Majestic makes it a hat-trick of IWC wine retail victories

21 September, 2007

Jago's Tesco revitalisation earns chain the top supermarket accolade

Emma Eversham

Majestic has been voted top wine retailer at this year's International Wine Challenge. The chain picked up the ultimate accolade of merchant of the year and beat Thresher to win high street chain of the year for the third year running, at the glittering awards ceremony at London's Grosvenor House Hotel.

Tesco beat off competition from Waitrose, Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer to win wine supermarket of the year - an award given to Dan Jago and his buying team for the work done to revitalise the Tesco wine range.

Judges awarded Tunbridge Wells-based Secret Cellar the small independent wine merchant award while Adnams won the award for large independent.

Other awards went to Berry Bros & Rudd for best online retailer, The Sampler in Islington for best innovator and Hatch Mansfield Agencies for best agent.

Merchants who enter the competition are assessed on 10 criteria including customer service, store layout and POS material by IWC co-chairmen Tim Atkin MW, Sam Harrop MW, Charles Metcalfe and Derek Smedley MW, along with Wines of Chile's Michael Cox, Robin Copestick of Copestick Murray, Wine & Spirit editor David Williams and Angela Mount of Wine Intelligence.

Judges also blind tasted 9,358 wines in the competition, of which 260 were awarded gold medals and 84 regional trophies. Just 19 were awarded international trophies and nine of these were selected by the co-chairmen to become champion wines.

For the first time the awards also rewarded responsible winemaking through the Planet Earth awards with Bald Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir 2005 taking the champion sustainable trophy.

Hans Tschida Samling Trockenbeerenauslese 2005 was named organic champion and Champagne Fleury Millesime 1996 took the best biodynamic trophy.

Chilean biodynamic winemaker Alvaro Espinoza was named personality of the year while Jean-Marie Chadronnier was given a lifetime achievement award.

For the full results, log on to internationalwinechallenge.com.




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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle ľ which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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