Our 2024 Awards officially kicked off with the IWSC Wine Judging in Georgia. Last week, we were delighted to hold a Global Judging event in this country for the second time – after the roaring success of the 2023 judging.
This year, in partnership with the the Gurjaani Wine Festival and National Wine Agency of Georgia, the judging took place in Kakheti, Georgia’s key wine region. In addition to the wines from Georgia itself, we welcomed entries from Armenia and Azerbaijan. With over 500 entries, this year our Wine Judging in Georgia was an even bigger event.
Our judging panel was led by Master of Wine Alistair Cooper who was joined by internationally renowned on-trade and off-trade wine experts and communicators: Cat Lomax, Emma Penman, Will Hill, Georgios Iordanidis, Melania Battiston, David Kermode, Zara Serobyan and Salvatore Castano. Local Georgian judges also joined our international panel.
Georgian wines put on a brilliant performance with 285 medals awarded in total, including an impressive number of 18 golds, over 70 silvers and over 190 bronze medals.
The judges were particularly impressed by qvevri-made, orange wines which, according to our experts, showed complexity and distinctive regional character. Georgian qvevri wines received 8 gold medals and many silver and bronze awards, with the highest-scoring wine of the competition being a qvevri wine – Kardanakhi 1888 LLC Tsarapi 2020. This entry received a stellar score of 97 points and a solid gold, the judges calling it a "super star" and admiring the "golden raisins and freshly baked pastries on the nose, with warm apricots and sweet spice. A velvet palate with a complex yet silky structure of toasted nuttiness, finishing on candied oranges and balanced acidity".
Two more gold-winning qvevri wines received impressive scores of 96 points from our judges: LTD Kakheti Company Bedoba Orange 2021 ("complex and layered with wonderful precision. Ripe aromas of persimmon, sweet spice and ginger with a creamy yet textured palate") and Mildiani Khikhvi Qvevri Bouquet 2018 ("a wonderfully expressive and aromatic bouquet with complex layers of tart quince, honey, dried mango and orange zest").
Several gold medals were awarded to wines made of Saperavi – Georgia’s main red grape. The highest-scoring Saperavi wine also came from Mildiani Family Winery. Their Mukuzani Reserve 2018 received 96 points and a gold, the judges describing it as "richly-fruited and deliciously spicy". Mildiani Family Winery were the most decorated producer of this year's Georgian judging, with a total of 13 medals including 4 golds.
This year we saw over 50 Armenian entries take part in our Wine Judging in Georgia; about half of them were awarded with medals, including one silver and more than 20 bronzes. This shows positive change and progress happening in the Armenian winemaking said the judges, noting that wines made of Areni, Armenia’s indigenous grape, performed especially well.
We were delighted to see several Azerbaijani wines enter the competition for the first time and receive some bronze medals. With the country’s wine industry quickly growing, our judges were excited to taste some very good examples of Azerbaijani wines and are looking forward to tasting more entries from this country in the future.
Congratulations to all our winners! Full results can be viewed here.