France top in International Wine Challenge

12 May, 2009

France has retained its top spot in the International Wine Challenge.

The results were revealed today (Tuesday) at the London International Wine Fair.

France came top with 49 medals, closely followed by Australia awarded 43 Golds and in third place Portugal collecting 36 Golds. France also topped the medal board overall with a total of 729 medals, with Australia taking 591 and Italy commanding third position with 405. The English wine category overall continued to show improved form with a record 24 medals in total and an exceptional result for English winemaking legend Bob Lindo’s Camel Valley Bacchus 2007 which was the only English wine to win Gold at this year’s competition. 

The competition received entries from a record 41 countries, the judges awarded 304 Gold medals, up 13% on last year, 1,304 Silvers and 2,154 Bronzes, making a total of 3,458 medals.

 The results demonstrated the growing strength of non-traditional wine producing countries with Denmark taking its first Silver medal for Don’s Orion Brut 2007 and Mexico for Casa Madero Shiraz 2007, Vinicola San Lorenzo which collected a Bronze. New player for 2009, Holland, received a Commendation for Achterhoekse Wijnbouwers, Solaris Barrique 2007.

 With a 20% increase in Sake entries year on year it was the most successful year for the Japanese category to date. Among the 18 Golds awarded, the style of Junmai Daiginjo impressed the judges the most taking almost half the country’s Golds with a tally of eight.

 British supermarkets once again shone in the medal table with Waitrose leading the field with an impressive 209 medals including six for English wines.  Last year's IWC Merchant of the Year winner, Marks and Spencer, impressed the judges with nine Golds.  Tesco took 18 medals including four Golds and both Sainsbury's and ASDA showed their commitment to the wine fixture with a tally of 47 and 48 medals respectively. 

Andrew Reed, Managing Director of William Reed Business Media, said: "Success at the IWC is the ultimate reward for top wines at all price points from around the globe and provides recognition and assurance for the wine trade and among consumers who can enjoy experimenting with confidence." 

The 304 wines awarded Gold medals will undergo a further rigorous blind tasting and those elevated to trophy status will be announced in June.

Judges include Tim Atkin MW, Charles Metcalfe, Sam Harrop MW and Derek Smedley MW. For more information visit


Nick Strangeway

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