The winners

Highlights from the IWC Awards Dinner 2019

 

The ‘Oscars of the Wine Industry’ – the International Wine Challenge Awards Dinner – honours the wines, winemakers, merchants and personalities who make this such a great industry. Now in its 36th year, the competition itself is accepted as the world’s most rigorous, impartial and influential wine contest, so the winners really do deserve the respect of everyone in the industry. Here are the winners…



IWC LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Gerard Basset OBE, MW, MS, OIV MSc, MBA

Much-loved sommelier-turned-hotelier Gerard Basset, who passed away earlier this year, was honoured at the International Wine Challenge Awards Dinner in London.
He was awarded the IWC Lifetime Achievement Award. The audience at the Grosvenor House Hotel was shown a video of Gerard being presented with the trophy late last year while he was undergoing treatment for cancer. But Gerard gave it back to IWC co-chair Charles Metcalfe because he wanted to come to London to collect it in person.
Sadly, he died a month later.
Gerard’s remarkable life included being the first to simultaneously hold the Master of Wine, Master Sommelier, MBA Wine Business and MSc from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine, and being a founding partner in the groundbreaking Hotel du Vin group.
The French-born naturalised Brit won the World Sommelier Championship in 2010 and was honoured with an OBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to hospitality.

CHAMPION WINE AWARDS
Sponsored by Hellmann Worldwide Logistics

ALOIS KRACHER TROPHY FOR CHAMPION SWEET WINE
Vinsanto Riserva 2011 by Tenuta Di Capezzana

The judges said this wine had thrillingly intense, complex, rousing, nutty aromas. Very sweet but balanced by magnificent acidity. A glorious, complex wine with flavours of cream, nuts, dried fruits and a very clean finish.

DANIEL THIBAULT TROPHY FOR CHAMPION SPARKLING WINE
Rare Champagne Millésime 2006 by Rare Champagne

The IWC judges said this wine is “beautiful”. It is fine and toasty with lovely crystalline fruit and notes of pear and brioche. A Champagne with lovely richness tempered by citrus freshness.

MANUEL LOZANO TROPHY FOR CHAMPION FORTIFIED WINE
Justino’s Madeira Terrantez 1978 by Justino’s

An intense, complex nose and palate. First impression is soft, with toffee, dried apricot, fig and hints of coconut. Ripe and sweet but savoury and juicy, as well, and an almost dry, clean finish. Seamless palate with great length.


CHAMPION RED WINE
Château L’Hospitalet Grand Vin La Clape 2017 by Gerard Bertrand

Highly expressive southern French nose of incense, liquorice, cassis and black plum with a floral hint. Strong flavoursome attack of red, ripe fruit and fresh leather with a hint of cocoa powder. Bold, hedonistic and modern.

CHAMPION WHITE WINE
Riesling Ried Zöbinger Gaisberg Erste Lage Kamptal 2017 by Weingut Birgit Eichinger

This wine has very delicate floral aromas. It is lean, delicate and precise. A lovely acidity means it hardly registers as sweet though there is a little sugar. Full of subtle pleasure.

CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS
Tio Pepe Cuatro Palmas Amontillado by González Byass

A stunning Sherry. This has vivid citrus, hazelnut, almond and old furniture notes coupled with a keen acidity and amazing layers of complexity. Poise and intensity on the finish, seamlessly elegant. The taste of time.

WINEMAKERS OF THE YEAR

SWEET WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR
Hans Tschida from Weingut Angerhof Tschida

This is the sixth time that Hans Tschida has won the Sweet Winemaker of the Year award. In 2019, he was awarded 1 Trophy, 2 Golds, 4 Silvers and 2 Bronze medals.

FORTIFIED WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR
Sergio Martínez from Emilio Lustau

This year was yet another outstanding year for Sergio, with Lustau Sherries being awarded 2 Trophies, 12 Golds, 17 Silvers, 13 Bronzes, and 2 Commendeds.

WHITE WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR
Neil McGuigan from McGuigan Wines

McGuigan Wines had an exceptional year, winning 2 Trophies, 4 Golds, 11 Silvers, 6 Bronzes, and 3 Commendeds.

