Oct 04: The World’s Best Vineyards list that debuted in 2019 with Top 50 Vineyards and expanded further with 51-100 spots in 2021 because of the popularity, was released a couple of weeks ago with Argentina’s Zuccardi Valle de Uco in Mendoza topping the List, making it a hat trick being No. 1 in the list, while KRSMA from India slipped from 46th spot in 2020 to 90th spot in the current list that recognised Top 100 Vineyards and awarded 6 as the best in each continent, writes Subhash Arora
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, rules were relaxed to some extent and the results were delayed from mid- July to mid- September. It was also a hybrid event combining a real-life ceremony and digital live film to showcase the world’s best and most unique vineyards by the owners of the property, London-based William Reed Business Media. The Award Ceremony took place on 20 September at Schloss Johannisberg, Rheingau, Germany
Argentina’s Zuccardi Valle de Uco topped the list even in the Individual Awards Category as the Best Winery in South America. The winery scored a hat-trick in topping the list for 3 years in a row. The mesmerizing Rioja winery Bodegas de los Herederos del Marques de Riscal took second place. Chateau Margaux in Bordeaux, France was at the 3rd spot.
Karnataka-based KRSMA Estate had to be content to be in the B-List with 90th spot; it was the first and the only winery to have made it to the Top 50 List in 2020 with 46th spot. The 2021 Top 50 vineyards represent 16 countries and include first-time entrants to the list from Lebanon and Russia.
The World’s Best Vineyards list aims to highlight the sheer diversity across both the established and emerging wine tourism destinations. The list is voted by a group of 600 wine and travel experts globally. This year saw 10 new destinations in the Top 50 with Karam Wines in Lebanon becoming the top new entry at number 14 spot. Two new Russian entries grabbed spot number 20 and 23.
Highlighting the importance of wine tourism in wine marketing, especially during the Covid time, Andrew Reed, Managing Director Wine and Exhibitions at William Reed, said in his opening speech, "Wine tourism is hugely important to the global economy and local economies, creating jobs directly at the wineries and also encouraging visitors to the area and the associated revenue it generates. This is more important than ever with the recent global situation. We know that by shining the light on wine tourism as we do with the World’s Best Vineyards, the message gets out to more people to come and discover the uniqueness of wine and where it is made."
The World’s Best Vineyards is an annual listing that highlights the very best winery destinations in the world. The list is created after the nominations of nearly 600 wine, travel and wine tourism experts from across the globe are counted and collated. The list, now in its third year, provides an insight into the best all-round winery experiences. There are no predetermined criteria, apart from the winery being open to the general public, but there are voting rules that must be adhered to. Voters are asked to nominate the overall experiences they deem to be the best in the world and would highly recommend to a friend.
Although one need not comment on the results except congratulate the winners, one nagging thought always comes to mind- how come Sula Vineyards has not been in the list from India. Although many of the smaller wineries in India-like Grover, Some Vineyards and Vallonne have started promoting wine tourism in India but Sula has been miles ahead of everyone else and perhaps, many of the winners internationally.
Unfortunately, a majority of the 600 judges might have never visited the vineyard. With 350,000-400,000 wine tourists visiting the vineyards and winery every year, it claims that a record number of visitors tasted their first glass of wine in Tasting Rooms with a beautiful view of the vineyards and surroundings.
The annual SulaFest, attracts over 15,000 people in 2 days drinking wine, eating multi-choice foods and listening continuously to some of the best musicians from the world, with excellent staying facilities that include tree houses, visits to the winery and walking and cycling through the vineyards. Presumably, it is the best wine tourism operation but unless the world (at least the 600 judges) visit, it may never be included in the list of Best Vineyards in the World. However, the ever-increasing number of tourists enjoying the wine tourism and being converted into drinking wine is a soul satisfying experience for Rajeev Samant, Founder CEO who appreciated the contribution it has made to Sula becoming a million-case company- selling more than the next 9 wineries.
One wishes that their website had a short 2- minute video presentation of each of the 100 wineries. By the click of the mouse, one could then visit the vineyards and the winery virtually. It may not be a necessity for the judges but if the idea is truly to promote wine tourism and not merely keep it a successful business property, it would attract wine lovers in hordes to ‘enjoy’ the award winning vineyards-connoisseurs and novices alike.
Also Read- 50 World's Best Vineyards 2020: KRSMA makes the Cut at No. 46
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