The IWC judges named Alain Rogier from Cave De Roquebrun its Red Winemaker of the Year. The chief executive and winemaker of the Languedoc-based winery oversaw a vintage year of success at the competition, with the vineyard receiving two trophies, five gold medals, nine silver and nine bronze medals.
Kym Schroeter of Penfold’s Wines picked up the prize for IWC White Winemaker of the Year. Winemaking is in the blood of this Australian winemaker, having followed in the footsteps of his father, uncle and brother by joining Penfold Wines in 1987. Since 2003, he has focused on the company’s white wine production.
Laurent Fresnet from Champagne Henriot is the IWC Sparkling Winemaker of the Year. Fresnet’s management of the Henriot cellar has breathed new life into the winery as it continues to cement its position as a powerhouse of champagne production.
Manuel Lozano, who heads up the team at sherry producer, Emilio Lustau, received the title of IWC Fortified Winemaker of the Year for the sixth consecutive year. The success of this world-class sherry winery is largely due to the blending abilities of cellarmaster, Lozano.
Hans Tschida from Weingut Hans Tschida isthe Sweet Winemaker of the Year for the fifth time at the competition. The Austrian winemaker operates 30 hectares of vineyards in Illmitz and has been making world-class wines since 1993.
A life devoted to wine
This year’s IWC Lifetime Achievement award went to Sylvain Pitiot, the long-standing manager and technical director of the Clos de Tart estate in Morey-St-Denis in Burgundy. Pitiot stepped down from his role at the vineyard at the end of 2014, having spent nearly 20 years in the position. In that time, Pitiot improved the wine production at Clos de Tart, a 7.5-hectare, Grand Cru monopole vineyard owned by the Mommessin family.
The IWC Personality of the Year went to Hans Joachim ‘Joe’ Wadsack. Co-host of BBC Two’s ‘Food and Drink’ – Wadsack hosts tastings all around the globe, and has been a panel chair for the IWC for a decade.
The IWC also awarded its ‘Planet Earth Awards’ to winemakers who prioritise sustainability.
For the second year in a row, Spanish producer Alta Alella Domaine de la Vougeraie received the IWC Best Organic Wine trophy, this time for its Alta Alella AA Mirgin Gran Reserva 2010 Cava.
Auckland vineyard Man O’ War received the IWC Sustainable trophy for its Gravestone Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon 2013.
The IWC Biodynamic Trophy went to EQ Syrah 2012 by Matetic Vineyards. The intense, striking colour of this Syrah was described by the judges as “David Hockney meets Pablo Picasso”. A Syrah for all seasons, the EQ 2012 won a gold medal and the San Antonio Valley Syrah trophy at the IWC 2015.
De Bos Sauvignon Blanc 2014 produced by Bosman Family Vineyard got the IWC Fairtrade Award.
The responsibly produced wines at the IWC are tasted blind just like any other IWC entrant: when tasting the wines, the judges are not aware that the wines are responsibly produced. The wine scores are examined later and the award goes to the highest rated wine in each category.