Verona has crowned its ‘magnificent seven’ in the Best of Wine Tourism competition, companies that have distinguished themselves in various categories linked to the world of wine and that will compete in October in Lausanne, Switzerland, for the Global Best of Wine Tourism Award together with the candidates awarded in the other Great Wine Capitals (Gwc).

Each year, the Gwc international jury chooses an international winner for each of the 12 countries in the network where the great international cities share one of their main economic and cultural aspects: their globally recognised wine regions.

Great Wine Capitals is the only Network that links ‘Old World’ and ‘New World’ wine regions and actually fosters trade, tourism and academic exchanges between the prestigious wine regions of: Adelaide | South Australia, Bilbao | Rioja (Spain), Bordeaux |(France), Capetown |Capewinelands (South Africa), Mainz (Germany), Mendoza (Argentina), Porto(Portugal), San Francisco | Napa Valley (USA), Valparaìso | Casablanca Valley (Chile), Lausanne (Switzerland), Verona representing Italy and, a new entry, Hawke’s Bay in New Zealand.

The evening took place on Wednesday, 7th June 2023 in the hall of the Verona Chamber of Commerce, signatory to the partnership with the Wine Capitals of the World, which for the occasion brought together dozens of international buyers and journalists for a Gala dinner. Also present were many of the companies that took part in the Best of Wine Tourism competition and were included in the Verona Wine and Olive Oil Tourism Guide (103 wineries and 13 olive oil mills) that will be distributed throughout northern Italy in the coming months as a supplement to the “Dove” magazine.

Doing the honours was the President of the Verona Chamber of Commerce, Giuseppe Riello. Also present was  Paolo Arena, member of the Executive Committee of Great Wine Capitals.

President of the Verona Chamber of Commerce, Giuseppe Riello with the anchorwoman of the Gala dinner

A musical surprise by the Fondazione Arena di Verona, which, just a few days after the Premiere in the Arena, brought ‘opera arias’ to everyone present with Maestro Patrizia Quartaat the piano and soprano Monica Conesa. Performed were Ritorna vincitor, from Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida and Vissi d’arte, from Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca.

The international winner selected last year in Mendoza, Argentina, is the Pieropan Winery ‘for having created a winery that combines the most advanced technological structures with fascinating architectural solutions, in harmony with the surrounding nature and respecting the landscape of the Soave hills‘. The prize was collected by Teresita Pieropan, who dedicated this umpteenth award to the memory of her husband, Leonildo Pieropan.

Here the list of Best of Wine Tourism 2023 winners with their motivations and a brief description.

Category Architecture and Landscape
Casa Sartori 1898

“For having masterfully restored a historic villa and park, transforming them into a unique experience combining wine, art, and culture, creating a perfect harmony between human art and the natural beauty of the place”

Villa Maria, the beating heart of Casa Sartori 1898 for over 120 years. A special place surrounded by beauty and nature: from the large park with its centuries-old trees to the Corte Brà vineyard enclosed in the ancient brolo, the first purchased by the founder. Its historic cellars, with their concrete vats and oak barrels, jealously guard precious colours, fragrances and flavours, unique treasures of Valpolicella; entering them means living an exciting experience, which can only end by savouring all our history in the wines. The starting and finishing point of the tour will be the Casa Sartori 1898 Wine Shop, housed in the original porter’s lodge of the Villa’s caretaker, restored with an ecological sensitivity that has earned it Carbon Neutral certification, and which also offers additional services, such as a space dedicated to children and a charging column for electric cars.

Category Art and Culture
Farina Winery

“For having supported the dialogue between art and wine culture by creating exhibitions of works by contemporary artists of international renown, within the winery premises, whose design lends itself perfectly to displaying the works of art selected as part of the ‘Art Ferment’ project”

More than one hundred years of history bind the Farina family to the land, the vineyard and the art of making wine. The advent of the fourth generation, represented today by Claudio and Elena, began in the 2000s. Farina’s revolutionary phase begins, which will lead to an expansion of the structure with welcoming rooms in the old dovecote for tastings and events. In 2019, a further renovation of the accommodation began, with new evocative areas for the wine tourism experiences offered by Farina today. Next to the magical glass “cube” inside the historic courtyard, an ideal location for events, is the ultra-modern Wine Boutique, where the company’s wines can be tasted accompanied by excellent gastronomic products. Important investments have also been made in sustainable technology and oenological research. Alongside steel and wood for vinification and ageing, the choreographic “Tulips”, raw concrete vats and innovative ceramic stoneware containers are Farina’s fascinating new challenge, for mature but fresh wines.

