English Wine Competitions

Wine is a competitive industry, and the success of a wine or how well it sells can be massively influenced by its success in wine competitions. A perfect example of this is Chapel Down Rosé Brut, which won a gold medal in the Sparkling Rosé category at the 2011 International Wine Challenge. The attention not only for Chapel Down but for the English wine industry as a whole was huge. More column inches were dedicated to English wine in 2011 than ever before. But what’s the difference between the competitions? Which is best, and what if a wine doesn’t have a medal? Put simply there are three types of competition for English wine; International, national and regional. On this site you will find wines from all three. The most recognised competitions are listed below:

International Wine Challenge (IWC)

The International Wine Challenge (IWC) is an annual competition which has been running since 1984 where it originally appeared as a feature in Wine International magazine. Each wine, now over 12,000 entries per year, is assessed blind and independently of price. Wines are scored on a points system and wines with 84 points out of 100 advance to round two, where they are tasted again and medal winners in each style are awarded.

International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC)

The International Wine & Spirit Competition is an annual wine competition founded in 1969. Each year the competition receives entries from over 80 countries worldwide. It has a two stage judging process which takes place over a six month period, consisting of blind tasting and detailed technical analysis undertaken by an independent laboratory. Entries are judged by panels drawn from 250 specialists from around the world.

Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA)

Decanter magazine is published in over 90 countries on a monthly basis. The magazine content includes news from the industry, vintage guides and wine recommendations and is responsible for the annual Decanter World Wine Awards which first started in 2004. Since then it has gained a reputation as one of the world’s most respected and influential wine competitions.

United Kingdom Vineyards Association (UKVA)

The English and Welsh Wine of the Year Competition is the only competition run by the industry for UK wine makers. Held in June each year, it is judged by a panel of Masters of Wine and is followed by a presentation of the Awards at the House of Lords in July.

Regional Competitions

The UK can be broken down in to regions, each of which having its own association which in turn has its own competition. The main region/associations are as follows:

  • East Anglian Winegrowers Association
  • Mercian Vineyards Association (Midlands)
  • South East Vineyards Association
  • South West Vineyards Association
  • Thames & Chiltern Vineyards Association
  • Wessex Vineyards Association

As you see there are an awful lot of possibilities for English wineries to gain awards, and obviously the international awards have the greatest kudos, but it is worth bearing in mind that it is not mandatory for vineyards to enter competitions. You can rest assured, however, that we have tasted all of the wines lited on this site and we only list wines we like.