Monday, 13 May 2013

IWC 2013: What do the Results Mean for Consumers?

The 30th International Wine Challenge took place over the last few weeks and the results were released this morning, with more gold medals awarded than ever before.

We could wax lyrical for hours about why France still wins more medals than any country, which big brands missed out, or how many more medals one merchant won than another, but we're not sure what good that would do you.

Instead we're asking: what do the results mean for everyday consumers? Here are some tips that might alter your spending habits:

  • Have faith in your own opinion: it's important to remember the results are not the be-all and end-all of whether a wine is any good or not. There are plenty of gold medals we don't enjoy drinking, and plenty of silvers and bronzes we'll never stop buying, so it's important to trust your own opinions rather than letting someone else do the thinking for you.

  • Supermarket and merchant own-label wines are doing better than ever this year. We often look at 'Tesco's own Cava' etc and think it's a poor man's alternative, not to be trusted, or at best to be tolerated as all we can afford. Not so. Own-label wines (particularly the Finest Extra Special Taste the Difference ranges) buck the trend of most own-label products in supermarkets: the buyers work hard to find a wine good enough to risk putting their beloved brand's name on the label, and often have to develop longterm relationships with the winemakers involved to ensure consistency in quality and competitive pricing.

    The result is a range of wines that are often really good examples of their respective regions, with generally pretty good value and an easy-drinking, crowd-pleasing character. The IWC results - in which 30 supermarket label wines won gold this year - show these are often a safe bet - in particular (but certainly not exclusively) wines at the higher end of their price range.

  • Go off the beaten track: we've long been champions of this, but the IWC 2013 results show it really is worth exploring countries you'd never normally associate with wine production. Japan won gold, Slovakia won silver, and Brazil won an impressive range of silver and bronze medals - and this is only the tip of the iceberg.

    If you love wine, you should be trying new things all the time - the fact that many of these newer styles and improving methods in countries worldwide are now winning awards is just another reason not to let your opinions stagnate.

  • Look on your own doorstep - English wines won an impressive four gold and 19 silver medals this year. Names like Ridgeview, Camel Valley, Chapel Down, Nyetimber, Gusbourne and Denbie's have all earned their place in the world, but we have to champion our own country's production as much as the leading winemaking countries in the world. As these results show, we've got plenty to shout about.

What do you think of the results? Will they change what you buy this summer?

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