Since the Great Wine Capitals formed an alliance in 1999, it has overseen and strengthened the rapid development of wine tourism in eight world class wine capitals at a time when the interest in wine tourism globally has never been stronger.
The member cities are: Bilbao-Rioja (Spain), Bordeaux (France), Cape Town | Cape Winelands (South Africa), Mainz | Rheinhessen (Germany), Mendoza (Argentina), Porto (Portugal), San Francisco | Napa Valley (USA) and Valparaìso | Casablanca Valley (Chile).
Between the ten cities, they receive over 20 million visitors per year, and have an increasing number of innovative wine tourism projects, from winery restaurants to hands-on visitor experiences, to tailored food-and-wine matching tasting experiences.
The Great Wine Capitals media service will keep journalists up to date with the most recent projects, and the award-winning wineries, to share with readers. The highly successful annual ‘Best Of Wine Tourism’ awards reward success across seven categories including Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences, Accommodation, Wine Tourism Restaurants, Art and Culture, Architecture & Landscapes, Wine Tourism Services and Sustainable Wine Tourism Practises.
The national winners go on to compete for the prestigious international prizes. In 2015 the Best Of Wine Tourism Award celebrated its twelfth anniversary, with over 500 properties from four continents competing for the titles.
The Network also exists as a business entity – and there are many stories to be developed surroundings its education programmes (where the cities exchange information and advancements in, for example, wine making techniques) and the support that each city offers to those wanting to engage in business (offering temporary office facilities and translation services, among other things).