The world’s 50 best vineyards

Lifestyle

The wineries that should be going on your bucket list, from Spain, to New Zealand and Uruguay. 
Issue six of Forbes Australia is out now. Tap here to secure your copy and become a premium member.
Courtesy of D’Arenberg, Australia

Catena Zapata in Mendoza was voted number one in the World’s Best Vineyards Awards for 2023 in a ceremony in Spain’s Rioja wine region. Founded in 1902, the oldest Argentine family winery, is known for its pioneering role in reinventing Malbec. Catena Zapata also won overall South American vineyard and this year, the vineyard opened their first restaurant, Angélica Cocina Maestra, located right in La Pirámide vineyard.

The prestigious annual best vineyards list recognizes the best of wine tourism across the globe, with a focus on the best travel experiences for wine lovers and not simply the quality of the wines. Wine tastings, food and unique accommodation are all important to wine tourists and this list provides an excellent guide. 

Hotel Marques de Riscal

The stunning Marqués de Riscal in Rioja came in second and took the spot for top vineyard in Europe. Founded in 1858, this is where the first ever Rioja wines were bottled, with the first vintage in 1862. It is also where the trend for covering bottles of Rioja in golden mesh began, the wines having become so popular by the early twentieth century that they required a form of seal to ensure their authenticity.

Today the vineyard is also known for its futuristic Frank Gehry designed hotel. The 61 luxurious rooms, of which ten are suites, distributed in two buildings linked by a spectacular cantilevered walkway, are all different and unique. 

Of the other top ten, Chilean vineyard, VIK jumped one place to third. Vik also has a Frank Gehry designed hotel on site, VIK Chile, located on top of the hill, in the middle of the valley, with views of the Andes Mountains. Creation in South Africa, which took fourth place and was named overall African winner, has a gorgeous holiday cottage made of eucalyptus timber with views over the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and occasional leopard sightings.

VIK Winery, Chile

Number five was France’s Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Bodega Garzón (Uruguay) was six, Montes (Chile) seven, Schloss Johannisberg (Germany) eight, Bodegas Salentein (Argentina) nine and 10 was El Enemigo Wines (Argentina).

The other top vineyards for 2023

11. Rippon (New Zealand) 

12. Weingut Dr. Loosen (Germany) 

13. Finca Victoria – Durigutti Family Winemakers (Argentina) 

14. Domäne Wachau (Austria) 

15. Quinta do Crasto (Portugal) 

16. Quinta do Noval (Portugal) 

17. d’Arenberg (Australia) 

18. Château d’Yquem (France) 

19. Château Pape Clément (France) 

20. Jordan Vineyard & Winery (USA) 

21. González Byass – Bodegas Tio Pepe (Spain) 

22. Maison Ruinart (France) 

23. Champagne Bollinger (France) 

24. Bodega Colomé (Argentina) 

25. Viñedos de Alcohuaz (Chile) 

26. Henschke (Australia) 

27. Abadía Retuerta (Spain) 

28. Brooks Win (USA) 

29. Ceretto (Italy) 

30. Bodega Bouza (Uruguay) 

31. Champagne Billecart-Salmon  (France) 

32. Klein Constantia Winery (South Africa) 

33. Château Pichon Baron (France) 

34. Château de Beaucastel (France) 

35. Szepsy Winery (Hungary) 

36. Delaire Graff Estate (South Africa) 

37. Viña Casas del Bosque (Chile) 

38. Château Mercian Mariko Winery (Japan) 

39. Clos Apalta (Chile) 

40. Graham’s Port Lodge (Portugal) 

41. Château Kefraya (Lebanon) 

42. Quinta do Seixo (Sandeman)(Portugal) 

43. Viu Manent (Chile) 

44. Penfolds Magill Estate (Australia) 

45. Disznoko (Hungary) 

46. Veuve Cliquot (France) 

47. Chateau Mukhrani (Georgia) 

48. Bodega Diamandes (Argentina) 

49. Bodegas Muga (Spain) 

50. Vina Errazuriz (Argentina) 

The cabernet sauvignon grapes vineyard of the Catena Zapata winery in Lujan de Cuyo, province of Mendoza, Argentina on July 14, 2011. Argentina’s wine route, covering around 2000 km across several provinces though mainly Mendoza and San Juan, is one of the main touristic attractions in Argentina — the world’s fifth producer and eighth exporter of wine. AFP PHOTO/ALEJANDRO PAGNI (ALEJANDRO PAGNI/AFP via Getty Images)

The Top 50 list is compiled from all the nominations by a global academy of wine experts.

The world is split into geographical regions, and each is headed up by an acknowledged expert as the Academy Chair. Each Academy Chair is responsible for recruiting 36 wine and travel experts. Each member of the Voting Academy must vote for seven vineyards.

There is no pre-determined checklist of criteria or predefined list to choose from. Each vote is a nomination for a vineyard experience open to the public that the judges deem the best in the world.

This year, Antinori nel Chianti Classico (Marchesi Antinori), Best Vineyard in the World 2022, has entered the World’s Best Vineyards Hall of Fame, which is reserved for vineyards that have topped the winning list. Catena Zapata will join the Hall of Fame next year.

Issue 6 of Forbes Australia is available at newsagents now. To access all articles become a member here.

More from Forbes Australia