2018’s Drinks Business Awards: profiling the recipients

Best contribution to wine and spirits tourism

Winner

Susana Balbo Wines

The winner of this category was praised for creating a travel experience that is “a tourism of the senses as well as the terroir.”

Since 1999, Argentinian-born Susana Balbo has been dedicated to creating the best expressions Mendoza can offer. She’s better known as the “Evita of wine,” back home, and with a community-driven tourist offering which steeps you in Argentina’s vinicultural history, it’s not hard to see why.

Whether or not you choose to dine in the restaurant at this winery, its tours offer the opportunity to discover the best of Argentina’s typical varietal wines through thematic tastings which enhancing their true potential. Alongside this, support from the local community makes this a truly authentic experience. The winery and wines themselves regularly receive accolades in Argentina and beyond, and our judges said its appeal is “clear and irresistable.” 

Special Commendation

Gusbourne Estate

This year, the judges have recognised a winery close to home for its commitment to showing the world how far English wine has come in recent years. Kentish winemaker Gusbourne has made some serious investments into its tourism arm over the past 12 months, joining forces with six other wineries in the county to create a whole new wine-tasting trail for visitors looking for a unique experience. It is this new tour and the winery’s “beautiful” new facility that made Gusbourne stand out to the judges.

Special Commendation

R&B Distillers

The runner up in the spirits category was commended by our judges for its commitment to reviving far corners of the British Isles, and Scotland in particular. Scotch has witnessed something of a renaissance this year, and no one was quicker to take note than R&B Distillers, who successfully launched the first legal distillery on the Isle of Raasay — a Hebridean island with a population of 160 — in September 2017, complete with tastings, tours and accommodation for whisky-loving visitors. Congratulations R&B, for bringing the Isle of Raasay to life.

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