Category Innovative experiences in wine tourism
Giacomo Montresor Winery

“For having realised a museum that offers an immersive experience recounting history, culture, and territory, in a route that involves all the senses, offering visitors the ideal framework for understanding the context in which the great wines of Verona are born”

Wine is an immersive experience to be lived at 360 degrees between storytelling, culture and territory. Our journey begins with the history of our cellars, which are inextricably linked to the city of Verona. In fact, our facility is located just a stone’s throw from the historic centre. At Montresor, you can discover and experience the culture of wine in Valpolicella. An experience that has as its protagonist the world of wine: our choice is to open the doors of the cellar, to let you taste our products, history and territory. Hospitality for us at Montresor has over the years become part of the philosophy that we pursue day after day, with passion and important innovations. Create your own wine experience! Immerse yourself in a sensory journey to get to know the flavours of Valpolicella: you can choose between two wine route proposals with two tasting formulas.

Category Sustainable Practices
Le Carezze Winery

“For its commitment to creating an oasis in nature, taking care of the flora and fauna as well as the vines, combining a passion for wine with protection of the ecosystem”

Le Carezze Cantina Biologica is located in the Veronese plain on an area between two rivers, the Adige and the Fratta, with a total extension of 30 hectares, only 11 of which are cultivated with certified organic methods since the year of planting in 2015. The goal is to restore the biodiversity lost in the last century with the mechanisation of agriculture and the massive use of monoculture. To this end, an important part of the farm’s surface area has been used for planting native tall trees, and in just a few years the countryside has been repopulated with many animal and plant species. At Le Carezze, flower meadows are sown to encourage the pollination of the vines by bees. During visits, tourists can stroll through the vineyards, through a lush forest, and admire the many species of aromatic plants, stimulating their senses with colours and scents. In the vineyard, new grape varieties, including fungus-resistant ones, known as Piwi grapes.

Category Hospitality
Valentina Cubi

“For having created an exclusive ambience within an ancient rural courtyard, inspired by the traditional raw materials of the area that invites you to rediscover the pleasure of life in the open air and the rhythms of a Valpolicella winery”

Ever since the winery was purchased in 1970, there has been a pact to produce quality wines using only grapes grown on-site and a commitment to working with respect for nature. This commitment was realised in 2007 when the conversion to organic farming began. In 2010, part of the company obtained ‘organic’ certification. The desire then matured to introduce other people to the reality of life in Valpolicella, and so, adjacent to the winery, an Agriturismo was opened where people wishing to experience the reality of this fantastic land can be accommodated. Five rooms can accommodate wine tourists who want to spend a few days in a peaceful area surrounded by vineyards. Tastings with food and wine pairings, visits to the vineyards, and special events are organised.

Category Catering
Osteria Domini Veneti

“For having created between Valpolicella and Lake Garda, in an old farmhouse surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, a place where typical dishes and products find the right alchemy with the excellence of the area’s wine production”

Since 1933 the story of Cantina Valpolicella Negrar has been the story of men and women dedicated to the creation of quality wines, a sincere and living expression of a territory: Valpolicella. A smile, an attentive gaze, and the dedication of our winegrowers in a place, which remains in the heart, are the foundations of our Cantina. For years, the winery has been committed to improving reception and offering our guests the best possible experience. The new “Osteria di Campagna” Domìni Veneti in Cavaion Veronese is part of an extended hospitality project between Valpolicella and Lake Garda, which promotes sustainable tourism, to enjoy the slow rhythm of the seasons, the flavours of local dishes at 0 km and excellent glasses of Amarone, Recioto, Valpolicella and Ripasso.

Category Services for wine tourism
Valpolicella Wine Route

“For the promotion of the territory through initiatives to enhance wines, typical products, tourist routes, and all social and cultural economic realities”

The Associazione Strada del Vino Valpolicella (Valpolicella Wine Road Association) deals with the promotion of the territory through the appreciation of the artistic, cultural, and enogastronomic heritage of Valpolicella. The association’s activity covers the territory associated with the production of Valpolicella wine, which extends over 19 municipalities, starting from the municipality of Dolcè and Pescantina, and ending in the municipality of Montecchia di Crosara. Our activity, therefore, covers the entire Valpolicella denomination, an area renowned for the production of fine wines such as Amarone, Recioto, Valpolicella, and Valpolicella Ripasso. One of the objectives of the Valpolicella Wine Route is to make its members known through various promotional initiatives. Through the establishment of information points, the management of the official Valpolicella tourist portal and the organisation of events, it is also possible to achieve another of the association’s main aims: to promote the numerous cultural, artistic, naturalistic, and food and wine resources.

In 2024, the city of Verona will host the Great Wine Capitals Annual Conference.