International Wine Challenge celebrates 2017’s best-of-the-best global winemakers
The 34th International Wine Challenge last night celebrated the most influential winemakers and personalities in the industry at its annual Awards dinner, widely known as the ‘Oscars of the Wine Trade’. Following an extensive judging process and witnessed by 750 representatives from the global wine trade, the IWC recognised the individuals from the industry who had demonstrated excellence this year and beyond.
- First to be invited into the IWC Hall of Fame and named IWC Sparkling Winemaker of the Year 2017, was French winemaker Christophe Rapeneau from Champagne Charles De Cazanove. Rapeneau is internationally renowned for the outstanding Champagnes he produces at Champagne Charles De Cazanove, one of the oldest wineries in the iconic region. Under Rapeneau’s watchful eye, the Champagne house received a flurry of awards at this year’s IWC 2017, including one Trophy, 14 Gold, 14 Silver and ten Bronze medals.
- Fellow French producer, Alain Serveau from Maison Albert Bichot, was awarded the IWC Red Winemaker of the Year 2017. Serveau was recognised for his meticulous attention to detail and intuitive understanding of wine production, a skill instilled into him from a young age by his parents, also winemakers. The International Wine Challenge 2017 was a landmark year for the producer, with Maison Albert Bichot being awarded six Trophies, seven Gold and two Silver medals for its red wines.
- German winemaker, Dr. Franz Michel from Domdechant Werner’sches Weingut, was named IWC White Winemaker of the Year 2017. The accolade is a testament to Dr. Michel’s lifetime passion for creating fine wines, which this year saw every wine entered by his winery receive an IWC medal. Its impressive haul included one Trophy, four Gold, eight Silver and three Bronze medals.
- This year, sibling-duo Peter Münzenrieder & Christoph Münzenrieder, shared the IWC Sweet Winemaker 2017 award. The siblings co-own the Weingut PMC Muenzenrieder, one of the most decorated and well-known vineyards in Austria. The prolific producers received a pair of Trophies, three Gold and three Silver medals.
- IWC Fortified Winemaker 2017 was awarded to competition veteran Sergio Martínez from sherry producer Emilio Lustau. In July 2016, after 13 years at the company, Sergio Martínez succeeded his predecessor Manuel Lozano as Cellar Master. In his new role Martínez has breathed new life into one of Spain’s most iconic sherry producers.
Charles Metcalfe, Co-Chairman of the IWC, commented:
“These talented winemakers represent the best of the best across their category and deserve recognition for the outstanding work they do. Not only do they create world-class wines as demonstrated by their medal and trophy hauls, they also inspire others with their artistry, talent and dedication. We are proud to recognise the work these pillars of the industry do to drive the global wine trade forward.”
In addition to awarding its winemakers of the year, the IWC also recognised two individuals for their on-going contribution to the industry.
- This year’s IWC Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 was awarded to French winemaker May-Eliane de Lencquesaing for her formidable commitment to the trade.
- Having enjoyed a range of different careers including nursing and politics, Lencquesaing found her true vocation in wine. Lencquesaing served for an impressive 30 years as Managing Director of her family-owned Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. When the French estate was sold to Champagne Louis Roederer in 2006, Lencquesaing, then aged 79, decided to focus her efforts on developing her South African property, the Glenelley Estate. Specialising in the Bordeaux wine varieties Lencquesaing had grown up with, the estate produced its first vintage in 2008 and continues to be managed by Lencquesaing to this day.
- IWC Personality of the Year was awarded to Joe Fattorini, an accolade given to an individual who has single-handedly made a significant impact on driving the wine industry forward. Fattorini’s eclectic career in wine journalism has seen him pen countless articles for the UK’s most prestigious wine publications, star in ITV’s The Wine Show and sit on the communications team of one of the UK’s most successful wine distributors, Bibendum.
Charles Metcalfe, Co-Chairman of the IWC, continued:
“May-Eliane de Lencquesaing and Joe Fattorini have both had a huge impact on the wine industry in their own unique way. With her super-human energy and passion, May-Eliane is a true inspiration, while Joe’s consumer-friendly approach to wine communication has engaged thousands of people across the country. We are all immensely proud of their achievements and we are proud to support their incredible work.”