RED WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR
Dylan Lee (above) and Kym Milne MW from Bird in Hand

Bird in Hand had a phenomenal year, winning 2 Trophies, 4 Golds, 3 Silvers, and 3 Bronze medals for their red wines.

SPARKING WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR
Cyril Brun from Charles Heidsieck

This was an exceptionally close- run category, but Charles Heidsieck just pipped it with 1 Trophy, 4Golds and 2 Silvers.

WINE EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR 
Sponsored by the WSET 
And ON-TRADE SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR
Liberty Wines


Liberty Wines’ managing director, David Gleave MW, picked up a brace of awards.
While collecting the On-Trade Supplier of the Year, Liberty Wines was praised for continuing to invest in delivery systems as well as staff. They make a substantial investment in training and are moving towards a 24-hour ordering and supply chain. This year they have grown in both volume and value. They are the Gold standard, but are always improving and most importantly are profitable.#

MERCHANT OF THE YEAR
Waitrose & Partners

Waitrose & Partners have been very successful in this year’s IWC Merchant Awards. They have won  awards as Specialists (see far right), and they also won the hotly contested Supermarket of the Year award (see right). The judges were impressed with their wines and their level of customer engagement and felt that the award was thoroughly deserved

SMALL AGENT OF THE YEAR
Daniel Lambert

Daniel Lambert was described as “a classic agent who gets out and promotes their producers. They have an eclectic range of wines. It is amazing that they can achieve so much with such a small team. Daniel Lambert really does a great job of representing their producers.”

MERCHANT WINE LIST OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by London Wine Fair
Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Their wine list is more like a magazine, as it’s packed with useful and interesting information. There is also a useful essentials list at the back, and the judges loved their supplements, looking at wines from a new perspective.

Highly commended: Bancroft Wines

SUPERMARKET OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Encirc
Waitrose & Partners

The work that Waitrose & Partners are doing to take their wines out to their customers is very impressive. They are continuing to offer great wines at all price points. They really listen to their clients and know them very well. They also offer a very high level of customer engagement with their published materials and their drinks festival.

LARGE AGENT OF THE YEAR
Hatch Mansfield

Hatch Mansfield is “truly a business that works for its producers”, according to the IWC judges. It is still taking on significant winemaking talent 25 years after being established and works hard to put the producers at the heart of its business.

Highly commended: Bibendum Wine

CONSUMER CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR
Furmint February by Wines of Hungary

The campaign for this underappreciated Hungarian grape variety achieved impressive reach in the national papers as well as the trade press, all on a very limited budget.

ONLINE RETAILER OF THE YEAR
Laithwaite’s Wine

Laithwaite’s were praised for not resting on their laurels – for daring to change an already very successful business. They are using new media to target customers effectively and not simply relying on their website to do the job. The judges said Laithwaite’s entry was one of the best in the whole Merchants Award competition.

INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Schott Zwiesel
Vagabond

Vagabond for their Urban Winery and Bar With the launch of their Urban Winery and Bar, Vagabond have shown real innovation in a retail environment. This is a shop like no other. They showed great foresight and ambition to take advantage of the redevelopment in an exciting urban space. This is a winery that really engages with its audience, it is an integral part of the shop, not simply a winery.

LARGE INDEPENDENT MERCHANT OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Châteaux & Domaines Castel
Berry Bros. & Rudd

The London shop has really come into its own, they have used their history but it still has a contemporary feel. They aren’t standing still and are stepping out of their comfort zone by doing pop-ups and the Wine Car Boot. They also have a sensational range of wines, which is incredibly well chosen and a brilliant website.

NATIONAL CONVENIENCE CHAIN OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Lanchester Wines
The Co-op

The judges said: “The Co-op feels like a company with real personality, and their work with Fairtrade is impressive. They have a profound understanding of the convenience sector, and are experts at tailoring their stores to an increasing amount of people who shop at the last moment. Their wine selection is brilliant and their offering has made them a destination shop.”

WINE CLUB OF THE YEAR
The Wine Society

Being a member of The Wine Society feels like belonging to a genuine club. Included in their great value membership, they offer not just excellent wines but a series of exciting events. Their website keeps improving and they are making great use of social media. Whilst they are a pillar of the establishment, they are continuously reaching out to new drinkers. They are as dynamic now as when they were founded in 1874.

