Published on 18 Apr 2011 by Alison
The Great Wine Capitals Florence branch announced the 2011 winners of the Best of Wine Tourism in Chianti last week, and DolceVita participated in the event and the subsequent tour of the winning locations. The awards were announced at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence, with representatives from Chianti accommodation and wine producers accepting the awards.
Florence is just one of the Great Wine Capitals group which includes Bordeaux, Bilbao-Rioja, Christchurch-South Island, Cape Town, Mainz-Rheinhessen, Mendoza, Porto and San Francisco-Napa Valley. Florence offers one of the world’s greatest cities of art together with the significant wine producing region of Chianti. The Best of Wine Tourism initiative is for tourism establishments awarded for their services to wine tourism; with criteria such as the quality of the facilities, the originality of the tourism on offer and the level of client service analysed by a jury which selects the winners from a pool of participants.
In the Chianti region, it is impossible to separate the wine from Tuscany tourism and the awards showcased a mix of Tuscan villa and farm stays, with wedding operators, wine producers, museums and restaurants, too. It was a panorama of wine tourism in Tuscany at a quality level. The winners, and their corresponding categories, are after the jump, and we’ll bring you more this week from the winners, including the international winner Villa Vignamaggio and accommodation winner, Borgo Scopeto Relais.
Architecture, parks and gardens, and the international prize
A beautiful Renaissance Villa, listed amongst the Historical Italian buildings, dating back to the 14th century. It is surrounded by an elegant Italian garden and it was the birthplace of Lisa Gherardini, the Monna Lisa painted by Leonardo. The wine production started in 1404 and the old cellar is open for wine tours. The main building hosts rooms and suites with antique furniture. In 1992 it was the setting of the movie Much ado about nothing from the Shakespeare’s tale, directed by Kenneth Branagh.
Borgo Scopeto Relais
A traditional Tuscan estate overlooking Siena. Elegantly restored, it offers a welcoming atmosphere amidst vineyards and olive trees. The rooms are decorated with warm colours and a combination of antique and fashionable furniture blend, and the up-to-date technology ensures ultimate comfort. The restaurant offers the flavours of Tuscan cuisine and the wines produced in the estate. The offer is completed by garden, swimming pools, a SPA and conference facilities.
Wine Tourism Services
Castello di Meleto
Rising on a gentle hill in the Chianti Classico region, this castle dates back to 13th century, and it is now a modern winery that offers a vast range of tourism services: accommodation in decorated rooms in the castle with antique Tuscan brickwork floors, high ceilings and exposed beams, or in cosy apartments in the country houses; a restaurant in the old brickyard; a tiny 18th century theatre, a beautiful garden, a wine bar.The wine tours show the underground antique cellar and the recently opened prisons, where the barrels are kept.
Art and Culture
Centro per la cultura del vino I Lecci
It is a Museum of the Grape and Wine, a conference centre and a wine bar, set just outside Florence. The Museum offers a historical and scientific illustration of the wine making process with the laboratory of the senses, a new experience for adults and children where visitors can smell, feel, touch, see and hear about different aspects of wine and grapes. The conference facilities host big and small events and offer all kinds of equipment. The wine bar offers a wide choice of the regional production and of the Tuscan culinary tradition.
Wine tourism restaurants
Gilda and Maurizio run this restaurant in the centre of Florence whose name means “land of wine”. Quality and tradition characterize their cuisine: the dishes are the result of a balanced search for the best ingredients, such as olive oil, meat, legumes and aromatic herbs. The cellar is constantly updated and offers a great choice of wine producers. The restaurant hosts the premises of the Florence Wine Society, an association of wine and food enthusiasts which organises regular events and tasting.
Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences
Fattoria Torre a Cona
The farm and the magnificent villa lay amongst rolling hills south-west of Florence. The core of the estate dates back to 1066, while the villa was rebuilt in the 18th century with the extensive garden. The new wine shop and the wine tasting area was created from the old granary barn mixing cutting edge technology and recycled materials, combining elegance with functional design. The former seed storage alcoves have been preserved to maintain the unusual structural perspective of the building.
Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices
Villa di Petriolo
Located only 30 km away from Florence, the Petriolo estate is run by the two sisters, Silvia and Simona, who personally welcome the visitors. During the wine tours they show to adults and children how the viticulture is developed in a sustainable way, with natural and modern techniques always caring for the respect of the territory, by choosing the right instrument and practices, in order to preserve the richness of the soil, and to grow the grapes which give the widely appreciated red wines and Vinsanto.
Architecture Parks and Gardens, special mention
Cantine Leonardo da Vinci
Cantine Leonardo da Vinci is located on a hill in the heart of Montalbano, and offers a unique view on this part of Chianti region. Guided wine tours are organised for groups or individuals, who may learn about the territory and the vines, even walking along Leonardo’s vineyard, created from a design of the genius. Visitors can also admire the “Casale di Valle”, an old hunting house with a small chapel decorated with a painting attributed to a student of Michelangelo.
Accommodation, special mention
Villa Le Piazzole, Florence
The service of a luxury hotel combined with the privacy of a private house, about 2.700 metres from Ponte Vecchio in Florence. It is a historical 16th century villa, transformed into a resort with wide and elegant apartments offering comfort and top-level services amongst vineyards and olive-groves. The guest can enjoy a swimming pool, surrounded by a wide Italian-style garden with an old gazebo. Few bottles of wine are produced, in respect of the peculiarities of the vineyards, the grapes and the vintages.