Rhône Valley named world's best region

The Rhône Valley region of France
Not that it needed another accolade to burnish its centuries-old reputation, but the Rhône Valley of southeastern France has been named "2010 Wine Region of the Year," part of the annual Wine Star Awards.

According to the editors of The Wine Enthusiast Magazine, who made the selection, the Rhône Valley’s excellent vintages and quality work made it the first French region to be so honored in the history of the awards.

"When we considered its recent string of top vintages and growing environmental stewardship, it emerged as a clear favorite choice ... ," said Joe Czerwinski, the magazine's senior editor and tasting director.

The valley, located along the Rhône River between Lyon and Avignon, is known for crafting one of the world’s most diverse collection. It has more than 6,000 vineyards and produces about 400 million bottles of wine every year, reaching out to approximately 150 countries, as per 2009 figures. Currently, the U.S. is the second largest export market for Rhône Valley wines.

The full list of Wine Star Awards:

Wine Region of the Year

Rhône Valley (France)
Ribera Del Duero (Spain)
Russian River Valley (California)
Prosecco (Italy)
Willamette Valley (Oregon)

• American Winery of the Year

Barefoot (Modesto, CA)
Hermann J. Weimer (Finger Lakes, NY)
J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines (San Jose, CA)
Pacific Rim (Columbia Valley, WA)
Shafer Vineyards (Napa Valley, CA)

• Winemaker of the Year

Frederic Bonnaffous and Guillaume Pouthier, Dourthe (France)
Bob Cabral, Williams Selyem (California)
Genevieve Janssens, Robert Mondavi Winery (California)
Zelma Long, Vilafonte, (South Africa)
Phillipe Melka, Melka Wines (California)

• European Winery of the Year

Gérard Bertrand (France)
Louis Latour (France)
Mastroberardino (Italy)
Sogrape (Portugal)
Viña Sastre (Spain)

• New World Winery of the Year

Achaval-Ferrer (Argentina)
Bodega Catena Zapata (Argentina)
Craggy Range (New Zeland)
DGB (South Africa)
Viña San Pedro (Chile)

Distiller of the Year

Beefeater Gin
Cooper Spirits (St-Germain)
Hangar One
Jack Daniel's
Milagro Tequila

• Importer of the Year

Aveníu Brands
Fine Estates From Spain
Kermit Lynch
Preiss Imports
TGIC Importers

• Retailer of the Year

Bounty Hunter (Napa Valley)
Sherry-Lehmann (New York)
Stew Leonard's (NY, NJ, CT)
Trader Joe's (nationwide)
Vino Volo (airports nationwide)

Innovator of the Year

Hall Winery (California)
Alain Juppé (France)
Libera Terra (Sicily)
Murphy-Goode (California)
The New Zealand Wine Industry

• Restaurateur of the Year

Tom Colicchio (New York)
Tyler Florence (California)
Danny Meyer (New York)
Michael Mina (California and nationwide)
Gordon Ramsay (worldwide)

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