IWSC Awards Banquet

IWSC news

Fri 27 Nov 2015

The International Wine & Spirit Competition hosts annual awards banquet at London’s Guildhall 
and reveals top trophy winners.
The International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) announced the winners of 2015 at its Annual Awards Banquet which took place at the Guildhall, London, last night. Big winners on the night included South Africa’s Kanonkop Wine Estate, Marks & Spencer, Kent’s Gusbourne Estate and London Wine Bar, Sager + Wilde. 
Celebrating its 46th year, the IWSC was the first competition of its kind and is now renowned for its rigorous seven month judging process which includes a double blind tasting and chemical analysis. Truly international in its reach, entrants are judged from all over the world by over 300 experts from 30 different countries. 
Having dedicated the best part of the last half century to the pursuit and promotion of excellence in the wine and spirit industry, the Annual IWSC Awards Banquet gathers influential figures from across the industry to celebrate the coups of the best brands and personalities of the wine and spirit world.  
The evening, which won Best Awards Event at The Conference Awards this year, included a five course banquet with winner’s wine pairings, speeches and the official presentation of its 2015 winners. It was also the culmination of the year for 2015 President, CEO of Australian Vintage, Neil McGuigan. 
Ewan Lacey, IWSC General Manager said:
“The IWSC remains true to its core objective of seeking and rewarding excellence and as another year draws to a close, it’s fantastic to meet together in recognition of the achievements which have been made. I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our winners, guests and sponsors who make evenings like tonight possible and say a big congratulations to all trophy winners.”  
Highlights from this year’s winners include:
Marks & Spencer - Retailer of the Year Award and Wine Buyer of the Year Award
This year saw a double a scoop for Marks and Spencer who picked up both the coveted Retailer of the Year and Wine Buyer of the Year Awards. This is the first time the international, multi-channel retailer has been awarded the prestigious Retailer of the year Award, recognising its innovative approach to the BWS category. Their plan to lead the market in bringing excellent products from lesser-known regions to the high street is one of the initiatives that impressed an independent panel of judges.
Michael & Charlotte Sager-Wilde - Julian Brind Memorial Trophy for Outstanding Achievement in the Wine Industry
The Julian Brind Memorial Trophy for Outstanding Achievement in the Wine Industry was awarded to Michael and Charlotte Sager-Wilde. The entrepreneurial couple have stormed London’s wine scene from wine bar pop-up to super-trendy permanent Hoxton venue, Sager + Wilde, mostly recently opening a new venue in London’s Bethnal Green, Mission, a restaurant with an already renowned wine list. 
Dennis Malcolm - Outstanding Achievement in Scotch Whisky Award
This year’s recipient for the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Scotch Whisky was Dennis Malcolm. After 54 years in the industry and stints as distillery manager for Glen Grant, Glenlivet and Brand Ambassador for Strathisla, Dennis is now Managing Director and Master Distiller at Glen Grant.
Abrie Beeslaar, Kanonkop - Winemaker of the Year Award
The prestigious, Winemaker of the Year 2015 is Abrie Beeslaar, who has been recognised for his work at Kanonkop Wine Estate, South Africa. Having received the award previously in 2008, Abrie is taking his favourite grape, Pinotage, to new realms of quality - striving for balance structure and elegance. 
Distell - Distiller of the Year Award
Distell was awarded Distiller of The Year due to their fresh approach to the spirits category. From the launch of African icon, Amarula, to today’s offering which includes Three Ships Whisky, Deanston Scotch whisky and Van Ryn’s single pot still brandy and Viceroy brandy, the company have displayed innovation, versatility and real growth.
Gusbourne Estate - English Wine Producer of the Year Award
This year’s English Wine Producer of the Year Award goes to Kent’s Gusbourne Estate, having scooped two IWSC Gold medals and one Gold Outstanding makes them the only English winery to be awarded the IWSC’s highest accolade this year. Founded in 2004, the estate focuses on three traditional champagne grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
South Downs Cellars - Independent Retailer of the Year Award
West Sussex based, South Downs Cellars, has been named Independent Retailer of the Year for its extensive variety and offering. With a fluidly growing range of wines, beers and spirits spanning both 
local and global produce and its newly launched loyalty scheme, South Downs Cellar were rewarded for consistently catering to consumers’ needs whilst adding to their repertoire and knowledge.
The Whisky Exchange - Online Retailer of the Year Award
The Whisky Exchange has been named 2015 Online Retailer of the Year for its informative, customer-centric approach. With around 3,000 single malt whiskies, 1,000 Bourbons, blended scotch and world whiskies as well as 4,000 spirits and liqueurs they stand by their aim to bring the ‘the retail experience into customers’ homes’. 
Matt Walls - Blogger of the Year Award
This year’s Blogger of the Year is Matt Walls whose industry credentials are  well known, having previously worked for Bollinger Champagne, Mentzendorff and The Sampler as well as regularly writing for Decanter, Harpers and timatkin.com. His blog (Matt Walls Wine Blog) won the top spot due to its practical approach to navigating the often complicated world of wine with tips, tricks and food pairings. 
Tyson Stelzer & Joseph Bastianich - Communicator of the Year Award
The Communicator of the year Award was awarded to two personalities this year, Tyson Stelzer and Joseph Bastianich. Tyson, is an award winning Australian writer, author, presenter and TV personality who, through his many projects, brings to life the story and people behind the wine. Joseph, who is an American restaurateur, Masterchef judge and author, has his heart firmly set on Italian food and wines. When it comes to consumers, he believes it’s all about education, whether that’s on the restaurant floor or in wine classes. 
For a full list of winners please visit www.iwsc.net
Follow up to date information @theiwsc and find out more from the night at #iwscbanquet
For further information or images, please contact Cecilia Hocking at touch PR on 020 8544 6900 or email cecilia@touch-pr.co.uk
Notes to editors
Established in 1969, The International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) was the first competition of its kind, set up to seek out, reward and promote the world’s best wines, spirits and liqueurs. Going into its 47th year in 2016, The IWSC’s relentless pursuit of excellence underpins every aspect of the competition today
What sets the IWSC apart is the formidable reputation of its judging process. Our panels of carefully selected industry experts comprise Masters of Wine, buyers, Sommeliers, WSET qualified educators 
and respected wine journalists. Every single wine is assessed on its own merits within the context of its class
Currently receiving entries from around 90 countries, the IWSC is truly international in its reach and recognition
IWSC partners around the world work throughout the year to drive awareness and promote winners to both trade and consumer audiences
With 46 years heritage, an IWSC Award is recognised internationally as a badge of quality
For the full list of winners or for more information, visit: www.iwsc.net