The London Wine Competition goes into its fifth year very much on the front following the 20% increase in entries for the 2021 awards, with entries coming in from 36 countries around the world. It is now looking to specifically target the UK supplier base for entries with special early bird pricing for any supplier, distributor, importer or branded drinks company that enters before August 31, 2021. Here’s how to enter.
Here are the strong commercial reasons why it makes sense to enter the London Wine Competition 2022.
The London Wine Competition has made such a name for itself in such a short period of time for three key reasons. All wines are judged using the same three criteria the average shopper uses when deciding what bottle of wine to buy: how much it costs; what the bottle and label looks like; and what it tastes like – does the quality match up to the price and look and feel of the wine.
It’s that unique judging criteria that makes Anne Jones, category manager for beers, wines and spirits, at Waitrose, want to take part: “Out of all the competitions I judge for, the LWC is unique in assessing wines in the context of both the liquid in isolation as well as in the context of how a shopper would see it.”
Matteo Furlan, head sommelier, The Ritz agrees: “It is the right concept and way to do it.”
It means any wine that wins a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal in the competition has not just been benchmarked for its quality, like all the other major international competitions do, but have also been judged for their commercial strength too, in terms of the their pricing, value for money and likely appeal to consumers to pick up and buy.
That’s what sets the London Wine Competition apart. It rewards and singles out wines that deserve their place on any supermarket shelf or top wine list. It’s why for the 2022 competition the organisers are particularly keen to appeal to the wine suppliers, the importers, the distributors, the brand owners who are making decisions every day about the commercial value and strength of the wines in their range.
“The top importers and distributors play such an important role in the wine industry,” says Sid Patel, chief executive of the Beverage Trade Network and founders of the London Wine Competition.
“They are effectively every day taking the same decisions and assessing wines and producers in the same way our judges do in the competition. Has a particular wine got the quality to succeed in the UK market? Is at the right price point for that quality of wine? And does it look right? Has it got the killer look, design and packaging to make a consumer stop, and pick it up offthe shelf.”
He adds: “The wines the top importers and distributors have in their portfolios will have had to meet their exacting standards and passed the commercial tests to succeed in the UK market. Those are the wines we want to attract and why we are so keen to reach out to those suppliers and importers to enter them into the competition.”
Barbara Drew MW at Berry Bros & Rudd says the fact the competition is so commercially focused makes it such an important event for wine merchants, and buyers in the trade. She explains: “The inclusion of packaging and design in the assessment sets this competition apart. I think the wine trade places too much emphasis on rating wines entirely ‘blind’. The truth is, few, if any consumers drink wine blind – the bottle, and the label are the first thing consumers see. What’s in the bottle is undoubtedly vital, but what’s on the bottle matters too.”
Here are some of the other key reasons why the London Wine Competition is so relevant to importers, suppliers and distributors:
- Every judge has be currently employed in a front line job in the wine industry and where possible have direct buying responsibility or be involved in commercial decision making.
- The 2021 judging panel included 15 Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers, with each panel of judges having at least one MW or MS judge and a female judge as part of their judging team.
- It attracts entries from all over the world ensuring wines are being assessed against the best in their category with 36 countries taking part in 2021.
- The 2021 competition also saw wines entered that covered 135 different varietals of which there were a Super Six made up of: Shiraz; Cabernet Sauvignon; Chardonnay; Merlot; Tempranillo; and Sauvignon Blanc. Wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon made up the most number of Gold medals.
- Wines are judged on a 100-point scale. With different scores out of 100 given by each judge for its quality, value and packaging. Gold medals are given for wines scoring 90 to 100 points; Silver for scoring 76-89 points; and 65-75 points for Bronze.
- With Gold Medals for Spirits that scored 90+ points were awarded Gold medals, while spirits that scored 76 to 89 points were awarded Silver medals and spirits between 65 and 75 were awarded Bronze.
- Medal winners have the opportunity of being featured and promoted on the London Drinks Guide, a dedicated editorial platform set up to support the producers, importers and distributors that enter the London Wine Competition.
- The London Wine Competition is one part of the three London Competitions that also includes the London Beer Competition, the London Spirits Competition, all organised by the Beverage Trade Network.
Entering the 2022 Competition
Any importer, supplier or distributor that enters from now until August 31 can take advantage of super early bird pricing. The awards are also now open for all entries.
Pricing 2022 awards
- £75 Super Early Bird – May 1 to August 31, 2021
- £95 Early Bird – September 1 to Nov 30, 2021
- £110 Regular – Dec 1 to Feb 28, 2022
New Quantity Discount Available
- 4 to 9 entries: 10% discount
- 10 to 14 entries: 15% discount
- 15 or more entries: 20% discount
Key deadlines deadlines 2022 awards
- Super Early Bird Ends – August 31, 2021
- Registration Ends – Feb 28, 2022
- Warehouse Closes: March 4, 2022
- Judging Date: March 21, 2022
- Winners Announced: April 5, 2022