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The World’s Best Vineyards 2023 competition crowns the DOCa Rioja as the leading exponent of national wine tourism and a clear international benchmark as the Spanish appellation with the greatest presence in the prestigious ranking of the World’s Best Vineyards and Wineries.
Specifically, four Rioja wineries are included this year in the list of the 100 Best in the World, two of them in the Top 50: Herederos del Marqués de Riscal was once again the only Spanish winery to climb the podium of the Top 3, remaining in second place behind Argentina’s Catena Zapata. In addition, the Rioja winery won the special recognition of “Best Vineyard in Europe”, awarded by the jury for its “impressive futuristic architecture and extraordinary setting”.
Bodegas Muga manages to gain a foothold for the first time in the ranking, bursting with force and occupying the 49th position, within the Top 50. In addition, the representation of the Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin is completed with the presence of Ysios -also a new entry in the list- in 71st place and Bodegas Vivanco, in 76th place, thus recognizing the potential and diversity of all the winemaking projects in La Rioja as some of the most impressive and unique in the world.
As every year, the list highlights those wineries that offer unparalleled experiences for visitors and that house some of the wonders of modern architecture, ancestral and family wineries or Michelin-starred restaurants, among other proposals.
The jury that prepares the ranking is composed of more than 500 world personalities from the wine industry, sommeliers and expert travelers, who contribute their nominations based on different criteria such as landscape, quality of the experience, gastronomy, activities offered, quality of service, etc. Based on their evaluations, the results are compiled to create the final list.
“We are very proud of the results harvested by La Rioja; in addition to congratulating the wineries recognized in the ranking, it is time to highlight the enormous wealth of the Wine Region in terms of wine tourism, a merit of all the wineries and winegrowers who every day make it even greater: our centuries of history and a melting pot of contrasts that are difficult to compare have led La Rioja to consolidate itself as one of the best wine destinations in the world,” says Fernando Ezquerro, president of the DOCa Rioja Control Board.
“We are delighted to show the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to the Wine Region year after year our uniqueness, diversity and hospitality so that they can understand first-hand why Rioja is Spain’s Finest,” concluded Ezquerro.
La Rioja, at the forefront of wine tourism
Rioja is the leading wine tourism appellation in Spain in terms of the number of visits and wineries that can be visited: with 748,345 visitors last year alone, 62.64 percent more than in 2021, the estimated economic impact on the region exceeded 155.5 million euros.
Bodegas Beronia was responsible for hosting the ceremony where the Top 50 Best Vineyards and Wineries of the World was announced, a luxurious setting that perfectly complemented the intense program of activities and visits over four days, designed to showcase the diversity of the Wine Region and delight the international delegation, made up of more than a hundred people including judges, journalists and organizers. Bodega Rioja Vega, Bodegas Franco Españolas, Eguren Ugarte, Marqués de Riscal, Finca la Emperatriz, Ysios, as well as the Vivanco Museum and the Barrio de la Estación in Haro, visiting Bodegas Bilbaínas, C.V.N.E., Muga, Gómez Cruzado, La Rioja Alta S.A. and Roda, are some of the destinations and proposals that the committee was able to see.
Ad hoc gastronomic and recreational experiences, unique activities, exceptional tastings and pairings and cultural immersions to immerse oneself in Rioja: the events included in the itinerary dazzled a jury that was enthusiastic and “fascinated by the richness of this great little appellation”.
The celebration of the event highlights the commitment of the DOCa Rioja Control Board to promote wine tourism, working to continue positioning the Wine Region among the best wine tourism destinations in the world, having included as a goal in its strategic plan to exceed 1.2 million visitors by 2025.
The events and visits were attended by authorities from the three autonomous governments where the Designation extends, including Gonzalo Capellán, President of the Government of La Rioja, Noemí Manzanos, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural World and Environment of the Government of La Rioja, Arantxa Tapia and Bittor Oroz, Minister of Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment and Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Policy of the Basque Country, respectively, Fernando Santafé, Director General of Rural Development of the Government of Navarra, and Raúl Pérez Iratxeta, Director of Quality and Food Industries of the Government of Navarra, among other representatives.
The achievement of the event has meant an investment of more than half a million euros in which the three Autonomous Communities have collaborated, of which a significant amount has reverted directly to the territory of the Designation itself, thus boosting the sector and businesses in the region.
Andrew Reed, general director of the World’s Best Vineyards competition, explained: “We have realized that national and international tourists are looking for experiences that encompass a multitude of activities, and Rioja, as the host appellation, more than meets this demand, with its stunning landscapes, delicious gastronomy and, of course, extraordinary wines”.
TOP TEN WORLD’S BEST VINEYARDS 2023
1. Catena Zapata – Argentina (Best Vineyard in South America)
2. Bodegas de los Herederos del Marqués de Riscal – Spain (Best Vineyard in Europe)
3. VIK – Chile
4. Creation – Sudáfrica (Best Vineyard in Africa)
5. Château Smith Haut Lafitte – France
6. Bodega Garzón – Uruguay
7. Montes – Chile
8. Domäne Schloss Johannisberg – Germany
9. Bodegas Salentein – Argentina
10. El Enemigo Wines – Argentina