Aussie wines win big at IWC 2016

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Wine-tasting at Penfolds cellar door: Australian wine label Penfolds was one of the big winners at the 2016 IWC in London.
Wine-tasting at Penfolds cellar door: Australian wine label Penfolds was one of the big winners at the 2016 IWC in London.
Andrew Moor, Flickr CC

Australian wines continue to impress judges at international wine contests, most recently taking out the second highest number of medals at the International Wine Challenge in London.

Australia netted a total of 815 medals at the IWC 2016 in May: 80 Gold, 375 Silver and 360 Bronze – to finish second overall on the leader board after France.

With 51 Gold medals, popular Aussie red varieties shiraz and cabernet sauvignon garnered the strongest recognition at this year’s global Challenge. The 29 whites that won Gold spanned a range of grapes, including Riesling, Semillon, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc.

Winning Aussie wine labels

Wolf Blass Wines scooped seven Gold medals – three for Shiraz, two for Cab Sauvs and two for Rieslings – including a trio of wines from its aptly-named ‘Gold Label’ range. Wolf Blass also got a pair of Gold medals for two vintages of the same wine: Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz 2012 and 2014.

McGuigan Wines scored a handful of Gold, including three winning medals for McGuigan. The Shortlist Eden Valley Riesling in its 2008, 2009 and 2010 vintages, highlighting the producer’s consistency despite variations in the vintage; and two for Semillons.

Penfolds also won five Gold medals including two for Chardonnays: the Penfolds Bin 14A Chardonnay 2014 and Bin 311 Chardonnay 2014. Penfolds RWT Barossa Valley Shiraz 2013 also got Gold.

In a first for the competition, two Australian wineries, both from the Adelaide Hills district, won Gold for wines made from Montepulciano, a grape variety native to Italy. Bird in Hand Montepulciano 2014 and Montepulciano d’Adelaide Hills 2014 by Mr. Riggs both won Gold, making 2016 the first year in which any non-Italian Montepulciano has taken out Gold at the IWC – let alone two of them.

While the vast majority of Gold medals awarded to Australian entries were for dry wines, 11 sweet wines also got Gold, including three from Victoria-based Morris Wines.

Quality and diversity make Aussie wines world-class

Wine Australia Head of Market UK and Europe, Laura Jewell MW, said Australia’s success in this year’s IWC was an indication of the strong and ongoing potential for Australia’s wines in premium markets, and recognition of our viticultural quality and diversity.

“We are delighted that the outstanding quality of Australian wine has once again been recognised with significant accolades at the prestigious IWC,” Jewell said.

“The success of Australian wines at the IWC and other leading competitions reflects the high regard judges have for our wines internationally, and is a testament to the hard work and passion of our winemakers.”

“It’s wonderful to celebrate the recognition of our alternative varieties, with the IWC awarding Australian wines made from a wide range of grape varieties and in a variety of styles.”

IWC Co-Chairman Charles Metcalfe was enthusiastic about this year’s entries from Down Under, and praised Australia’s success across the spectrum of wine styles.

“Our winemaking friends down under have put in a fantastic array of wines at this year’s competition,” he said.

“Many producers have been really successful with several different grape varieties, and maintaining consistency across vintages. Many of these Gold medal winners have very modest price tags, and that shows you can get fantastic Aussie wine to suit any budget.

“A phenomenal performance overall.”

For further information, including a complete list of this year’s International Wine Challenge medal-winners, visit the IWC website.

2016 a big year in awards for Aussie wines

The impressive results at this year’s IWC aren’t the only accolades our homegrown wines have received this year. They follow Australia’s successful showing at the Sommelier Wine Awards in April, at which wines from Down Under took out 158 awards, including one Critics’ Choice and two Food Match trophies.

We’re excited to see how Australia’s wines go in this year’s upcoming Decanter World Wine Awards, due for publication on the Decanter website on Monday 6 June.

Hot winemaker heads-up: get your entries in for the IWSC

Winemakers with global gold aspirations might want to enter their top drops in the next International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC).

Don’t muck about: the deadline for Australian entries is Tuesday 2 August 2016 and winners will be announced in September.

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