiful Château is where chef Taichi Sato shares his unique approach to local Médoc specialties with a Japanese accent. Guests can join him for a cooking class to learn more about the techniques, served with a glass of Château Lagrange of course.
Accommodation in a wine estate.
The beautiful 17th century Chartreuse property of Château Sigalas Rabaud has been home to the de Lambert des Granges family for six generations. Under the management of Laure de Lambert Compeyrot the property has seen a new lease of life. Gorgeous new guest rooms have been created in the property. The décor is a mix of traditional cosy and eclectic, with a real family feel. Enjoy a cup of ‘Sauternes coffee’ on the sunny terrace or a ‘sweet aperitif’ by the pool near the vines. Idyllic.
Restaurant in a wine estate.
Château Malrome has a special history, it was the family home of famous French painter Henri Toulouse -Lautrec. It has been beautifully restored with the art theme at its heart, including a guest artist exhibition every year. Cuisine is celebrated as art in the two restaurants at the property. Les Abeilles offers a relaxed atmosphere, where guests can enjoy lunch, brunch or cocktail hour. La Table du Château offers a more elegant interpretation of chef Sébastien Piniello skills for intimate château dinners, where art, food and wine come together.
Services and events
The old cloisters of the 13th century Cordeliers are tucked away down a back street of UNESCO heritage site Saint Emilion. It is one of the famous landmarks of Saint Emilion and a destination for Crémant de Bordeaux lovers, thanks to the 9th century underground quarries where the sparkling wine is made.
The entrance to the cellars is at the centre of the newly renovated 14th century church and the surrounding gardens of the former monastery are the perfect venue to sit and sip Crémant de Bordeaux. They also offer a 200 m² reception room, that, despite its medieval origins, has the latest technology available to create unique events. A mobile video studio, including a drone, can create and transmit live events and videos against this unique backdrop make for a perfect souvenir of a special occasion
The Jury’s choice.
A family property since 1847, Domaine Capdevielle is in the heart of the Jurancon, making these unique dry and sweet white wines in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Hand-picked grapes are just one part of the process that respects their unique natural environment. They are certified HVE (Haut valeur environmental), a certification that covers all aspects of sustainability in the field, cellar and across all their activities.
Visitors receive a warm welcome at the elegant winery built around an internal courtyard. The tasting room opens up to a terrace with spectacular views across to the Pyrenees, the perfect place to discover these wines that the Domaine is working hard to produce and promote.
All these worthy winners competed for the title of best of global winner in Mainz, with La Bulle Vert of Château Guiraud taking the final trophy. The unique combination of an independent self-guided tour, sustainability, fresh air and a little exercise to work up a thirst for a tasting of the unique wines of Sauternes is a winning formula.
Cover photo credits : Studio Tonelli / BOWT – CCI