Held on Thursday 26 September, UK-based wine retailers gathered from near and far in hopes of securing a win at this year’s Decanter Retailer Awards.
Of over one hundred retailers shortlisted in 31 categories, fifty seven were called up to the stage to collect runner-up and winner certificates from Retailer Awards Chairman Peter Richards MW and judge Laura Clay, who commented:
I knew British wine retailers were special, I just hadn’t realised quite how special. Wine drinkers of the UK have never had it so good.
Wine merchants no longer just buy wine and hope to sell it. They train their staff so that they are qualified to help their customers; they run courses and tastings; they offer in-store tastings to encourage their customers to try something new; they deliver actually and physically but they also deliver knowledge, inspiration and a great deal of joy.
The best supermarkets that sell wine know they need to stock more than the big brands from the main regions and countries. They need to offer diversity along with value. The Decanter winners do this really well.
In line with this, Waitrose was the big winner of the evening, taking home the top accolade of Outstanding Wine Retailer of the Year, an award which is selected from all entrants in all categories. Announcing the winner for this category, Peter Richards MW stated,
Several exciting names from very different ends of the wine spectrum were in the mix for this award. Our winner ultimately earned the accolade through bravery, creativity and laudable commitment to the wine cause. As one judge said, ‘The pressures on them are different to many other wine retailers,’ and, while some competitors batten down the hatches, they have steadily emerged as a mainstream standard-bearer for wine (and other causes, including sustainability). They’re no stranger to the stage tonight – and they’re Waitrose.
The ceremony and after-party included drinks provided by Cocchi, Piper-Heidsieck and Small Beer Brew Co and music from the strolling, acoustic trio, Wandering Hands. Donations were made ahead of and on the night in support of The Benevolent, the drinks industry charity, and matched by Decanter to raise a total of more than £2,000.
See photo highlights from the awards ceremony below.
Photo highlights from the 2019 Decanter Retailer Awards Ceremony
Small Beer Brew Co showed off four of its sessionable beers on tap
Guests enjoyed music from the acoustic trio, Wandering Hands
Cocchi crafted five vermouth cocktails including the Cocchi Rosa Spritz, Vermouth on the rocks, Adonis, Negroni and Barolo Chinato and chocolate
Welcome drinks and Champagne kindly provided by Piper-Heidsieck
Chairman Peter Richards MW led the ceremony, announcing all the winners and runners-up of the 2019 awards
Handford wine received Best South Africa Specialist Retailer of the year and Waitrose won awards for Best England & Wales Specialist Retailer, Best Supermarket and the top accolade - Outstanding Retailer of the Year.
Goedhuis & Co won Burgundy Specialist Retailer of the Year and Best En Primeur Campaign of the Year
Novel Wines won Central & Eastern Europe Specialist Retailer of the Year
L'Oculto received Best Spain Specialist Retailer of the Year
The Wine Society won Regional France Specialist Retailer of the Year and Best Online Retailer of the Year
Tanners Wines won runner-up for Best National Wine Shop of the Year
Woodwinters Wines & Whiskies received runner-up for Best Local Multi-Store of the Year
Justerini & Brooks took home a win for Best Germany Specialist Retailer and runner-up for Best Italy Specialist Retailer and Best En Primeur Campaign of the Year
Cambridge Wine Merchants won Best National Wine Shop of the Year
The Whisky Exchange won Best Champagne & Sparkling Specialist Retailer of the Year
The Decanter team behind the Retailer Awards
The Decanter Retailer Awards is kindly sponsored by Riedel and Tŷ Nant