Buitenverwachting vineyard in the Constantia wine route. (Photo: Supplied)
There's more to a wine tasting than just the actual wine.
The ambience, the food, the magical views - a vineyard experience has many elements to make visitors feel special, and want to come again and again.
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But who offers the best? A group of over 500 leading wine experts, sommeliers and luxury travel writers created the first-ever World's Best Vineyards Awards, listing the top 50 in the world chosen out of 1 500 nominees.
The number one spot was claimed by Zuccardi Valle de Uco in Argentina, famous not only for its terroir-driven wines but for the architectural marvel nestled among the grapes. With views of the Andes mountains, the bodega was designed by architects Tom Hughes, Fernando Raganato and Eugenia Mora.
South America dominated further, with Uruguay's Bodega Garzón falling in second place for its open-fire dining and sustainable practices, while third place went to the 19th-century Spanish wine farm R López de Heredia Viña Tondonia with its traditional winemaking practices.
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And how did South Africa fare?
Despite our expansive wine region, only three made it into the top 50.
Vergelegen Estate came in at 34th place for its 300-year legacy and heritage and was also named the best in Africa.
READ: Vergelegen: Taking back its eco heritage
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Five spots lower was Stellenbosch's Delaire Graff Estate, lauded for its Table Mountain views, pan-Asian cuisine and ultimate luxury lodges.
Closer to the coast in the Walker Bay region, Creation Wines just made it onto the list at number 45 for their seven wine-and-food pairing menus and their 'outstanding' Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines.
READ: Wine worth travelling for: A Creation Wines harvest story
But we all know more should have made it onto the list...
Check out the rest of the top 10 below:
4. Quinta do Crasto, Portugal
Standout points: Pritzker Prize-winning infinity pool; majestic UNESCO-recognised Douro Valley location.
5. Bodega Catena Zapata, Argentina
Standout points: Pioneers of Argentine Malbec; owner of the Adrianna vineyard – ‘South America’s grand cru’.
QUICK GUIDE TO ARGENTINA: Visa-free travel for South Africans
6. Montes, Chile (Tied)
Standout points: Francis Mallmann’s Fuego de Apalta restaurant; the Feng Shui-ed Montes winery.
6. Clos Apalta Winery, Chile (Tied)
Standout points: Spectacular winery and one of the world’s most iconic red wines.
8. Rippon, New Zealand
Standout points: Jaw-droppingly beautiful views from the shore of Lake Wanaka; stunningly sleek biodynamic wines.
READ: From Maori Hangi to wine tasting in Marlborough: Your food & wine guide to New Zealand
9. Marqués de Riscal, Spain
Standout points: The City of Wine, including the Frank Gehry masterpiece Marqués de Riscal hotel.
10. Weingut Dr Loosen, Germany
Standout points: The ancient Mosel river, some of the world’s steepest vineyard slopes – and best Rieslings.
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