It is the Olympics of wine and New Zealand has shown that quality not quantity is the key to medals success. The 2012 International Wine Challenge (IWC) awarded New Zealand wineries 26 Gold medals, an increase of almost 25% year on year, which placed New Zealand as the 6th most-awarded wine producing country in the world.
Delegat's Wine Estate and Mills Reef Winery led the way for New Zealand wineries each picking up two of the highly coveted Gold medals. New Zealand wines were also awarded an impressive 100 Silver medals, 166 Bronze medals and 168 Commended awards.
New Zealand wines were also rated as the 'cleanest' wines in the world - Kiwi entries had the lowest incidence of wine faults such as cork taint or oxidation compared with entries from 49 other countries. With more than nine out of ten bottles of New Zealand wine sealed under screwcap, the aluminium closure industry will be claiming victory over their natural cork rivals.
The 29th IWC saw 425 Gold medals awarded (the highest Gold medal tally in the history of the IWC) with winning wines selected from a record 50 countries. For the first time, entries were received from Colombia and Bosnia and Herzegovina with the latter awarded one Silver and two Bronze, establishing them as emerging contenders for quality wine production.
Charles Metcalfe, Co-Chairman of the IWC, says: "The IWC is the most prestigious and influential wine contest in the world. Its global reputation means that winning an award is a tremendous achievement, and brings the award-winning wine to the attention of an international audience. The quality of the entries from established and emerging wine producing nations is testament to the unrivalled credibility and standing of the IWC."
Here are some of the highlights from this year's results:
Record number of 50 countries entered the competition
Over 376 different grape varietals
4,777 total medals awarded
o 425 Gold medals
o 1,637 Silver medals
o 2,715 Bronze medals
Plus a further 3,488 Commended wines
The top three Gold medal-winning nations for 2012 are reigning champions France with 120, Australia 69 and Portugal 55
France topped the medal board overall with a total of 1,136 medals, while Australia came second with 673 and Portugal third with 444
Celebrity medal successes include:
o Straight from Her Majesty the Queen's Jubilee lunch and the Prime Ministers reception at 10 Downing Street, is British, Gold medal Camel Valley Brut 2010
o American film director, producer and screenwriter, Francis Ford Coppola, scooped 3 Bronze awards for Rubicon
o French rugby star Gerard Bertrand scored high with 2 Gold medals for his Domaine De Villemajou 2010 and Grand Terrior Pic Saint Loup 2010
o Professional golfer Ernie Els got a whole in one when he picked up 3 Silver medals for his Ernie Els Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Ernie Els Proprietor's Blend 2010, Ernie Els Proprietor's Syrah 2010
Charles Metcalfe adds: "Medal winning wines have the guarantee of being tasted by some of the world's best, most impartial tasters. So the consumer can be guided and reassured by the IWC logo when it comes to selecting wines of quality and character."
Over 400 experienced judges, including many Masters of Wine, meticulously tasted the IWC's medal-winning wines, with each wine being tested at least three, and sometimes up to six, times, with marks for faithfulness to variety, country, region and vintage. Wine lovers can be confident when choosing a wine featuring the IWC logo that it has been rigorously judged.
The renowned and respected panel of Co-Chairmen - Tim Atkin MW, Sam Harrop MW, Charles Metcalfe, Derek Smedley MW, along with global wine expert and TV personality
Oz Clarke, were joined by Peter McCombie MW who takes his place on the panel for the first time this year.
Details of all the winning wines are available at the IWC's website <a href="http://www.internationalwinechallenge.com/">www.internationalwinechallenge.com</a> where you can use the search tool to find your perfect wine by grape, style and price at an outlet near you. Many medal winning wines will display the IWC logo on the bottle for easy identification.
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