RESTAURANT WINE LIST OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Ramón Bilbao
Eatdrinksleep

Eatdrinksleep, the company behind the Felin Fach Griffin near Brecon and The Gurnard’s Head and The Old Coastguard in Cornwall, was praised for its great range of wines, especially in the low to medium price bracket. They have a large selection of wines from around the world and their wine lists are presented in a unique style – with a real sense of fun. “They’ve made a real effort to source a diverse and interesting selection of wines which aren’t widely available outside London. The cherry on the top is that the wines are also available at retail price,” said the judges.

Highly commended: Vinoteca

SMALL INDEPENDENT MERCHANT OF THE YEAR
Dunell’s

This Jersey retailer has undergone an incredibly impressive shop makeover, and merchandises its great range brilliantly. “They offer a truly exciting place for consumers to buy wine,” concluded the judges.

THE BEST SPECIALISTS

In the Specialist Wine Merchants of the Year, two winners scooped three specialist awards each:

• Waitrose & Partners for Rosé (sponsored by Maison Castel), England, and Champagne and Sparkling

• The Wine Society for Eastern Europe, Portugal and Regional France

Two winners scooped a pair of specialist awards:

• Goedhuis & Co for Bordeaux (sponsored by Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc) and for Burgundy

• Yapp Brothers for Languedoc Roussillon and for the Rhône

Other Specialist Merchants of the Year:

• The Vinorium for Australia

• Justerini & Brooks for En Primeur

• The Vintage Wine and Port for Fortified

• The WineBarn for Germany (sponsored by Wines of Germany)

• Liberty Wines for Italy

• Lay & Wheeler for Loire

• The New Zealand Cellar for New Zealand

• Tengu Sake for Sake

• Handford Wines for South Africa

• Condor Wines for South America

• Indigo Wine for Spain

• Roberson Wine for the USA

Highly commended: The Fizz Company for Champagne and Sparkling; Roberson Wine for Rosé

REGIONAL WINE MERCHANTS OF THE YEAR WINNERS

NORTHERN IRELAND: KWM Wines & Spirits

WALES: Mumbles Fine Wines

SCOTLAND: Woodwinters Wines and Whiskies

CENTRAL ENGLAND (sponsored by London Wine Fair): John Hattersley Wines

Highly commended: The Oxford Wine Company

NORTHERN ENGLAND: D. Byrne & Co

Highly commended: Bon Coeur Fine Wines

SOUTH WEST ENGLAND: Le Vignoble

LONDON (sponsored by London Wine Fair): Noble Green Wines

SOUTH & SOUTH EAST ENGLAND: Dunell’s

GREAT VALUE
Sponsored by Reflex Label Plus

GREAT VALUE CHAMPION SWEET
Tesco Finest Dessert Semillon 2015

The IWC judges said this had a beguiling botrytis nose with compact honeyed sweetness lifted by fresh, linear acid and leading to a generous finish.

GREAT VALUE CHAMPION SPARKLING
Philizot et Fils Veuve Monsigny Champagne Rosé

The IWC judges said this Aldi wine has “expressive fruit on the nose with strawberry and cocoa aromas. Creamy berry fruit. Fine, precise mousse and a vibrant finish. A classic example.”

GREAT VALUE CHAMPION WHITE
Cowrie Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Available in Waitrose, this wine has “complex, pungent notes of tomato leaf, green pepper and passion fruit, creamy texture and long-bright finish”.

GREAT VALUE CHAMPION RED
Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos Red 2017

The IWC judges were wowed by its “gentle, alluring, authentically Touriga perfume; with violet and bergamot oil foremost. Tannins are firm and silky on the palate. Elegant with black fruit, rather than red fruit flavours. Brisk acidity and good length”.

GREAT VALUE CHAMPION FORTIFIED
Waitrose Palo Cortado ‘Torre del Oro’

This wine has “salty and savoury notes of yeast, brioche, and roasted cashew. Rich creamy texture with cashew and foie gras finish”.

