The big lesson from 2020 is whilst we have mostly been restricted about what we can do, particularly in terms of travelling, and holding live events and tastings, it has not been an excuse to stand still. Here’s how the London Wine Competition has brushed itself down and come back for its 2021 awards with a host of new initiatives to take the event to the next level.
The London Wine Competition was first introduced at the end of 2017 and has since gone on to offer a very different kind of awards platform for producers and their suppliers, as Richard Siddle explains.
The London Wine Competition prides itself on thinking and acting like the consumers that are going to end up buying the wines that win the top awards in the event. It’s why from the day it was founded it has been constantly looking to listen and adapt its offer so that it is giving producers, suppliers and importers clear and compelling reasons to enter their wines.
The first, and most important, is how the competition is run. It has three, but highly effective and different judging criteria to the majority of other international wine events.
Wines are judged in three ways:
* for their quality
- for their value for money
- and for what what they look like.
The three most crucial factors that determine what wines end up in someone’s supermarket trolley or on their table when eating and drinking out.
But to do that you need to have top quality judges that not only know a quality wine when they taste one, but can also recognise their value for money for the part of the market they want to compete in and whether they look and have the right decision and packaging to appeal to that target audience.
That’s why the London Wine Competition looks to only use judges with direct buying responsibility or have had experience of making the tough commercial decisions that decide what is listed or not, many of whom are Masters of Wine or Master Sommeliers.
For the 2021 awards it has added to its already strong panel of judges the following four leading names:
- Simon Field MW, wine consultant who was wine buyer for Berry Bros & Rudd for 10 years up to 2018.
- David Round MW, wine buying consultant, with Round About Wine who has experience of working at Jascots Wine Merchants and Bancroft Wines.
- 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.
They join previous judges including:
- Anne Jones MW, BWS category manager at Waitrose.
- Tim Tiptree MW, international director at Christie’s.
- Demetri Walters MW, wine consultant and also formerly of Berry Bros & Rudd.
London Drinks Guide
The other big innovation for the London Wine Competition this year is how it now has a dedicated consumer drinks website in order to help promote and tell the stories of the winners in the competition.
The London Drinks Guide was launched this year to give a platform to help producers get closer to their prospective customers with news, views and product reviews on where the winning wines can be found in bars and restaurants across London.
It is also a new site for wine and drinks enthusiasts to find out more about the kinds of wines – and beers and spirits – that they might like to drink and where to go to find them.
Sid Patel, founder of the London Drinks Guide and the three separate London Competitions for wines, beers and spirits, said: “We know from talking to the producers, brand owners and distributors that support our awards that the true challenge comes not when you enter your products, but once you know they have win a prize. How do you go out and tell your target audience about them. That is what the London Drinks Guide is there to do and has already successfully built a close community of engaged readers who are keen to learn and discover more about thew wines, beers and spirits that do well in our competitions.”
It is not just online where winners in the London Wine Competition can expect to be supported. Producers can now take advantage of using the tasting notes of the judges in the competition. Every entrant will have the opportunity to download and use those tasting notes in their marketing and promotional activity.
They will also be able to go on to the London Wine Competition website and download shelf talkers free of cost that will include their scores and tasting notes.
All a producer has to do take advantage of all these new initiatives is to enter their wines into the competition.
How to enter
The entry process for the 2021 awards is now open and runs through to February. Anyone entering their wine before November 30 can take advantage of early day pricing and pay. Here are the main dates and prices.
Early Bird Ends – November 30, 2020
Registration Ends – February 20, 2021
Warehouse Closes: February 26, 2021
Judging Date: March 15, 2021
Winners Announced: March 30, 2021
£95 Early Bird – to November 30, 2020
£110 Regular – December 1 to February 20, 2021
To enter click here.