Great wine capitals
Bordeaux is a member of the Great Wine Capitals Network, a collection of nine global cities who are known for their wine and natural beauty. These are Bilbao-Rioja, Bordeaux, Cape Town, Florence, Mainz (Rhine Valley), Mendoza, Christchurch, Oporto and San Francisco-Napa
Wine estates and wine-related business from each city compete once a year for Best of Wine Tourism awards.
National 'best of winners' Bordeaux 2010
Wine Tourism Services: Château Pape Clément - Bordeaux (Also International Prize)
One of the best known châteaux of the Pessac-Leognan appellation, owner Bernard Magrez has invested heavily not only in the winemaking, but also in restoring the château and winery. The Orangerie, the Barrel Cellar, and the Pavillon du Prelat offer spaces for the staging of both personal and professional events, with a team fully on hand to organise everything from catering to logistics. Luxury wine tastings are also on offer, as are tours around Magrez’s other Bordeaux vineyards.
Château de Sales (Architecture, parks and gardens)
One of the largest estates in Pomerol, the de Lambert family have been making wine here since the 15th century. The graceful château dates back to the late 16th century, and covers 47 hectares, all farmed by sustainable agriculture. One of the few classically proportioned chateaux in Pomerol, de Sales has a long sweeping driveway lined by plane trees, and the large gardens that surround the chateau include the unusual feature of numerous bamboo plants. The orangerie is today a large and airy tasting room.
Château d’Arsac (Art & Culture)
A Medoc château that manages to continually innovate, evidenced by the photography collections in the winery, and a permanent display of fun and thought-provoking works by international artists in the sculpture garden. The château building itself is a clever combination of classic lines that date back to the 12th century and startling modern touches, from the transparent roof to the immense Diagonale d'Arsac, all conceived by owner Philippe Rauox, Bordelais architect Patrick Hernandez and sculptor Bernar Venet.
Château de Môle (Accommodation)
Just five minutes outside of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saint Emilion, this combines old-world elegance with modern amenities such as air conditioning in all rooms and spa/sauna facilities for guests. Five individually decorated rooms combine wooden floors, exposed stone and wonderfully comfortable furnishings, all with views over the surrounding vineyards. Tastings of their Pussuiguin St Emilion wine, and cellar visits, can be happily arranged.
La Winery (Discovery and Innovation)
The second award given to a Philippe Raoux venture, and well deserved for his innovative combination of architecture, art and wine ; this time in the creation of a 1,000m² wine boutique and cultural centre. This unusual space, one of the largest of its type in Europe, is designed to engage visitors with understanding their own personal preferences in wine. The setting is highly contemporary, unusual in the Medoc, and contains a gourmet restaurant, a tapas bar and space for theatre, music and other cultural events.
Domaine de Cantemerle (Environmental Sustainable Practises)
This family-run estate, located in St Gervais en Gironde, close to the Dordogne river in the Bordeaux Superieur appellation, has become increasingly renowned for its meticulous approach to environmentally-consious wine-making. Fully certified in Sustainable Agriculture since 2005, the family has shown exemplary leadership in fully traceable bottlings, combined with minimal use of vineyard treaments, on-site recycling and energy conversation – all carefully explained to visitors in the context of the benefit it brings to their wines.
National Gold Winners, 2009
Sustainable Wine Tourism: Chateau Cablanc
This gorgeous place is run by Jean Daniel Debart, and is only ten minutes from Saint Emilion but is located in a tiny hidden-away valley, and has introduced a nature trail through the vines and the valley (I did it with my sister and family this year, and it's excellent).
Runner Up: Chateau Mercier
Discovery & Innovation: Chateau d’Agassac
One of the oldest estates in the Medoc, dating back to the 13th century, but with one of the most innovative approaches to wine tourism. The informative tour has separate circuits for adults and children, and gives each visitor an iPod to guide them around the property. Wine-making is explained through a search for princesses and fairytales!
Runner Up: week & break
Accommodation: Chateau Carbonneau
Owned by an English women, this property offers luxury accommodation in individually- decorated rooms, and can organise wine discovery programmes for visitors.
Runners Up: GFA La Croix de Roche, SCEA Château Pedesclaux, Château du Petit Puch
Architecture, Parks & Gardens: Chateau Franc Mayne
Within walking distance of Saint Emilion centre, this Grand Cru Classé property is set in striking, perfectly proportioned grounds. Both the exterior and interior of this chateau has been architecturally-designed.
Runners Up: Chateau La Tour de By, Chateau Lanessan, Chateau Rauzan Gassies, Chateau Haut Sarpe, SAS Château Fonplegade
Business Tourism: Chateau Haut Bailly
This beautiful Pessac Leognan property, with large entertaining and work space for conferences or meetings, is owned by financier Robert Wilmers and run by Veronique Sanders. 2008 has seen the launch of a successful partnership with Mollat books and the opening of a boutique selling a range of titles on wine, food and art de vivre – giving even further prestige to a business event held here.
Runners Up : Château du Taillan, Millesima, Chateau Pape Clement
Discovery & Innovation, Special Jury Prize: Chateau La Rose Bellevue
Château La Rose Bellevue in Cotes de Bordeaux: Blaye is run by Valerie and Jerome Eymas, who are both lovely and genuine people. They have recently opened the Secret Garden offering food and wine matching and picnics to tourists in the grounds of their property. They also organised last summer a tasting-on-a-boat on the river in Blaye town, inspired by Valerie's experinces in Australia.