OWN LABEL RANGE OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Freixenet Copestick
Tesco

Tesco’s own label range wines were awarded 1 Trophy, 3 Great Value, 4 Golds, 22 Silvers,
41 Bronzes, and 47 Commendeds.

PLANET EARTH AWARDS

ORGANIC WINE TROPHY
Domaine Christian Moreau Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2017

Fabien Moreau, representing the sixth generation of his family to be responsible for this fabulous holding, has produced a classic Chablis. A complex nose with aromas of floral honey and orange peel, delicate but persistent. Constantly evolving on the palate with fine acidity and a beautiful silky texture. “Just beautiful,” said the IWC judges.

THE FAIRTRADE AWARD
Co-op Fairtrade Organic Malbec 2017

Spicy, rich blackberry fruits, fine grain tannins, balanced, inky with integrated oak. Ripe and rich.
 
SAKE AWARDS

CHAMPION SAKE
Sponsored by Japan Airlines
Katsuyama Junmai Ginjo Ken Katsuyama Supreme Sake

Also the winner of the Junmai Ginjo Trophy, this Sake has rich perfumed aromas of red apple and flowers. The judges also praised it for its “juicy impact but elegant style” and “sophisticated finish”.

GREAT VALUE CHAMPION SAKE
Sponsored by the Sake Samurai Association
Kiku-Masamune Shiboritate Gin-Pack

This is an elegant style of Futsu-Shu – red apple skin, soft texture, yoghurt creaminess, hint of grapefruit zest, melon rind, and white pepper with a long, lingering aftertaste.

SAKE BREWER OF THE YEAR
Heiwa Shuzo

Heiwa Shuzo won the Sparkling Sake Trophy this year as well as being awarded 4 Golds, 3 Silvers, and 2 Bronze medals for its other Sake.

Established in 1928 in Wakayama, Heiwa Shuzo brews a large variety of Sake under the brand name KID.

SPECIAL AWARDS
World’s Best Vineyard
No1: Familia Zuccardi, Argentina

Familia Zuccardi collected the inaugural World’s Best Vineyard title. It offers an architectural gem of a winery complex, stunning views of the Andes range, a top-class restaurant, and terroir-driven wines expressing the high-altitude limestone of the Uco Valley.
The Top 50 list was announced at London’s Banqueting House the previous day. The competition has been designed to raise the profile of global wine tourism, with the winning wine estates selected by an ‘academy’ made up of nearly 500 leading wine aficionados, sommeliers, and luxury travel correspondents from across the globe.
For the full list, visit www.worldsbestvineyards.com

JAMES ROGERS TROPHY
(for best wine in the first year of production)
Codorníu Raventós Legaris Alcubilla de Avellaneda 2015

The 2015 was the first vintage of the Legaris Alcubilla de Avellaneda and this year it was awarded the Spanish Red Trophy by the IWC judges. They described the wine as being “dense fruited with tight, taut aromas of black fruit and liquorice. Firm tannin with high acidity and savoury flavours with a hint of oak”.

LEN EVANS TROPHY
(for consistency over a period of five years)
Maison Albert Bichot

Over the past five years, Maison Albert Bichot has entered 81 wines and every single one of them has won an award, with 98% receiving a medal. The impressive haul over this period comprises 19 Trophies, 28 Golds, 22 Silvers, 10 Bronzes, and 2 Commendeds.

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  • Sponsors of the Supermarket of the Year Award
  • Sponsors of the Champion Wine Awards
  • Sponsors of the Great Value Champion
  • Sponsors of the Champion Sake Award
  • Sponsors of the Great Value Sake Award
  • Sponsors of the Own Label Range of the Year
  • Sponsors of the Large Independent of the Year Award
  • Sponsors of the Convenience Store Chain of the Year
  • Sponsors of the Large Agent of the Year
  • Sponsors of Wine Educator of the Year
  • Sponsors of the IWC Innovator of the Year Award
  • Sponsors of the Restaurant Wine List of the Year
  • Sponsors of the Bordeaux Specialist Merchant of the Year Award
  • Sponsor of the Central England and London Regional Merchant of the Year Award
  • Sponsors of the German Specialist Merchant of the Year Award
  • Sponsors of the Rosé Specialist Merchant of the Year Award
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