The London Wine Competition is different. It’s not like all the award competitions in the market. Why? Well it’s more than just about the quality of the wine. It’s also considers how much the costs and what it looks like on shelf. Just like any consumer would. After all you might be the best quality but if you don’t offer value for money and look the part you are going to be left sitting on that shelf.
The London Wine Competition looks to assess and reward wines based on how consumers judge them. What they look like, how much they cost and what they taste like.
When the London Wine Competition launched in 2018 it did so promising to offer something new, different and commercially important to the wine industry. After all there are enough international wine competitions already without adding another. But what the LWC looks to do is not just taste wines blind like the majority of major competitions, but to assess wines in the same way that the average wine consumer would.
Yes, quality has to be the benchmark for any one to be properly assessed and yes all wines entered in the competition are also tasted blind first. But here’s comes the important part. Once the wines that the judges believe are worthy of a medal or further consideration they then go through to the next stages of the competition that then pull back the cover to reveal what the wine really looks like and how much it costs.
This is a competition that puts as much emphasis on the design, packaging and format as it does the wine. After all the vast majority of wines are bought with our eyes and picked up off a retailer’s shelf. Or in a restaurant they are judged by what they are called, where they are from and how much they cost, before we ever get to actually taste it.
So to be an award winner you will need to have a top quality wine, that offers both the trade and the consumer great value for money, and you will need to look good and truly stand out on the shelf and on the back bar. You might have an outstanding quality wine, but if the price and packaging is not right, you will not be recognised by the London Wine Competition.
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 London Wine Competition is judged by a panel of top wine buyers, sommeliers, Masters of Wine and wine consultants who have either direct commercial buying responsibilities or are involved in development of new wine new brands. This year includes a number of new MWs who have joined the panel including Rebecca Gibb MW, Philip Harden MW, Robin Kick MW, Joanne Ahearne MW, Barbera Drew MW and David Forer MW.
These judges join other MWs who are part of the panel including Demetri Walters MW, wine educator and presenter for Berry Bros. & Rudd.
Other judges include:
* Anna Botting, head sommelier
• Stefano Pasqual, head sommelier, Gordon Ramsay
• Piotr Pietras, head sommelier
• Matteo Furlon, deputy head sommelier, The Ritz
• Julien Sarrasin, head sommelier, Hide Above
• Greg Sherwood MW, Handford Wines
• David Vareille, head sommelier, The Arts Club
A full list of judges can be found here.
The London Wine Competition was launched in 2017 by the Beverage Trade Network, the US drinks events, services, business and publishing group.
The first round of the competition was held in 2018. 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).
Find out more about the event and how it works here.