The elite of the wine industry gathered last night to celebrate the best of the best at the International Wine Challenge (IWC) Awards Dinner, which took place at the Hilton, Park Lane in London.
Hosted by IWC Co-Chairmen Charles Metcalfe and Tim Atkin MW, the world’s most prestigious and influential independent wine awards unveiled the 2011 Champion Trophy winners, Merchants of the Year and Winemakers of the Year.
42 awards were presented, including Supermarket of the Year, which was awarded to Waitrose.
Tesco was awarded the inaugural IWC Own Label Range of the Year award, with an impressive line-up of Great Value Champion awards.
Great Value Champion Rosé Wine (Tesco Finest* Navarra Rosé 2010, Principe De Viana), Great Value Champion Champagne (Tesco Finest* Premier Cru Champagne, Union Champagne) and Great Value Champion Sweet Wine (Tesco Finest* Dessert Semillon 2007, De Bortoli Wines). This last wine, at only £6.49rrp, underlines how accessible and affordable some of the best wines in the world are.
Innovator of the Year was awarded for the second year running to Naked Wines, and High Street Chain of the Year for the third consecutive year to Majestic Wines. The Generic Campaign of the Year was won by Wines of Chile, for their ‘Carmenere Made for Curry’ campaign.
Charles Metcalfe, IWC Co-Chairman, says: “The quality and range of wines now being produced all over the world ensures that UK wine-lovers are spoilt for choice. Each year we find the standard of entries has risen, resulting in a very strong contest for this year’s winning wines. And, thankfully, we have fewer unacceptable wines entered.
“This is the world’s most scrupulously judged wine competition. Each medal-winning wine is tasted at least three (and sometimes up to six) times, and marks are awarded for faithfulness to variety, country, region and vintage. The IWC recognises excellence and aims to help wine-lovers identify some of the world’s best wines. Our meticulous and unrivalled attention to detail means a wine with the IWC logo is a wine you can trust.
“I’d like to thank all our tasters for their hard work, and particularly my fellow Co-Chairmen Tim Atkin MW, Sam Harrop MW, Derek Smedley MW, Oz Clarke and Debra Meiburg MW.”
This year’s awards went to:
- Supermarket of the Year: Waitrose
- High Street Chain of the Year: Majestic Wines was named the High Street Chain winner for the third consecutive year
- Wine Club of the Year: The Wine Society, who also won Wine Merchant of the Year
- Innovator of the Year: Naked Wines, for the second year in a row
- Direct Merchant of the Year: Laithwaites
- Corporate Social Responsibility Award: Bibendum Wine Ltd, for the second year running
- Sustainable Trophy: Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2009, from Mt Difficulty Wines
- Organic Trophy: Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon 2009, Domaine Christian Moreau Père Et Fils
- Biodynamic Trophy: Fleury Extra Brut 1995, Champagne Fleury
- Fairtrade Trophy: 1962 Fairhills Vineyards Selection Shiraz 2010, Origin Wine
- James Rogers Trophy for best wine in its first year of production: Chambolle-Musigny 2009, Domaine de la Pousse d’Or
- Len Evans Trophy for the producer who has performed consistently well over the last five years: Manuel Lozano of Emilio Lustau, who also collected the Fortified Winemaker of the Year Award.
Sir George Fistonich, founder of Villa Maria Estates, one of New Zealand’s leading wine producers, collected the Lifetime Achievement Award, adding to his earlier honour of being inducted into the New Zealand Hall of Fame for services to New Zealand’s wine industry.
Other success stories included:
- Sparkling Winemaker of the Year: Régis Camus, Champagnes P. & C. Heidsieck for the third consecutive year. Régis also collected the Daniel Thibault Trophy for Champion Sparkling Wine for the second year in a row for the Charles Heidsieck Millésime Brut 2000
- Sweet Winemaker of the Year: Hans Tschida, Weingut Hans Tschida for the second consecutive year
- Red Winemaker of the Year: Patrick Landanger of Domaine de la Pousse d’Or, which was also awarded the Champion Red Wine for its Chambolle-Musigny 2009
- Great Value Champion White Wine: Marlborough Chardonnay 2009, Oyster Bay Wines New Zealand Ltd
- Great Value Champion Champagne: Tesco Finest* Premier Cru Champagne, Union Champagne
- Great Value Champion Red Wine: Tamaya Winemaker’s Selection Carmenere 2009, Viña Casa Tamaya
- Great Value Champion Rosé Wine: Tesco Finest* Navarra Rosé 2010, Principe De Viana
- Great Value Champion Sweet Wine: Tesco Finest* Dessert Semillon 2007, De Bortoli Wines
- Great Value Champion Fortified Wine: Marks & Spencer Dry Old Oloroso, Emilio Lustau
- Sake Champion: Nabeshima Daiginjo 2010, Fukuchiyo Shuzo Co Ltd
For more information on the IWC and to see a complete list of all the winning wines, please visit www.internationalwinechallenge.com