International Wine Challenge

Background and contacts

About International Wine Challenge

The International Wine Challenge (IWC) owned by William Reed Business Media is now in its 35th 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 10 different judges and awards include medals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) and Commended awards

About The Digital Newsroom

The International Wine Challenge Digital Newsroom is a simple and useful resource for you to keep track of all the latest news stories. High resolution images and complete press releases are available to download from here, and you can connect with our various social media profiles easily. Suggestions for improvements are welcome.

Contact Details

Elly Barham-Marsh Helen Kenny
Manifest London
t. +44 (0)203 1379 270
e. iwc@manifest.london

International Wine Challenge

Heroes of the UK wine industry recognised at the IWC 2018

The International Wine Challenge 2018 has recognised a variety of wine merchants, restaurants and businesses – all supporting the UK’s enduring love affair with wine. This is the first year The Restaurant Wine List has been awarded and is a mark of the International Wine Challenges ongoing commitment to innovation at the competition.

Two restaurants have this year received recognition for their wine lists, notably the Rex Whistler Restaurant at the Tate Britain in London. The Rex Whistler has garnered a strong reputation for having one of the capital’s finest wine cellars with judges at the IWC describing it as ‘an outstanding list that offers both depth and variety. A list that is concise whilst still being very exciting, with pricing that is very reasonable’. The wine cellar is overseen by sommelier Gustavo Medina.

The wine list at The Harrow at Little Bedwyn in Wiltshire meanwhile received a Highly Commended award. The Harrow, owned and run by Sue and Roger Jones, will shortly be celebrating its 20th anniversary.  It received its first Michelin Star in 2006 and has retained the Star every year since. As well as receiving the worldwide accolade for its food, The Harrow has also been critically acclaimed for its 900 bin Wine List.

All restaurant entrants were scored against a strict criterion including its range of varieties, countries, regions and styles along with value for money, the consistency of the information in the wine list, and the food pairing suggestions.

This year at the IWC 2018 a number of wine merchants were also recognised – at regional, national and international level. Winning the overall IWC Large Independent Merchant of the Year 2018 was Cambridge Wine Merchants, established in 1993, and now with seven branches. Judges noted that this is the wine shop we’d all love to have in our neighbourhood.

Winner of the IWC Small Independent Merchant of the Year 2018 is Loki Wines in Birmingham. Judges described Loki as ‘innovative in a way rarely seen in wine retail’ – and in praising their success advised that they should open more stores.

The IWC has also announced Marks and Spencer was the recipient of a brand-new award: the IWC Rosé Specialist. M&S stocks a number of rosé wines from a variety of styles and appellations including their best-sellers Réserve de Sours Sparkling Rosé NV from Bordeaux; Las Falleras Rosé 2015 from Spain; and Le Petit Froglet Rosé 2017, from the South of France.

A number of further unique awards were also handed out at the dinner.

The IWC / Visit England Cellar Door of the Year 2018 award, sponsored by London Wine Fair, went to High Clandon. Judges noted the experience from start to finish was excellent with a well-structured tour, interesting commentary from the hosts as well as an up close and personal look at the vines followed by a tasting.

Lay & Wheeler won the prize for the IWC Online Retailer of the Year 2018. Lay & Wheeler have launched a popular fine wine discovery club and are now in their 3rd year of growth.

Finally, the IWC Wine Club of the Year award was won by The Wine Society. Judges noted clear benefits for members include a myriad of events and “walk-around” tastings, as well as offering extraordinary cellaring facilities. They use their huge database of customer preferences to alert customers via personalised emails to new arrivals – and a new “virtual tasting” offering.

The IWC Specialist Merchant Award 2018 winners are as follows:

  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, Australia: The Vinorium
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, Bordeaux: BI Wines & Spirits, sponsored by Alliance des Crus Bourgeois du Médoc
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, Burgundy: Goedhuis & Co
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, Champagne and Sparkling: Waitrose
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, En Primeur: Justerini & Brooks
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, England: Waitrose
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, Fortified: The Oxford Wine Company
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, Germany: The WineBarn, sponsored by Wines of Germany
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, Italy: Liberty Wines
  • Highly Commended Specialist Merchant of the Year, Italy: Vini Italiani
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, Languedoc Roussillon: Yapp Brothers
  • Highly Commended Specialist Merchant of the Year, Languedoc Roussillon: Pierre Hourlier Wines
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, Loire: Yapp Brothers, sponsored by Central Loire Valley Wines
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, New Zealand: The New Zealand Cellar
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, Portugal: The Wine Society
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, Regional France: The Wine Society
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, Rhône: Yapp Brothers
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, Rosé: Marks and Spencer
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, Sake: Tengu Sake
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, South Africa: Seckford Agencies
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, South America: Las Bodegas
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, Spain: Indigo Wine
  • Specialist Merchant of the Year, USA: Roberson Wine

The IWC Regional Merchant Award 2018 winners are as follows:

  • Regional Merchant of the Year South and South East: Dunell’s Premier Wines, sponsored by London Wine Fair
  • Regional Merchant of the Year London: Borough Wines
  • Regional Merchant of the Year Central England: Loki Wines
  • Regional Merchant of the Year Eastern England: Cambridge Wine Merchants
  • Regional Merchant of the Year South West: Averys of Bristol, sponsored by London Wine Fair
  • Regional Merchant of the Year Northern England: Bon Coeur Fine Wines
  • Regional Merchant of the Year Wales: Mumbles Fine Wines
  • Regional Merchant of the Year Scotland: Woodwinters Wines & Whiskies
  • Regional Merchant of the Year Northern Ireland: James Nicholson Wine

Charles Metcalfe, Co-Chairman of the IWC, commented:

“These are the real movers and shakers in the industry – doing the enjoyable but also very hard work of educating and advising consumers as well as championing new and up and coming wines and wine industries. Our hearty congratulations to all.”

Attached Files

Archive