The UK Wine Industry Celebrates Success at the International Wine Challenge 2024

The UK Wine Industry Celebrates Success at the International Wine Challenge 2024

Last night, the International Wine Challenge (IWC), the world’s most influential, impartial and rigorously judged wine competition, brought together the UK wine industry for its annual awards announcement in London. There was much to celebrate this year as businesses of all sizes were recognised in the IWC Industry Awards while England continued to cement its position as one of the world’s leading wine-producing countries.

Victory for English wine
England produced another impressive set of results in this year’s challenge, winning a total of 125 medals, 13 of which were Gold. Gusbourne was the most highly awarded English winery in the competition, taking home a total of eight medals for its red, white and sparkling wines. Gusbourne was also awarded the English Red Trophy for its Pinot Noir 2022, the only still wine from England to win a gold medal.

England came second only to France for its sparkling wines, with 88 medals awarded to English fizz. This year, it was Sussex-based winery Wiston Estate that took home the English Sparkling Trophy for its Library Collection Blanc de Blancs 2010. Further gold medals were awarded to sparkling wines from Kent, Hampshire, Sussex and the Thames Valley.

English wines judged best in show at the International Wine Challenge 2024:

  • Wiston Estate Library Collection Blanc de Blancs 2010 (Sussex).
  • Gusbourne Pinot Noir 2022 (Kent)
  • M&S Collections Hattingley English Sparkling Wine Brut 2018 (Hampshire)
  • The Grange White From Black 2020 (Hampshire)
  • Balfour Winery Leslie’s Reserve Brut NV (Kent)
  • Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Coeur De Cuvée 2016 (Kent)
  • Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2020 (Kent)
  • Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs Single Vineyard Boot Hill 2018 (Kent)
  • Gusbourne Rosé 2019 (Kent)
  • The Squerryes Partnership Brut Late Disgorged 2013 (Kent)
  • Roebuck Estates Classic Cuvée 2018 (Sussex)
  • Sugrue South Downs Cuvée Boz 2015 (Sussex)
  • Harrow & Hope Pinot Meunier 2019 (Thames Valley)

This year, 35 Industry Awards were given out to individuals and companies across the nation in recognition of the work that they do bringing the joy of wine to the UK consumer.

For the second year in a row, Liberty Wines was named IWC Agent 2024, with judges noting that “the company hasn’t rested on its laurels, showcasing more events, more agencies, and continued growth.”

Liberty was also named Specialist of the Year for both its Australian and Italian wines, and it won IWC On-Trade Wine Supplier 2024.

Majestic Wine was named IWC Large Multiple Retailer 2024, and judges praised its positive contributions to both the wine industry and society as a whole. Judges highlighted Majestic’s fantastic charity work and commendable commitment to sustainability, such as bottling in-country. Majestic also won the IWC Rosé Retailer 2024 and IWC French Specialist 2024.

Keith Blessley, Store Operations Director of Majestic, noted, “Recognition like this is invaluable, and I think the endorsement it gives for our customers is super important”.

This year’s IWC Medium Multiple Retailer 2024 went to Amathus Drinks, which impressed judges with a significant sales uplift, an excellent online solution and a wide offering, including a growing organic and biodynamic selection.

It was Lea and Sandeman who took home IWC Small Multiple Retailer 2024, and judges commended the business for its huge selection and strong focus on service, whether online, in-store, or through home delivery.

It was also recognised for its championship of Grower Champagnes and less obvious sparkling regions with the IWC Sparkling Retailer 2024 award. David Porter, Head of Operations and Buying at Lea and Sandeman, said, “We’re delighted, we’re absolutely thrilled to be recognised by the IWC and such a stringent panel. It’s the most well-regarded of all the competitions, so we’re absolutely thrilled to win three awards.”

IWC Online Retailer 2024 went to The Wine Society for the second year in a row. Judges described it as “a benchmark for online retailing,” noting its “impressive product range” and “enduring relevance in the contemporary UK wine market.”

Virgin Wines was awarded IWC Wine Club 2024, with judges noting that it was navigating a challenging wine market by keeping up with current consumer trends, for example, the introduction of lower ABV and vegan wines.

Emily Revell, PR and Outreach Manager at Virgin Wines, said, “This award means the world for the whole business. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved at Virgin Wines, and we couldn’t be happier to be recognised for everybody’s hard efforts.”

This year’s IWC Supermarket 2024 award went to Marks & Spencer, which also took home 59 medals for its wines. Tesco had a strong year, winning more medals than any other supermarket and claiming IWC Own Label Range 2024 for the second year in a row.

There was plenty more success for supermarket wines in this year’s challenge, with the Great Value Awards in particular highlighting the remarkable quality found in UK supermarket aisles. Tesco, Co-op, Asda and Spar were all recognised with a Great Value Champion Award this year.

  • IWC Great Value Champion Sweet 2024: Tesco Finest Dessert Semillon 2019
  • IWC Great Value Champion Fortified 2024: Co-op Irresistible Pedro Ximénez
  • IWC Great Value Champion Sparkling 2024: ASDA Asquith Gardens English Sparkling NV
  • IWC Great Value Champion Rosé 2024: Compagnia Ile de Beaute Corsican Rosé 2023
  • IWC Great Value Champion White 2024: Kleine Zalze Reserve Chardonnay 2023
  • IWC Great Value Champion Red 2024: Spar

There was also success for on-trade businesses, with two restaurants recognised for their outstanding wine lists. Fitzrovia-based French bistro Noizé Restaurant won the IWC Restaurant Wine List – Contemporary 2024, while it was the Clove Club in Shoreditch that took home the IWC Restaurant Wine List – Fine Dining 2024.

Head Sommelier of The Clove Club, Emer Landgraf, said on winning the award, “It’s very exciting for us; there are so many amazing wine lists in London and the whole of England, and it’s great to be recognised.”

Other awards announced on the night included:

IWC Trade Educator 2024: Bibendum
IWC Consumer Educator 2024: ThirtyFifty
IWC Single Site Retailer 2024: James Nicholson Wine
IWC Unsung Specialist 2024: Novel Wines
IWC Buying Team 2024: Jeroboams Group

The complete list of IWC UK Industry Awards winners announced on 9th July, can be seen here.

The UK Wine Industry Celebrates Success at the International Wine Challenge 2024 2

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