If you are looking to enter the second edition of the London Wine Competition then you can make big savings by putting your wines in now and take advantage of early bird rates. But you will need to act quickly as the deadline for early bird rates runs out on October 30. This is the event that looks to reward wines that everyday wine drinkers can relate to as they are assessed not just on their quality, but what they look like, what they stand for, how much they cost, and, arguably the most important criteria for all – how drinkable they are.
The London Wine Competition claims to be the word’s most relevant wine competition, at least for consumers, as it tries to assess and reward wines based on how consumers judge them. What they look like, what they taste like, how much they cost, and do I want to have another glass. Simple as that. Here’s how to enter.
How do you judge how good a wine is? Anyone who has a WSET qualification to their name will be very familiar with the systematic approach to wine tasting that is all about assessing the colour, the appearance, the legs, nose, taste and balance of a wine. But rarely does a professional examination take into account what sort of label a wine has, be it the design the overall look, feel and packaging. Which, after, all, is all that the average customer has to go on when deciding which wine to pick off a shelf.
Which is what makes the London Wine Competition such an interesting new tasting event. Now entering its second year it claims to be the only global wine competition that judges wines both on what they taste like, and what they look like.
But that’s not the end of it. The LWC will also then look to reward wines for their value for money and “drinkability” factor. How likely is a wine drinker going to go back for a second glass, return and buy another bottle. It is one thing being a technically correct wine, but in the commercial world of selling wine it also has to be, well, drinkable, affordable and offer genuine value for money.
That’s why design and packaging are becoming such an increasingly important part of the overall offer that a wine has.
Those are arguably the wines that professional wine buyers and sommeliers need to have on their lists. They keep the cash flowing going, they keep the wine stocks flowing and ultimately they bring in the much needed revenues and margins for the restaurant.
Back for more
The London Wine Competition was launched in 2017 by the Beverage Trade Network, the US drinks events, services, business and publishing group. It is now back for its second year of competition with entries open now and running through into the early part of 2019.
Sid Patel, founder of the LWC and chief executive of the Beverage Trade Network, explained what he wanted to achieve with the new event: “At all the major competitions, wines are judged solely on the quality of what’s in the bottle. We wanted to take a different approach, by asking our judges to look at wines the way wine drinkers do, adding appearance and value for money into the mix.”
The average wine drinker, he added, is not interested or qualified to go through all the quality tests, they just want a wine they can trust, suits their palate and makes them want to order another glass.
“People buy wines with their eyes first, and that puts a real premium on wines that are able to offer an attractive presentation, everything from the label to the brand perception. Including all three factors into the judging process produces results that are closer to the reality of the way consumers purchase wines and gives winemakers better feedback on how their wines are perceived by wine drinkers,” said Patel.
To ensure each of these elements are carefully considered during the judging process, the point scores are broken down in this way.
• Quality Score: marked out of 50
• Value Score: marked out of 25
• Packaging/Design Score: marked out of 25
Wines that score 90+ points are awarded Gold medals, while wines that score 76 to 89 points were awarded Silver medals.
The first round of the competition was held earlier this year. In all 16 wines from around world received a Gold medal, including five from Australia and four from Italy. There were also 137 Silver medals announced.
The top scoring wine was Arcadian Shiraz from Idyll Wine Co. in Australia, was named the “Wine of the Year.” The wine comes from Australia’s Moorabool Valley, in Victoria, which has been making wines since 1966 and was one of the first vineyards to be planted in the area following the decimation of the local wine industry by the phylloxera epidemic in the late 19th century.
Of the Gold medal wines two came from the UK, a Blanc de Blanc from Hoffman & Rathbone (number five in the Top 10 overall wines) and Raimes Classic English Sparkling (10th highest scoring wine overall).
As the LWC wants to rewards wines that are going to genuinely sell in restaurants and bars it has looked to ensure its judges are wine professionals, and sommeliers working directly with customers on the restaurant floor. They, after all, know more than anyone what is going to sell or not.
The full list of judges can be found here, but also includes.
• Mathias Camilleri MS, head sommelier, The Five Fields
• Anna Botting, head sommelier, Murano (pictured above)
• Stefano Pasqual, head sommelier, Gordon Ramsay
• Piotr Pietras, head sommelier, 85 Sommelier
• Clement Robert MS, head sommelier, 28-50 restaurant group
• Michael Raebel, head sommelier, Rosewood Hotel
• Julien Sarrasin, head sommelier, Club Gascon
• Greg Sherwood MW, Handford Wines
• David Vareille, head sommelier, The Arts Club
• Tom Hunt, Hawsmoor
• Tom Gilbey MW, The Vintner
• Tim Hanni MW, wine consultant
New judges this year include Demetri Walters MW, wine educator and presenter for Berry Bros. & Rudd, Rebecca Gibb MW, wine writer and critic and Madeleine Strenweth MW, wine educator and consultant and one of only two MWs in Sweden.
How to enter
If you are looking to enter the LWC then do so soon to take advantage of early bird rates which end on October 30.
To find out more click here.
Judging for the 2019 competition will take place at The Worx in London on March 21-22 with the winners expected to be announced soon after.
If you are looking for any more information on then go to its main website here.