Results announced for Sommelier Wine Awards

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Drinks: Wines
Other: Competitions

The results for the 11th Sommelier Wine Awards have been announced, with some record-breaking individual performances, the revival of a classic grape variety and the toppling of France from the top spot.

A record number of entries – almost 3,000 – led to the highest ever medal count, with more than 120 top on-trade experts deciding which of the wines that would take their place on SWA’s coveted Gold List.

As always, the competition gave a fascinating ‘sommeliers’-eye’ take on the current trends in the wine world, with some very definite winners and losers.

Top country was Italy, which had the most Golds (69), and the highest number of awards overall, narrowly beating France and Spain. For the first time ever, South Africa was the most successful New World country, beating Australia by the slimmest of margins.

Star grape variety was Chardonnay, with an impressive 24 Golds, split evenly between Burgundy/Chablis and the New World, while a bravura performance from Greece saw the country take home as many Gold and Silver medals as Germany – and more than Austria.

Disappointments were Spain, which after several great years slightly fell back in 2017, and rosé.

The best-performing individual winery was the Marlborough producer Saint Clair, which picked up an amazing five Golds and two Silvers.

This year also saw the first medals awarded to Croatia, Japan, China and Kazakhstan.

‘It’s great to see new styles and new countries emerging, alongside established producers playing out of their skin,’ said competition director, Chris Losh. ‘These are the kind of bottles that can really add something extra to your list. If you’re trying to get ahead of the competition, these results are absolutely the best place to start.’


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About Author

Chris Losh

After five years working on My Weekly magazine (during which time he learned how to write horoscopes and make things out of mince) in 1995 Chris Losh entered the world of drinks writing and, despite all advice from his doctor – and the wishes of most South African winemakers – has stayed there ever since. He began on Wine and Spirit International, editing it for several years before moving on to edit Wine Magazine. Both publications have since gone the way of the Dodo, but he claims to have nothing to do with their demise, and his alibi appears solid, since he was freelance writing for anyone who would pay him at the time. In 2007, he helped to set up both Imbibe magazine and the Sommelier Wine Awards, and has spent much of the last three years eating, drinking, and listening to French sommeliers talk about minerality. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Feature Writer of the Year, but didn’t win. Perhaps he should have stuck to horoscopes. And mince.

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