The Best Vineyards on Earth Have Just Been Announced
Calling all oenophiles! We have an idea where you'll be taking your next wine-centered vacation. And, surprisingly, it probably won't be Europe or Napa.
Earlier this week on July 8, hundreds of expert sommeliers, luxury travel correspondents and wine aficionados from around the world gathered to announce the 50 best vineyards of 2019 during the first-ever World’s Best Vineyards Awards. In addition to the quality of the wines, the vineyards were rated on the complete experience, including restaurants, tours, views, accessibility and more.
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Vineyards in famous wine regions, like Bordeaux and Tuscany, certainly made the cut, but they were hardly the top performers. In fact, winners are from all over the globe, but South American vineyards made a particularly impressive showing. Zuccardi Valle de Uco, in Argentina, took the No. 1 spot, followed by Uruguay's Bodega Garzón. But Chilean vineyards really dominated, snagging eight of the 50 slots. Of the top 10 vineyards, half are South American.
Zuccardi Valle de Uco, which has the privilege of calling itself the best vineyard in both South America and the world this year, can be found in the shadows of the Andes Mountains. Travelers can drop by the visitors center or reserve a winery tour and tasting during one of three time slots offered throughout the day.
A vineyard in the wine region of Rioja in Spain was the third-best in the world and the top vineyard in Europe. López de Heredia's notable wines include long-aged white and red Rioja, but the Academy noted that the 19th-century Old World feel is what really makes the winery stand out.
Rounding out the top 10, Rippon in New Zealand is being hailed as the best vineyard in the region, and No. 8 in the world for superior pinot noir, riesling and gewürztraminer wines. The vineyard is one of the oldest in the Central Otago wine region, and visitors can view the South Island’s snowcapped southern Alps while nibbling on a charcuterie platter and sipping wine.
No vineyards in the US made the top 10, but Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa, California is said to be the best on the continent, thanks to its cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc wines. The vineyard was also one of the first to offer tours and culinary experiences. The winery offers an Art in the Afternoon walking tour, a Four Decades Dinner and summer and holiday festivities.
On the other hand, a vineyard in Bordeaux with a Michelin 2-star restaurant ranked No. 16 on the list while Veuve Clicquot — the notable French Champagne — crept up to just No. 38 for its traditional yet iconic sparkling wine. An Italian vineyard in Chianti, Antinori nel Chianti Classico, claimed the No. 18 spot.
For travelers interested in an around-the-world wine tour, the Vergelegen Estate in South Africa was deemed the best vineyard in Africa, specifically for its Bordeaux blends, while Château Heritage in Lebanon snuck onto the list at No. 49 and is this year's best vineyard in Asia.
So, what vineyard narrowly made the cut? At No. 50, it's Mission Hill Family Estate, which can be found in the Okanagan Valley of Canada.