Wine Contests: which ones are worthwhile?

Wine Contests: which ones are worthwhile?

The 2015 edition of the Argentina Wine Awards has been announced and so we thought we’d take this opportunity to review the major wine competitions and their medalists.

The Argentina Wine Awards 2015 competition, which will have the most important wine tasters in the world on its panel, was presented today in Buenos Aires. The competition, which focuses on export wines, is small but interesting in the constellation of medals in the wine firmament. Because if anything gives wines its global level, it is contests. Some good, others less so.

To give you a good guide to follow when it comes to wine publications in which the medals are given more importance, at Vinómanos we made a quick list of the worthwhile contests to follow.

But first, a relevant clarification: Wine competitions are not like the Olympics where there are only three medals per category. In general, they work on a points-scoring system. That is to say, after the tasting, gold will go to all wines that are within the highest 10% of the scores (or by adjustment, which is decided by the organisation) and so on. However, the Double Golds and Trophies are those best wines in each category. That said, on to the contests….

International Wine Challenge. Known worldwide by its acronym IWC, is to date the largest and most professional wine competition in the world, and is now in its 32nd year. It takes place in England and wines from around the globe are judged. Some 20 thousand samples, are tasted and tested by professionals, including rare beverages, spirits and Sake. Each medal winning wine is tasted by at least 10 different judges, and the medals are especially valuable for wine buyers in chains and wine shops around the world. Its website has a good search engine of prizes, use it here. Trophies 2014, for example, Amalaya Blanco, Gran Mascota Malbec (to be launched shortly in the Argentine market).

Concours Mondial de Bruxeles. CMB, the acronym is more famous than the name itself. A distinguished wine competition which started in 1994 in Brussels, and since 2006 has been traveling beyond its borders and has even visited Argentina. This year, however, it has returned to its hometown, where about 8000 samples from 58 wine producing countries were tasted. With a reputation for being a prestigious competition, the tasters are wine professionals and the precious CMB bottle sticker is a sign of guaranteed quality. In this link you can see the results of the latest edition. In 2014 there was no Grand Gold Medal for Argentina butthreegolds: Amadores Chardonnay, Viñalba Gran Reservado Malbec 2011 and Viñalba Reservado Malbec 2012.

Vinalies. Renowned French competition, based in Paris and in which most tasters are French winemakers, this year was on the lips of many Argentines because Famiglia Bianchi Malbec 2012 was the wine that obtained the highest score in the competition, which led to it receiving the bombastic title of “best wine in the world”. The reality is that this is a famous contest, and in its latest edition, some 3500 wines from 41 countries were involved. For a list of medals, click here.

Decanter Wine Awards. Launched in 2004 and organised by the prestigious British magazine Decanter, this contest is important for the impact it has among wine buyers in the UK, and because it aims itself at the most exclusive wines in the market. In recent years, Argentina has gained a certain prominence for wine tasters as well as for wines. At the last edition in 2014, Argentina won three Trophies: Cruzat Cuvee Reserve Extra Brut, Don David Reserve Tannat (not yet on the market) and HJ Fabre Malbec Barrel Selection. For a full list of results, click here.


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