The World’s Best Vineyards Awards, created to honour the finest in modern wine tourism, was meant to be held this year in the lush surrounds of California’s Sonama County wine region. But with 2020 being 2020, the winners this year were revealed online.
Delaire Graff Estate was the sole representative from South Africa on the global list, and the overall winner in the ‘African Continent’ category. Out of 50 vineyards and estates from around the world, the Stellenbosch estate made position 14 on the list – a massive jump from last year’s 39th position.
Judges standout points of Delaire Graff: “Flawless views across the Banghoek Valley; flavour-packed Asian tapas at Indochine restaurant.”
There was one constant in these topsy-turvy times however; South America remains the best destination for a vineyard vacation (once we’re all traveling again). Winner at the inaugural 2019 awards and now again in 2020, Zuccardi Valle de Uco is an Argentinian winery in the heart of the Uco Valley, at the foot of the Andes mountains. A family-run business founded in 1963, it delivers what the Best Vineyard Awards calls “precision-made high-altitude wines” out of a stunning modernist bodega.
Uruguay’s Bodega Garzón, once again in second place, was praised as a leader in sustainability. It offers a top-class program of tastings and events, and its 120-seat restaurant offers Uruguayan cuisine and panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
The awards are based on nominations from a Voting Academy made up of more than 500 wine experts across the globe. To ensure the Academy is representative, the world is divided into 18 geographical regions, with 36 experts in each.
“There is no predetermined checklist or criteria,” said awards founder Andrew Reed as he introduced the live-streamed event. “The experience will take in all sorts of things connected with the visit. The tour, the tasting, the ambiance, the architecture, the wine, the food, the staff, the view… The list goes on.”