Award Winning Wines
Wines which are classed as "Award Winning Wines" are usually those which have been submitted into a specific organised wine competition where trained judges competitively rate different vintages, categories, and/or brands of wine. These competitions are normally conducted on an annual basis and generally use blind tasting of wine to prevent bias by the judges.
The concept of all wine competitions is to obtain valid comparisons of wines by trained experts but they do vary widely in their characteristics especially with some geared toward a specific audience (i.e. consumer awards vs. industry professionals). One of the key differences in the way wine competitions can vary is how the winning wines are ranked. In most competitions, medals are given to individual wines in various categories on the basis of the blind tasting. The awards given are frequently Gold, Silver and Bronze medals and in these competitions, it is common for more than one wine to receive any given medal. These competitions often also include a "Best in Class" or "Trophy" award, producing a clear category winner among those vintages awarded any particular medal.
There are those who argue that the results of such competitions may be misleading and should not be relied upon as a measure of quality, particularly as many famous winemakers choose not to submit their wines into these competitions. However, other commentators argue that, because of wine competitions, wine quality has improved in many countries around the world.
An "international" wine competition is a competition that accepts wines from all over the world. Competitions are generally held in one location and winemakers must ship their wines to the competition in order to be considered. There is generally an entry fee for winemakers to enter their wines into the competition. Local wine competitions only accept wines from a specific region or appellation generally because the organisers want to draw attention to their specific winemaking region, as in the Top 100 Sud de France for example.
The most popular wine competitions are:
Decanter World Wine Awards: The Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) is the world's largest and most influential wine competition. Judged by the top wine experts from around the globe, the DWWA is trusted internationally for its rigorous judging process. Discover more at DWWA
International Wine Challenge: The International Wine Challenge (IWC) owned by William Reed Business Media is now in its 36th year. The IWC is accepted as the world's finest and most meticulously judged wine competition which assesses every wine blind and judges each for its faithfulness to style, region and vintage. Throughout the rigorous judging processes, each medal-winning wine is tasted on three separate occasions by at least 12 different judges and awards include medals (Trophy, Gold, Silver, Bronze) and Commended and Great Value awards. Discover more at IWC
International Wine & Spirit Competition: The IWSC, also known as the International Wine & Spirit Competition, sets the international benchmark for quality. For half a century the International Wine & Spirit Competition has been recognising and rewarding the very best wines and spirits in the world. Today they have over 400 global experts judging the awards for seven months of the year. Discover more at IWSC
Sommelier Wine Awards: The Sommelier Wine Awards (SWA) is a wine competition with a difference. As Britain’s only on-trade wine competition, it focuses entirely on wines aimed at the on-trade. Since it started in 2007 it has grown to become the first point of reference for the UK's on-trade wine buyers as well as the key competition for wines trying to increase their presence in hotels, pubs, bars and restaurants across the world. The SWA judges all serve or buy wine for their venues in the on-trade, or are leading consultants. Wines with general distribution in the high street are not permitted to enter, except for sparkling and fortified wines, or merchants' online-exclusive wines. Discover more about SWA
The Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships: Internationally renowned champagne and sparkling wine expert Tom Stevenson launched The Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC) as a specialist wine competition to provide consumers with the definitive annual guide to the best Champagnes and sparkling wines on the planet. The CSWWC is the first competition to be judged exclusively by Champagne and sparkling wine specialists, combining the tasting prowess of three of the world's most renowned experts: Tom Stevenson, Essi Avellan MW and Dr Tony Jordan. It is the only global wine competition where every judge evaluates all wines, ensuring an unprecedented level of consistency in the medal award process. Discover more at CSWWC
Gambero Rosso: Since 1987, Gambero Rosso has published a guide to Italian wine, titled Vini d’Italia, which in a short time became the most influential guide within Italy. The Gambero Rosso wine ratings in Vini d’Italia are built upon the number of glasses (bicchieri) awarded to a wine. The highest rating is three glasses (Tre Bicchieri) and the wine guide only includes wines which are seen by the editors as "above average". The ratings are based upon blind tasting by independent experts. The guide is edited in Italian, English and German language. Three glasses indicate "extraordinary wines", Two glasses indicate "very good wines" and One glass indicates "good wines".
Concours General Agricole Paris Wine Competition: The Concours General Agricole Paris (CGA) is a French agricultural show funded and organised by the French ministries of agriculture, food, fisheries and rural affairs. The CGA is widely respected for its impartiality and rigorous judging processes; aided by its long-running success and the fact that it is government controlled. More than 15,000 wine samples are submitted to the CGA's judging panels each year by roughly 4000 of France’s winemakers. The wines are examined and rated by almost 3000 experts (one of the largest tasting panels of any wine competition in the world), who award upwards of 3500 medals each year.
Sydney International Wine Competition: The Sydney International Wine Competition (SIWC) is one of the largest and most respected wine shows in the southern hemisphere, and has grown rapidly since it was established in 1999. The SIWC stands out from most other wine competitions in that the entries are judged alongside food, reflecting the wine world’s increasing focus on food and wine matching. The very finest food-matched wines are awarded the competition’s unique Blue Gold medal.
New Zealand Wine of the Year Awards: Previously known as the Air New Zealand Wine Awards and the Bragato Wine Awards, the New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Awards is the official wine competition of the New Zealand wine industry. Based on an entirely new concept the competition focuses on issues that are important to the New Zealand wine industry and has introduced new awards such as Best Single Vineyard Wine, Best Organic Wines and Best Wine of Provenance. There is also a focus on regionality, with wines in some categories being separated out by region and judged like vs. like. This is a revamped industry awards that is looking toward the future.