Sommelier Wine Awards 2014

Tuesday, 19 November, 2013
Excitement levels are rising at SWA HQ as our team prepares for the imminent start of the 8th Sommelier Wine Awards. We are assembling our panels of top sommeliers and on-trade judges, and their palates are tingling at the prospect of tasting 2,000 on-trade focused wines, from every corner of the globe.
If you are considering entering your wines, you will have until mid-January to do so. Now is the right time to plan your strategy and think about your entries. But what will judges be looking for when compiling their 2014 Gold list?
“The Sommelier Wine Awards booklet is the best go-to guide for restaurateurs and sommeliers who need to fill the gaps on their list,” says competition director Chris Losh. “So when compiling our Gold List, it is great and great-value wines that over-deliver at all levels, which we are looking for.”

When it comes to the Essentials category (those classic styles every restaurant needs to have on their list), wines need to cover all the basics and go the extra mile, showing typicity and personality within their own style or category.

One of last year’s judges, Foni Tsouvallas from The Folly, sums it up: “Wines need to be balanced, after that, we stick to basics and look for personality and character.”

To succeed in the House Wine category, SWA tasters agree that the focus needs to be on easy-drinking, uncomplicated wines.

“House wine needs to be something that you want people to order a second bottle of,” says Olivier Marie from the Coq d’Argent. “If you have room for several entry level wines then you can play around with different styles, but the first on the list should be a good all–rounder,” adds Simon Cassina from Mondial Wine.

Marco Feraldi at St James’s Hotel and Club also comments: “People want no issue with a house white. They don’t want to be complicated by something that’s going to confuse their palate.” For Louise Gordon at the Rib Room: “House reds should be easy drinking for that second glass at the bar, without needing a glass of water or a steak.”
Last year’s tally of medals was dominated by the Old World: France, Italy and Spain. But new and emerging countries, such as Turkey, Lebanon and Slovenia, were the real surprise of the competition. The New World also threw in a few surprises, notably the revival of Australian Chardonnay. As well as food-friendliness, the common thread between all Gold medal winners was character and individuality – wherever they came from. The on-trade is ready to champion quality and loves introducing exciting wines whether or not they originate from a popular or established region. It is up to you to wow their palates with your best wines.

But whatever you do, don’t forget: you have to be in it, to win it! Think about your entry carefully and put forward an on-trade offering representative of your overall portfolio. If in doubt, contact one of our team to discuss your options.


                                    Total              Gold          Silver            Bronze

FRANCE                       193                  42             95                56

ITALY                            147                  28             70                49

SPAIN                          101                  24             35                42

AUSTRALIA                 71                   21             22                28

CHILE                              68                   18             22                28

NEW ZEALAND            49                   15             19                15

SOUTH AFRICA             43                    9              20                14

ARGENTINA                  35                    8              12                15

PORTUGAL                   34                    9              12                13

TURKEY                         20                   4               4                 12

USA                                17                   3                7                   7

GERMANY                    17                    4               7                   6

UK                                   11                    5               3                   3

LEBANON                       9                    2                2                   5

SLOVENIA                       5                    3                 0                 2