The Buyer
Why everyone’s a winner at the People’s Choice Wine Awards

Why everyone’s a winner at the People’s Choice Wine Awards

The People’s Choice Wine Awards are unique. They are worth going to even if you are not up for an award. Where else can you go to a wine awards evening in the same clothes you were wearing in the day? Get the chance to sample all the finalists wines with a glass in one hand and a slice of pizza in the other. These are the awards for the people, organised by those who put having fun at the top of the agenda for a night out. But it’s also a chance to reward wines that have been tasted and voted for by the consumers who buy them.

Richard Siddle
4th February 2020by Richard Siddle
posted in Insight,

A stand up comedian juggling guitars and table tennis balls is not the normal way wine awards are handed out, but they are at the People’s Choice Wine Awards.

The People’s Choice Wine Awards are the only major UK wine competition that has its awards night outside of London. And it’s as fresh as the air on a cold early February night in Manchester.

It’s hard to capture just what a great night out the People’s Choice Wine Awards is unless you go for yourself. It is genuinely an event you would happily go to even if you are not up for an award, or handing one out.

Who’s up for a good night out? The mood was set by the fun and excellent host Steve Royle

Its got northern soul running through its veins. It’s also hard to believe that this is only the third year of a competition dreamt up by Janet Harrison, a local Manchester PR consultant who thought there must be a different way of recognising wine than all the blind tastings made up purely of wine trade professionals.

It was her vision to have an awards that put the consumer, the average wine drinker at the heart of its competition. Yes, it does involve some wine experts, but every wine that ends up on a shortlist for an award will have been tasted by panels of every day wine drinkers.

She now runs the awards with co-organiser Judy Kendrick who has used her experience and standing in the trade to attract more entries and open it up to more potential suppliers and distributors.

The People’s Choice Wine Awards has had such an impact in its small time that this year’s awards saw consumer judges fly in from as far afield as Vietnam to take part.

All about having fun

Awards founder Janet Harrison kicks off the night’s event

Just the venue is a good enough place to start to understand the kind of night you are in for. There is no need to pack a tuxedo or a party dress for these awards. Just jeans will do for the Comedy Store in downtown Manchester for a night co-hosted by the fun comedian, Steve Royle, and wine’s very own Kate Goodman, owner of Reserve Wines in the north west and Amelia Singer from The Wine Show.

The mood for the night is very in keeping with an awards that does not take itself too seriously, but is also very serious about the wines it shortlists and gives prizes too. After all if you pick up an award here you already know it is going to go down well with the public as they helped vote for it.

It also attracts a roll call of big hitters from across the industry from Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Aldi, The Wine Society, Booths, Louis Latour, Concha y Toro, Wakefield Wines, Graham Norton Wines, to name just a few of the winners and finalists on the night.

The awards attracted double the number of entries on the year before and saw more of the major supermarkets take part. Booths was the stand out winner on the night picking up the Supermarket of the Year awards. There was also more entries from importers, but also direct from producers, many of whom were there on the night. US winery, Double Canyon, for examples was shortlisted in the five categories it entered and came out winners in two.

The other ‘highest scoring’ winer was Bird in Hand, situated in the Adelaide Hills, imported by Seckford Agencies.

Feel the passion

Co-hosts for the night were The Wine Show’s Amelia and Reserve Wines’ Kate Goodman joined here by legendary cartoonist Tony Husband who created exclusive wine based cartoons for every category

One of the highlights of the night was a new video category called ‘Wine Passion: The Story Behind the Label’ where seven finalists each told the story of their wine business with a range of high and low quality production. It was very much the hand hold, video on the iPhone approach that won the day for arguably the most popular winner of the night, Tom Hunt of Paso Primero Wines. He was cheered on to the stage to pick up his award from Joe Fattorini, presenter of the sponsor The Wine Show.

Each of the videos will not be featured on The Wine Show’s own YouTube channel.

Harrison said the new video category was a “no-brainer” for the awards: “I was thinking – what is it that gets people animated about wine? I also remember the first time I visited a producer.Standing with them and hearing about the sheer hard work, passion and commitment (often at great personal cost) they put into every glass we drink is amazing. Trying to communicate all this on a front and back label is near impossible – hence the award”.

The People’s Choice Wine Awards has also now branched out to have its own podcast ‘Open Up & Pour’ with two episodes now available to download. In keeping with the awards it is very much an informal chat between Harrison and Kendrick and industry insiders. A way for them to express their love for wine in a way that appeals to wine fans whether they are a keen enthusiast or an expert.

