The International Wine Challenge (IWC) owned by William Reed Business Media is now in its 36th year. The IWC is accepted as the world's finest and most meticulously judged wine competition which assesses every wine blind and judges each for its faithfulness to style, region and vintage. Throughout the rigorous judging processes, each medal-winning wine is tasted on three separate occasions by at least 12 different judges and awards include medals (Trophy, Gold, Silver, Bronze) and Commended and Great Value awards.
IWC 2020 Timeline
|IWC 2020||Tranche 1||Tranche 2|
|Entry open||3rd September 2019||3rd December 2019|
|Paper entry deadline||4th October 2019||24th February 2020|
|Entry deadline (online)||24th October 2019||19th March 2020|
|Consolidated shipping deadline (Hellmann)||4th October 2019||28th February 2020|
|Private shipping from outside UK deadline||24th October 2019||19th March 2020|
|Private shipping from UK||Between 28th October and 1st November 2019||Between 23rd March and 31st March 2020|
|Judging||11th to 15th November 2019||14th to 23rd April 2020|
|Results||28th November 2019||15th May 2020|
IWC 2020 Trophy
|IWC 2020||Trophy Tasting|
|Judging||27th and 28th April 2020|
|Results||18th May 2020|
|Online Entry per wine||£133 + VAT*|
|Paper Entry per wine||£180 + VAT*|
|Discovery Tasting per wine
in addition to online or paper entry fee
|£70 + VAT*|
|Consolidated shipping partner fee (Hellman) per entry||£55 + VAT*|
*UK only. European companies with a valid VAT registration number do not have to pay UK VAT. Countries outside the EU do not pay UK VAT.
Entrants are required to send 4 samples of each wine submitted. 2 additional samples are required for wines entered into the Discovery Tasting. All samples will become the property of the organiser.
An overview of the IWC processFind our more about the Delivery of Wine Samples Processing
How the IWC works? find out more here.
- Tranche 1/Tranche 2
The IWC has two separate tastings to accommodate the different production and sales schedules across the industry. Tranche 1 wines will be tasted in November and Tranche 2 wines will be tasted in April, with wines tasted in the context of style, country and region.
There are two medal release dates, with Tranche 1 results announced in December and Tranche 2 in May. Wines that have won a Gold medal in Tranche 1 will be held in temperature-controlled storage until April. They will then be flighted with Gold medal wines from Tranche 2 for the Trophy tasting in April.
Now let's have a look at what happens to your wines after you've entered the Challenge.
Please note that the process is the same for both Tranches.
Wines from the depot are checked, given a unique code, repackaged and sent to the tasting venue in preparation for the judging.
- Sorting and Photographing
On arrival wines are unloaded on to shelves in a temperature controlled storage facility. Wines are organised by style then country so that they are easy to locate. At this stage wines are also photographed for our website and App.
- Picking and Flighting
Wines are picked from the shelves and put into 'tasting flights' – a group of wines with a similar style and from the same country and region. All flights are then put into blind tasting bags and tagged with their unique identifier to keep their true identity concealed. The wines are now ready for judging.
- Round One
Round one of the judging commences. Wines are either marked as 'out', given a Commended award or progress to the next round. The IWC Chairmen then re-taste all 'outs' and 'commended' wines to confirm the mark. If the IWC Chairmen believe the wine is eligible it may be re-entered into round two to give it another chance.
- Round Two
Round two of the judging begins. Wines are marked as 'out', given a Commended award or awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze medals. All wines are re-tasted by the IWC Chairmen to verify the results.
- Trophy Tasting
Wines awarded Gold medals in both Tranche 1 and Tranche 2 progress to the Trophy round. The results are then combined and Tranche 1 and Tranche 2 wines put into new 'flights' for more blind tasting. Gold and Silver medal-winning wines that fall into the Great Value category are also tasted at this time. Regional and national Trophies and Great Value medals are awarded. All Trophy winning wines are re-tasted by the IWC Chairmen who then decide which wines should be awarded the Champion Trophies.
Once the judging has ceased all bottles, left over wine, packaging and corks all get recycled. In 2014 the IWC recycled 9 cubic metres of Wine and 55 cubic metres of polystyrene was transformed into insulation for houses.