Australia has come out on top at the first IWC China – a new international wine competition specifically designed for the Chinese market.
The competition is being hailed as “an amazing success”, according to Chris Ashton, director of the IWC and IWC China; “It exceeded all of our expectations. Forty top international judges, led by Yang Lu, China’s only Master Sommelier, and Ken Ohashi, a Master of Wine from Japan, spent a week deciding on the best wines available in – and for – the Chinese market.”
The most successful nation in the competition was Australia, picking up 17 of the 56 Gold medals awarded. South Australia’s Kellermeister, Penfolds and Wynns Coonawarra Estate were among the wineries who were awarded.
China was as successful as France – both gaining four Gold and 20 Silver medals.
The strong showing for Australian wines, which already enjoy a good reputation for quality and value for money in mainland China, gives the country’s exports a further fillip.
“These impressive results will help to boost Australia’s market share (currently at 9%) and help it to chase down the market leader, France (currently at 14%),” Mr Ashton said.
Australia’s Gold-medal wines include:
• Penfolds Max’s Chardonnay 2015, which also won the Chardonnay Trophy and Australian White Trophy;
• Maverick Breechens Barossa Shiraz 2017, which won the Australian Shiraz Trophy and overall Shiraz Trophy;
• Wynns Coonawarra Estate’s Alex 88 Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, which won the Australian Red Trophy and Cabernet Sauvignon Trophy.
Wynns Coonawarra Estate and Maverick were among four Australian producers collecting two Gold medals. Kellermeister and Pinnacle Drinks also secured two Golds apiece.
Demonstrating the breadth and quality of wines available in China, there were Gold winners in both the sweet wine category as well as for Orange wine. Austrian Helmut Lang’s Samlin 88 Welschriesling Eiswien and Canadian Jospeh’s Estate 2012 Ice wine both picked up Golds for the sweet category, with the latter collecting the Ice wine trophy.
The Orange wine winners hailed from Japan and Georgia, with Golds awarded to Chateau Mercian’s Koshu Gris de Gris 2017, and Dugladz’s Heritage Kisi Qvevri Dry Amber 2016.
Wines from across China and 19 other countries entered the competition, judged in Shanghai using the same rigorous process as the International Wine Challenge (IWC) in London.
Co-Chair Iain Riggs AM from Australia points out that an IWC China medal-winning wine has gone through a very strict judging process. He said: “IWC China brought to China the same rigour and quality of judging that has made IWC London so famous. Having Chinese judges on the panels is an important pathway to consistent results and helping to grow the enjoyment of wine in China.
“Any wine competition is about rewarding and highlighting the best wines to the consumer. Overall quality was high with a number of wine styles imminently suited to the Chinese palate promoted in the medals.”
Nearly 20% of the entries came from the host nation, with the rest coming from producers who are already exporting to the market or looking for a distributor there.
With China set to surpass the USA as the world’s biggest wine-consuming nation, IWC China offers consumers an impartial guide to the best wines in the market.
China’s Zhongfei Winery was another double Gold medal winner, and also collected two Trophies (awarded in taste-offs between Gold medal winners in different categories). The Zhongfei Zunxiang Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 was awarded the China Cabernet Sauvignon Trophy, and the Zhongfei Zunxiang Shiraz 2016 took home the China Red Trophy.
The top 10 countries
Gold / Silver
Australia 17/ 53
China 4/ 20
France 4/ 20
New Zealand 3/ 17
South Africa 3/ 16
Spain 3/ 11
Argentina 3/ 8
USA 3/ 7
Germany 3/ 1
Japan 3/ 1
The other Gold medal-winning nations were Italy (2), Chile (2), Portugal (2), Canada (1), Georgia (1), Austria (1), and England (1).