The international contest has crowned this wine region as the greatest exponent of national wine tourism as it is the most widely represented Spanish Designation of Origin in the prestigious list of the World’s Best Vineyards and Wineries. Four Rioja wineries, among the world’s 100 best, and two of them in the TOP 50. Bodegas de los Herederos del Marqués de Riscal maintains second position in the ranking, also awarded with the special recognition of “Best Vineyard in Europe”.
The World’s Best Vineyards 2023 contest has crowned DOCa Rioja as the greatest exponent of national wine tourism and a clear international leader, as it is the Spanish Designation of Origin with the most presence in the prestigious ranking that lists the World’s Best Vineyards and Wineries.
Specifically, four Rioja wineries make up the list of the World’s 100 Best this year, two of them in the TOP 50: Herederos del Marqués de Riscal once again was the only Spanish winery to make the TOP 3 podium, maintaining the second place, after the Argentine Catena Zapata. The Rioja winery also received the special recognition of “Best Vineyard in Europe”, awarded by the jury for its “impressive futuristic architecture and its extraordinary surroundings”.
Bodegas Muga managed to enter the ranking for the first time, bursting in strongly to occupy 49th position in the TOP 50. Furthermore, the representation of the Rioja Qualified Denomination of Origin is completed with the presence of Ysios -also a new entry in the ranking- in 71st position and Bodegas Vivanco, in 76th, thus recognising the potential and diversity of Rioja’s oenological projects as some of the most impressive and unique in the world.
Like every year, the list features wineries that offer unparalleled experiences for visitors and are home to some of the wonders of modern architecture, ancestral and family-owned wineries, Michelin-starred restaurants, and more.
The jury responsible for the ranking includes more than 500 international figures from the wine industry, sommeliers, and expert travellers, who submit their nominations based on a range of criteria such as the landscape, the quality of the experience, the gastronomy, the activities available, the quality of the service, etc. Based on their evaluations, the results are compiled to create the final list.
“We are very proud of the results achieved by Rioja; apart from congratulating the wineries recognised in the ranking, it is time to value the exceptional richness of the Designation in terms of wine tourism, a merit of all the wineries and winegrowers who make this even greater every day: our centuries of history and a melting pot of contrasts not readily comparable have established Rioja as one of the best wine destinations in the world”, stated Fernando Ezquerro, chairman of the Regulatory Board of the DOCa Rioja. “We are delighted to show the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to the Designation year after year our uniqueness, diversity and hospitality so that they can see first-hand why Rioja is Spain’s Finest”, concluded Ezquerro.
Rioja is the leading Designation of Origin in national wine tourism in number of visits and visitable wineries: with 748,345 visitors last year alone, 62.64% more than in 2021, the estimated economic impact on the region exceeded 155.5 million euros.
An exceptional programme for the international delegation
Bodegas Beronia was in charge of hosting the ceremony where the World’s Best Vineyards and Wineries Top 50 were announced; a luxurious setting that perfectly complemented the busy programme of activities and visits held over four days, designed to give a good example of the Designation's diversity and delight the international delegation, made up of more than a hundred people including a jury, journalists and organisation. 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 de 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 get to know.
Ad hoc gastronomic and leisure experiences, unique activities, exceptional tastings and pairings, and cultural immersions with which to immerse yourself in Rioja: the events included in the itinerary dazzled a jury that has shown itself dedicated and “fascinated by the richness of this great little Designation”.
The holding of the contest shows the commitment of the DOCa Rioja Regulatory Board to promote wine tourism, working to continue the positioning of the Designation among the best wine tourism destinations in the world, having included as an objective in its strategic plan to exceed 1.2 million visitors in 2025.
Authorities from the three Regional Governments through which the Designation traverses participated in the events and visits, including Gonzalo Capellán, President of the Government of La Rioja, Noemí Manzanos, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural World and the Environment of the Government of La Rioja, Arantxa Tapia and Bittor Oroz, Minister of Economic Development, Sustainability and the 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 holding of the event represented an investment of more than half a million euros in which the three Regions collaborated. A significant amount of this has ended up directly in the Designation’s own territory, thus boosting the sector and businesses in the region.
Andrew Reed, managing director of the World’s Best Vineyards contest, explained: “We have realised that national and international tourists seek experiences that cover a multitude of activities, and Rioja, as the host Designation, more than meets this demand, with its impressive landscapes, delicious gastronomy and, of course, extraordinary wines”.
Top Ten World’s Best Vineyards 2023
- Catena Zapata - Argentina (Best Vineyard in South America)
- Bodegas de los Herederos del Marqués de Riscal - España (Best Vineyard in Europe)
- VIK - Chile
- Creation – Sudáfrica (Best Vineyard in Africa)
- Château Smith Haut Lafitte - France
- Bodega Garzón - Uruguay
- Montes - Chile
- Domäne Schloss Johannisberg - Germany
- Bodegas Salentein - Argentina
- El Enemigo Wines – Argentina