The first IWC China – a new international wine competition specifically designed for the Chinese market – 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.”
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.
The most successful nation in the competition was Australia, picking up 17 of the 56 gold medals 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%),” Ashton said.
Wines from across China and 19 other countries entered the competition, judged in Shanghai using the same 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.
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.
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.
China’s other golds came from China Great Wall (for its Golden Diamond Premium Collection Cabernet Sauvignon) and Xige Estate (for its Jade Dove Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2017).
Two of France’s four gold medals came from Burgundy producer P Ferraud & Fils (for its GriotteChambertin Grand Cru 2008 and Pommard 2011), while the others came from Champagne house Nicolas Feuillatte (Vintage 2008) and Alsace’s Famille Hugel (Riesling Classic 2016).
The top 10 countries
The other gold medal-winning nations were Italy, Chile, Portugal, Canada, Georgia, Austria, and England.
The top producers include:
• Trapiche from Argentina, which scooped the Argentinian red trophy with its Iscay Malbec & Cabernet Franc 2014 and Argentinian Malbec trophy with its Broquel Malbec 2018
• The Sadie Family from South Africa’s Swartland, whose Palladius 2015 won the South African white trophy while its red wine, Pofadder 2016, was awarded a gold
• Spain’s Emilio Lustau, which proved to be the top producer of fortified wines, taking the Sherry trophy with its Emperatriz Eugenia Very Rare Oloroso NV, while its Lustau Puerto Fino NV also gained a gold
Top red wines:
• Picasso Charlemagne Veneto 2018 from Enoitalia, which won the Italian red trophy
• Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 from Pine Ridge Vineyards, which pipped Robert Mondavi’s Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville District 2014 to the USA red trophy
• La Motte Pierneef Syrah Viognier 2017, which won the South African red trophy
The top sparkling wine:
• Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2014, which won the English sparkling trophy
Top white wines:
• Dr Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett Mosel 2017, which won the Riesling trophy and German white trophy
• Chateau Mercian Iwade Koshu Kiiroka Cuvee Ueno 2017, which won the Japanese white trophy
• Old Coach Road Riesling 2017, which won the New Zealand white trophy.