If it’s only a tenth as good as its awards night then it has to be a must listen. Here are all the winners and finalists on the night.

Winners and Categories

David Cartwright of Seckford Wine Agencies picks up the Out of the Ordinary award for Darling Cellars Chocoholic Pinotage sponsored by The Buyer

Mindful Drinking
Moscato d’Asti, Elio Perrone, 2018, submitted by: The Wine Society

Fabulous Fizz – Sparkling Wine Rest of the World
Graham Beck Brut Rosé NV, Graham Beck, NV
Submitted by: Bibendum Off Trade

Fabulous Fizz – Sparkling Wine (UK)
Sparkling Brut Rosé, Lyme Bay Winery, Non-vintage
Submitted by: The Lyme Bay Winery

Fabulous Fizz – Best Champagne
Les Pionniers NV Champagne Brut, Piper Heidsieck,
Submitted by: Co-op

Girls Night In
Bird in Hand Rose, Bird in Hand, 2019
Submitted by: Seckford Agencies

The Great Outdoors
Vandra Sauvignon Blanc, Boutinot, 2018
Submitted by: Boutinot

Food Friendly Wines – White for Easy Weekday Meals

Paul Schaafsma of Benchmark Drinks picks up Sir Ian Botham’s award

Botham 76 Series Margaret River Chardonnay 2018, Botham Wines, 2017
Submitted by: Benchmark Drinks Ltd

Food Friendly Wines – White for Aromatic/Asian Cuisine
The Society’s Exhibition Alsace Gewurztraminer, Famille Hugel, 2015
Submitted by: The Wine Society

Unsigned Talent – White
Jacques Chaput Brut Tradition, Champagne Jacques Chaput, 2014+2015
Submitted by: Champagne Jacques Chaput

Treat Yourself – White (two winners)
La Penombre Blanc, Sud de France, Arte Potendi, 2018
Submitted by: Arte Potendi

McGuigan The Shortlist Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, 20
Submitted by: Australian Vintage

War of the Rosés
Casillero del Diablo Rosé, Casillero del Diablo, 2018
Submitted by: Concha y Toro UK

Boxing Clever
Co-op Fairtrade Argentine Red Blend, La Riojana, 2018
Submitted by: Kingsland Drinks

Bargain Buys
Paparuda Pinot Grigio, SC Cramele Recas SA, 2018
Submitted by: SC Cramele Recas SA

Not your typical wine awards night…

Back to Nature
Co-op Fairtrade Irresistible Organic Malbec, La Riojana Co-operative, NV
Submitted by: Co-op

Vegan Friendly
Double Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills, Double Canyon, 2016
Submitted by: Double Canyon

Food Friendly Wines – Red for Easy Weekday Meals
Wakefield Taylors Shiraz, Wakefield Taylors Wines, 2018
Submitted by: Wakefield Taylors Wines

Pass the Crackers
The Society’s Saar Riesling, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, 2017
Submitted by: The Wine Society

One Man and His BBQ
Graham Norton’s Own Shiraz, Invivo & Co, 2017
Submitted by: INVIVO & Co

Unsigned Talent – Red
Vigne Vigne 50, Vinchio Vaglio Serra, 2016
Submitted by: Vinchio-Vaglio Serra

Food Friendly Wines – Red for Hearty Meals
Wakefield Taylors Cabernet Sauvignon, Wakefield Taylors Wines, 2018
Submitted by: Wakefield Taylors Wines

Treat Yourself – Red
Booths Gran Norte Rioja Reserva, Booths, 2012
Submitted by: Booths

Sweets for my Sweet
Hermits Hill Botrytis Semillon, De Bortoli, 2016
Submitted by: Marks and Spencer

Heavy Duty
Rare Pedro Ximenez, Lustau, NV
Submitted by: Marks and Spencer

Women who make wine
Double Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills, Double Canyon, 2016
Submitted by: Double Canyon

Out of The Ordinary
Darling Cellars Chocoholic Pinotage, Darling Cellars, 2017
Submitted by: Seckford Agencies

Supermarket of the Year

On-line Retailer of the Year
The Wine Society

Independent Retailer of the Year
The Whalley Wine Shop

Wine Passion: The Story Behind the Label

Paso Primero.