A low alcohol French wine with 25 natural flavours, a boutique winery from Western Australia and a new wave Uruguayan producer were among the highlights at this year’s Winestars World’s Top 50 tasting.
Twelve of the UK’s leading wine buyers were on the judging panel
The Dragon’s Den-style competition aims to win listings for innovative new wines by enabling their producers to pitch their ideas to leading buyers for UK supermarkets and wine importers.
This year, Winestars World attracted nearly 100 initial entries, with 50 wineries screened using five criteria: price, packaging, wine quality, production/distribution strategy and marketing.
The top 15 – expanded from a top 10 with six wineries tied for 10th place – includes wineries from eight countries: Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, New Zealand, Uruguay, Australia and South Africa.
At this year’s London International Wine Fair, all 15 presented their wines to a panel of 12 leading UK buyers, including representatives of Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Bibendum, Enotria and Hakkasan.
Highlights included France’s Marquis de Rogemont with a 25-strong range of low-alcohol wines with natural flavours, Bodegas Abanico’s ‘high-quality one-stop shop for Spanish wine’ and Bodegas Garzon, offering top-notch Albariño, Tannat and Viognier from Uruguay.
‘It’s a wonderful opportunity to see some of the best, new, emerging talent in an efficient way, knowing that by the time they are standing in front of us they have already been screened for quality and relevance,’ said Waitrose buyer Anne Jones.
‘It’s always really exciting to see new concepts coming through that have a real energy behind them.’
‘The enthusiasm shown by the judges is what makes this event so exciting,’ said Robert Joseph, business partner in Winestars World with the idea’s creator, Catherine Monahan.
‘Our goal is to help as many wineries get listed – not to have just one winner.’
Winestars World has helped 14 wineries to gain listings over the past year, and the initiative continues later this year with the UK’s generic tastings, followed by Winestars World Argentina in September, and Prowine in China in November and in Las Vegas next April.
Written by Richard Woodard