• Restaurant & retail buyers are key to London Wine Competition

    The London Wine Competition was introduced to give producers a new event that judged their wines in the same way that consumers do. By how good they are quality wise, what they look like on shelf and how much they cost. In order to determine the wines that have got those three factors right requires professional judges with the experience of buying wines for consumers across the on and off-trades. Which is why the LWC’s judging panel is made up of Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers and leading trade buyers from the restaurant and retail industry.

    The London Wine Competition was introduced to give producers a new event that judged their wines in the same way that consumers do. By how good they are quality wise, what they look like on shelf and how much they cost. In order to determine the wines that have got those three factors right requires professional judges with the experience of buying wines for consumers across the on and off-trades. Which is why the LWC’s judging panel is made up of Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers and leading trade buyers from the restaurant and retail industry.

    mm By December 14, 2020

    The London Wine Competition has announced its team of expert judges who will be putting wines through their paces for the 2021 awards. Discounted prices are available on all wines entered by December 25.

    It’s always nice to win an award, any award. But there are prizes, certificates and gongs handed out that mean just a little more than others depending on who has decided to give them out and what the actual judging process was that determined the winners.

    Which is why the London Wine Competition has always prided itself on both the quality of the wines it gives awards to, but particularly the level of judges it works with to assess the wines that are entered.

    As the competition is focused on quality, design, packaging and value for money it requires judges that have the professional experience of analysing wines in all aspects of their commercial competitiveness.

    You can be a Gold medal winning wine in a competition that only looks at quality, but that does not mean that wine is going to be picked up off a shelf, or from a restaurant wine list if it does not offer your target customer the value for money they are looking for. Or if it does not stand out against all the other Gold medal winners down a retail aisle.

    This year’s London Wine Competition is now open for entries with all those doing so by December 24 qualifying for discounted rates.

    Judges criteria 

    Competition organiser Sid Patel explaining the judging process to the judges

    To be a judge in the competition you need to have either direct commercial buying responsibility or be a wine consultant or expert involved in the development of new wine brands or buying wine for commercial resale.

    The list of judges is drawn from leading retail chains, wholesalers, distributors, and on-trade groups across a variety of channels and disciplines including multiple retailing, convenience stores, cash and carries, specialist retailers, casual and fine dining, hospitality and the travel industry.

    Here is a selection of the line up of the judging panel that has been put together that will taste, and examine all the wines entered.

    Simon Field MW, wine consultant who was wine buyer for Berry Bros & Rudd for 10 years up to 2018.

    Svetoslav Manolev MS, head sommelier and wine buyer at Flemings Mayfair Hotel who used to be a sommelier at 67 Pall Mall.

    Barbara Drew MW, events manager at Berry Bros & Rudd.

    Christopher Delalonde MS, Head of Wines at The Dorchester Hotel

    Yves Desmaris MS, Restaurant Manager, Head Sommelier, Wine Buyer at Pied à Terre Restaurant, London

    Elizabeth Kelly MW, Master of Wine, London

    Kathrine Larsen MS, Master Sommelier, UK Sommelier of the Year 2014

    Matteo Montone MS, Master Sommelier, World best young sommelier 2019 Chaine de Rôtisseurs, Wine Director at Edition, London

    David Round MW, Master of Wine and Director at Big Fish Little Fish

    Greg Sherwood MW, Master of Wine, Senior Wine Buyer at Handford Wines

    Tim Triptree MW, International Director, Wine at Christie’s

    Demetri Walters MW, Wine Educator, Berry Bros. & Rudd

    Judging Procedure

    The wines will:

    • Initially, be tasted blind to determine its quality and drinkability. Where appropriate they will also be assessed by variety, style, region, and country.
    • Judges will then determine the value score of the wine based on the quality and its retail price.
    • The judges will then be handed the bottle or format for them to be able to assess, in detail, the design, label, and packaging and determine how well that matches up to, or complements the quality of the wine and its price point. It is how the product is perceived when placed on the wine shelf among thousands of other wines.
    • The judges can discuss the wine as a whole to help allocate scores in the three judging areas however each judge will give its independent score and a weighted average will be taken at the end.
    • The Gold winning wines and all special category wines will be re-tasted by the wine judges on the re-judging day to ensure the scoring quality.

    Scoring system
    The London Wine Competition is based on the following judging formula: Q (Quality Score) + Value Score (V) + Package Score (P) = London Wine Competition Score.

    A separate weighted score will be given for each of the three parts of the judging process (Quality gets twice the weight). The scores will be calculated with other judges for the same product on the team to give a final score from which individual prizes will be awarded.
    Quality Score: will be marked out of 100
    Value Score: will be marked out of 100
    Package Score: will be marked out of 100

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