Seven winners of the 2013 Best of Wine Tourism awards for the San Francisco and Napa Valley region were announced in downtown Napa on Thursday afternoon.
Each year, a panel of hospitality industry figures in each of the nine Great Wine Capitals worldwide picks innovative local wine-related businesses that best showcase the region's tourism strengths and best practices. Regional winners will compete for category titles at the annual capitals network meeting, to be held in Florence, Italy, in early November.
The Carneros Inn on Sonoma Highway southwest of Napa won the accommodation category for its "elegant design, excellence in spa and commitment to hospitality." The countryside locale and modern interiors capture the region’s distinct charm.
Merit awards-winners were Auberge Resorts' Calistoga Ranch and Napa River Inn at Napa Mill in downtown Napa.
Press Club in San Francisco, supported by a number of North Coast produce farms and wineries, won the wine tourism restaurant category. It was noted for serving California fine wines and beers -- Lagunitas Brewing Co. of Petaluma the sole North Coast producer on the latter list -- "in a sophisticated, social atmosphere."
Merit award-winners were Carpe Diem Wine Bar in Napa and Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena.
Winner for architecture and landscape was Hunneus Vintners' Quintessa winery near St. Helena. Built in 1990 and combining state-of-the-art equipment and Biodynamic farming practices, the 22-year-old winery was noted as "one of the great red wine estates of the world using a traditional winemaking process."
Winner of an award for merit in this category was the Jarvis winery east of St. Helena.
The art, design and collective wine-tasting gallery in a circa 1904 stone building with an adjoining sculpture garden, "offering guests a differentiated lifestyle experience in wine country," garnered Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley winery in Yountville the art and culture category award.
The innovative wine tourism experiences category award went to 650-acre Long Meadow Ranch Winery atop the Mayacamas Mountains. Attractions beyond wine are a traditional olive oil mill, grass-fed beef, eggs and heirloom fruits and vegetables.
Merit award-winners were Boisset Family Estates' Raymond Vineyards near St. Helena and The Winery on San Francisco's Treasure Island.
Napa Valley Welcome Center, where the awards were presented, won the wine tourism services category. The 2,400-square-foot center opened in April 2011 "offers a mix of high-tech and traditional services to provide visitors the best and most informative welcome to the Napa Valley."
Merit award-winner was di Rosa Preserve across from Domaine Carneros on Sonoma Highway southeast of Napa.
Jarvis winery won the sustainable wine tourism practices category for its 45,000-square-foot cave-based winery not needing heating and cooling and its vineyards being certified by the California Land Stewardship Institute.
Merit award-winner for the category was Constant winery at Diamond Mountain Vineyard south of Calistoga.***
Custom microvintner Crushpad, now called The Wine Foundry (thewinefoundry.com) after the early August debt acquisition organized by Tiburon-based CastleGate Capital, relocated from Sebastiani Winery in Sonoma to the Eighth Street East cluster of vintners just south of the same city. With 5,000 square feet of production space and 4,000 square feet of barrel storage, it's about the same size as the Sebastiani facility, according to Steve Ryan, vice president of sales and operations for Crushpad and now The Wine Foundry.
The business is now offering adoption of 2011 vintage projects in barrel at a 30 percent discount. Those were barrels of excess wine Crushpad hadn't sold, Mr. Ryan said.