If there were an equivalent of a tourism Oscars in Mendoza, the Best Of would be it. Emotions fly and tempers rise as winners are announced for the annual tourism awards where tears of happiness roll and a couple egos get bruised. But it always ends in a fun celebration with plenty of wine in true Mendoza style.
As the eighth wine capital in the global network of 10 Great Wine Capitals, all of the winners of the regional awards will go forward to the international competition in one of the other Great Wine Capitals later in the year.
Drum roll please, here were the winners for 2014:
Architecture and Landscapes:
Bodegas Los Toneles
A stone's throw from the city centre, this winery has been renovated carefully to still show its 1922 architecture but also be used as a modern centre for winemaking and events. A cultural heritage site in Mendoza.
Silver: Bodega Renacer; Bronze: Bodega Atamisque
Best Winery Restaurant:
Bodega Ruca Malén
A well known restaurant on the wine circuit, Ruca's special menu with wine paired dishes was a shoe-in for gold this year. The Lujan de Cuyo restaurant is in the capable hands of chef Lucas Bustos.
Silver: Entre Fuegos, Bodega Lagarde; Bronze: La Vid, Bodega Norton
Art and Culture:
One of the culturally richest wineries to visit, the beautiful boutique hotel of Casa Antucura houses one of the country's most important book collections, a stunning art collection and instruments in most corners.
Silver: Monteviejo Rock
Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices:
Bodega Navarro Correas
In a bid to be more sustainable, Bodega Navarro Correas revamped its environmental policy three years ago to use less resources by better water and energy management and minimise its impact on the environment around it.
Silver: Bodega Alpamanta
Innovative Wine Tourism Experience:
Master of Food and Wine – Park Hyatt Mendoza
As the pioneer of this international food and wine festival, the Park Hyatt puts Mendoza on the map each year by inviting food and wine press to the city and creating events with wineries and restaurants in and outside of Mendoza for a real feast for the senses.
Silver: Bodega Norton; Bronze: Clos de los Siete
An indulgent spa and hotel in the middle of Lujan de Cuyo, Entre Cielos has luxurious rooms, a perfectly relaxing hamam, a small winery and two good restaurants to boot. There's also a special pod in the middle of the vineyards for those who really want a bit of exclusivity.
Silver: Hotel Fuente Mayor; Bronze: Algodon Wine Estates
One of the favourite boutique wineries in Mendoza, Pulenta Estate took home a trophy again this year for its style and commitment to producing great small production wines.
Silver: Tempus Alba; Bronze: Achaval Ferrer
Wine Tourism Services:
Josefina Rosner – Wine Communication
Producing one of the handiest maps in Mendoza, this communications company helps tourists get to wineries in their own transport. It's also handy for new chauffeurs out there!
Silver: Intercontinental Wine Expo; Bronze: MDZ Wine Tours
Amanda Barnes is a British journalist based in Mendoza, who loves Malbec and awards parties for all the drama and canapes.
(Photographed stealing some of the limelight with Pulenta Estate here. Above: The Awards presentation)