• Janet Harrison: People’s Choice Wine Awards 2022 shortlist

    Drum roll please. The shortlist for the 2022 People’s Choice Wine Awards is now out with all the finalists in each of the categories. These are the only international wine awards that currently allow consumers to take part in the judging process with a series of rounds to come up with the shortlisted producers, distributors, importers, merchants and retailers. This is the fifth year of the competition and is back as a standalone event for wine. Read on to find out who the finalists are…

    Drum roll please. The shortlist for the 2022 People’s Choice Wine Awards is now out with all the finalists in each of the categories. These are the only international wine awards that currently allow consumers to take part in the judging process with a series of rounds to come up with the shortlisted producers, distributors, importers, merchants and retailers. This is the fifth year of the competition and is back as a standalone event for wine. Read on to find out who the finalists are…

    mm By March 31, 2022

    Janet Harrison, founder of the People’s Choice Wine Awards, goes through this year shortlist and explains how this years awards have been run. To find out who the finalists are click here. 

    How did the entries and judging pan out for the wine awards? 

    Our submissions increased by over 25% this year and we’ve had the largest uplift in entries, direct from producers (rather than via importers/large multiples). The submissions included wines from supermarkets, importers, producers (large and small) and pretty much everything in between – we are thrilled with the variety and the results.  

    We carried out judging sessions in London, at the WSET school and in Manchester, with over 120 people taking part (enthusiastic wine consumers and trade). Almost 300 people applied to be judges.

    Our partnership with WSET (Official Education Partner) has really moved on a pace this year.  They can see first-hand, how much consumers learn during the tasting sessions and they are keen to know more about the great courses offered by WSET, either as a hobby or a way in to the wine and spirits trade.  This year, we had a record number of students applying to judge and they made up over 70% of our Round 1 panel.  They are so excited to take part and take it very seriously. We even had someone travel over from Georgia in the US.  

    For the professional panels, we invited the wider trade, including more buyers, sommeliers and wine retailers, to keep things fresh and relevant.  You can see some of the professional judges here.

    Some of the professional judges that took part in the People’s Choice Wine Awards

    Anything else about the wine awards we need to know about?

    As the competitions have grown so much in the past few years, we now work with Sensible Wine Services to handle logistics and they also help during the judging sessions.  For the wider PCDA business, this has been a significant moment for us and a very positive sign that things are going in the right direction.  It also means Judy Kendrick and I can focus on building on our success and, as always, we’ve got some exciting things in the pipeline – watch this space.

    We were asked by The Fairtrade Foundation if we would consider creating a new wine category, as part of their sponsorship. Drink Fairtrade (as the category is now known) was the most popular in terms of entry numbers, so much so, we have split this into White and Red (so two sets of finalists and two winners).

    We gave bursaries to reduce the cost of entering The Great Outdoors category, for canned wine producers.  This category encourages ‘portable wines’ for outdoor occasions and we’ve again had to split the category, due to the sheer number of entries of all colours and styles.

    As you might imagine, canned wines, no and low alcohol and vegan wines were ‘trending’ in the competition – which reflects the wider appetite for these sorts of products. 

    Round one judging with some of the consumer judges. Picture by Roxanne Deese.

    Our Best Retailer category shortlist will be announced very soon (using the same link above).  This year, our Round 2 professional panel put forward suggestions for the shortlist.  The finalists will each receive a social media graphic to circulate and attract consumer votes for their company – as always, this is split into:

    Wine Supermarket of the Year 2022

    Best Independent Wine Retailer 2022

    Best Online Wine Retailer 2022

    We collect the votes, including comments, which can be used by the retailers for future promotional purposes (with permission of the voter).  

    The companies with the most votes will win the category and the announcements will be made at the Awards Ceremony in Manchester.

    The judges that took part in round 2 judging in Manchester. Pic copyright Phil Tragen 2021

    What can we look forward to at the People’s Choice Wine Awards 2022 in Manchester on April 25?

    We are thrilled to have Amelia Singer and Kate Goodman back to host the event, in The Stoller Hall, Manchester – the same place where we hosted the Spirits Awards.  It has just the right atmosphere and is perfect for our informal celebration of all things wine.  This won’t be a formal black-tie event and is a quite simply a great night out.  It is a perfect way to relax, meet friends and network with the wider wine trade, whilst tasting the finalist wines and eating delicious South Asian food from Cachumba, served by the chef, Seema and her family.  

    Despite being a Britain’s Got Talent finalist, we are lucky to have our mate Steve Royle as the hilarious MC – so expect a good dose of comedy and probably some juggling too.

    Finally, there will be live music, so we are encouraging everyone to pack their flat shoes.  

    Any entries for The Story Behind the Label Video competition, sponsored by The Buyer?

    We have four fantastic, shortlisted films to screen at the event, as part of the Awards presentation.  For those who don’t know about this exciting category, we ask all entrants if they would like to create a two-minute film, which tells ‘The Story Behind The Label’.  Something which illustrates the sheer hard work and passion which goes into producing the wines we all love.  There are some very strong contenders this year – it will be difficult to select a winner we think.  The category is free to enter and the winner is determined on the night, with a live vote from those in the room.

    The London Round 2 judges

    How do people get a ticket for the Awards ceremony on April 25?

    Tickets are £65pp and we’ve created a ticket link here.

    What next for the People’s Choice Drinks Awards competitions?

    All finalist and medal winning wines for 2022, will be added to the Drinks Finder on the website.  This innovative search facility is designed to drive consumer traffic, through the website, to select the best wines, using 8 of the most popular drinking occasions.  Each entrant will have a dedicated page which shows:

    • An image of the bottle/box/can
    • The placing in the competition (Finalist/Bronze/Silver/Gold Commended/Winner)
    • Round 1 and Round 2 judges’ comments
    • A direct stockist hyperlink (where to buy)

    In addition to the valuable certificates, medal stickers, ongoing promotion and social media support for the best wines, this unique promotional tool is included within the submission fee.  We are also working with a PR agency this year to promote the Drinks Finder in consumer publications.

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