About the Challenge

In its 36th year, the IWC is accepted as the world’s most rigorous, impartial and influential wine competition. The IWC assesses every wine ‘blind’ and judges each for its faithfulness to style, region and vintage.  Each medal-winning wine is tasted on at least three separate occasions by a minimum of 12 different judges including Masters of Wine.  Awards include medals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) and Commended awards.  The IWC is committed to helping consumers discover great wine, and the medals displayed on winning bottles offer a trusted guarantee of quality. 



IWC and IWC China 2020 Timeline

2020 IWC Tranche 2 IWC China
Entry open 3rd December 2019 3rd January 2020
Paper entry deadline 24th February 2020 24th February 2020
Entry deadline (online) 19th March 2020 2nd May 2020
Consolidated shipping deadline for France and Italy (Hellmann) 28th February 2020 28th February 2020
Consolidated shipping deadline for Rest of World (Hellmann) 11th March 2020 11th March 2020
Private shipping from outside UK deadline 19th March 2020 -
Private shipping from outside China deadline - 2nd May 2020
Private shipping from UK Between 23rd March and 31st March 2020 -
Judging 14th to 23rd April 2020 13th June 2020
Results 15th May 2020 25th June 2020

IWC and IWC China 2020 Trophy

Trophy Tasting 2020 IWC IWC China
Judging 27th and 28th April 2020 8th and 13th June 2020
Results 18th May 2020 25th June 2020

Entry Fee

IWC 2020 Fee
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.

Find out more about IWC China entry rules and fees

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 process

Find 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.

  • Arrival 
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.

  • 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.

  • Recycling
Once the judging has ceased all bottles, left over wine, packaging and corks all get recycled.