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UK's best Spanish wine players celebrated in Harpers' Spanish Wine Awards

Published:  16 September, 2013

Waitrose, The Wine Society, Cambridge Wine Merchants, Camino Group and Matthew Clark were some of the stand out winners in Harpers inaugural Spanish Wine Awards to celebrate the best operators in the Spanish wine category in the UK.

The awards were looking to highlight the retailers, on-trade operators, online merchants, wholesalers and personalities that are doing the most to engage their customers with Spanish wine in the last year. The winners were selected by Harpers Spanish wine academy of judges made up of key players within the UK Spanish wine industry and partners of the Hapers Spanish wine project.

The winners are finalilsts are:

Multiple Retailer



A good, comprehensive list, punctuated by some star producers, Waitrose also offers focused Spanish promotions and invests in quality Spanish own label wines. A strong and consistent quality champion of Spain.

Runners Up


A confident selection of Spanish wines at price points ranging from under a fiver to over £250, plus an impressive range of Riojas, including old and rare vintages, all backed by knowledgeable staff that encourage customers to experiment with Spain.

Marks & Spencer

Chosen for its imaginative and quality-focused buying from Spain, with diverse and sometimes brave choices make for an eclectic mix of varieties and regions, offering excitement at all price levels.

Independent Wine Merchant


Cambridge Wine Merchants, Cambridgeshire

For offering an eclectic, broad choice of Spanish wines, plus a great programme of events and tastings, as well as a wine school, and using these to educate and enthuse imbibers with its non-stuffy approach to selling Spanish wine.

Runners Up

Noel Young Wines, Cambridgeshire

With an extensive portfolio covering benchmark producers and styles, plus more eclectic finds, Noel Young has been a longstanding supporter of Spain's broad panorama of wines.

 Quaff Fine Wine Merchant, Brighton and Hove

For bringing a modern-leaning, exciting mix of up-and-coming producers, varieties and styles, plus a tempting sherry selection to its neighbourhood customers.



Matthew Clark, Bristol

With a broad range from the key DOs, Matthew Clark has shown strong commitment to Spain, including recent portfolio additions such as the Michel Rolland-backed R&G wines and Bai Gorri agency. Matthew Clark has also done much work with on-trade specific labels.

Runners Up

Oxford Wine Merchants, Oxfordshire

A commitment to a diverse and excellent Spanish range, showing both the breadth and quality on offer, brought Oxford strong nominations.

Sheridan Cooper, Sussex

With many new lines from a diversity of Spanish DOs, this regional wholesaler has been a strong regional supporter of the Spanish category among its restaurant clientele.  

Restaurant (1-3 outlets)


Jose and Pizarro, London

Both of José Pizarro's eponymous outlets are great ambassadors for Spain, combining superb food and atmosphere with eclectic, exciting and always enjoyable wine lists that change along with the seasonal menus.

Runners Up

Bar 44, Penarth and Cowbridge

It's great to see Spanish gastronomy reaching this far out of London, into unexpected corners in Wales, and bringing a passion for Spanish wines with it too.

Boqueria, Brixton

This small, community restaurant offers good value tapas, backed by wine knowledgeable staff, putting their brief but enticing list at the forefront of converting everyday wine drinkers to the diverse pleasures of Spain.

Restaurant (on-trade group)

The Winner

Camino Group, London

It's impossible to ignore Richard Bigg's ever growing empire as he combines a tried and tested (Spanish) route with innovative passion. As the first to open a sherry bar in London, and now Copa de Cava, celebrating quality Spanish fizz, Richard remains a pioneer and champion of authentic Spanish food & drink.

Runners Up

Brindisa Resaurants, London

Celebrated for setting the platform for a fantastic selection of Spanish wines against the backdrop of great quality Spanish produce and cuisine, including the latest trend-bucking Rioja and Albariño-free list at Tramontana.

Cambio de Tercio Group London

With a range of outlets, from fine dining to Sherry bar, plus tapas, and also offering excellent dining platforms against which to promote a great selection of Spanish wines.

Online Retailer:


The Wine Society

From its very solid base of Spanish classics, including Rioja but also venturing far beyond, The Wine Society has been pushing into new wave Spain with aplomb, including a strong focus on whites, with such diversity represented in a clear, informative and exciting manner for its members across all price points.

Runners Up

Tesco by the Case

Nominated for a combination of offering a great range of Spanish wines at accessible price points, along with great offers bringing customers to the Spanish category, while having the reach to make a real difference with real consumers.


With 140 Spanish wines on offer, including a broad range of varietals and regions represented, Ocado delivers at a good range of price points, backed by engaging promotions and excellent communications to customers.

Ambassador for Spain


Monika Linton, Brindisa

From her first modest imports of high quality Spanish produce, to today's roaring success as a quality Spanish food wholesaler, plus restaurateur with four outlets, Monika Linton and Brindisa have consistently raised both media and consumer interest in Spanish gastronomy and, more latterly, used this platform to showcase the diversity of Spanish wines.

Runners Up

Richard Bigg, Camino Group

A tireless, imaginative and hugely popular champion of Spain, bringing the delights of Spain's broad wine offering to British consumers through his relaxed and easy-going outlets from Camino to the sherry dedicated Bar Pepito and Cava-celebrating Copa de Cava.

José Pizarro, Jose and Pizarro

José Pizarro has become a charismatic star in London's Spanish gastronomic firmament, with the deceptively simple menus at his José and Pizarro outlets drawing eager diners into a sometimes eclectic but sublime Spanish wine list which works its magic alongside the food.

Judge's Special Mention

Nick Room, Waitrose

Waitrose's Spanish buyer Nick Room has a ceaseless drive when it comes to representing and supporting Spanish wines, also being a real driver behind the Cabelleros, who do much in promoting, discretely, Spain's standing in the UK trade.


Communicator for Spain


Sarah Jane Evans MW

Fast emerging as the UK's pre-eminent communicator on Spanish wine, Sarah Jane brings in-depth knowledge and fascination for Spain's myriad regions, styles and producers together with food knowledge that helps square the circle. This knowledge is combined with a light and accessible touch in communicating Spanish wines.

Runners Up

Peter McCombie MW

Combining a deep knowledge of Spanish wine with a completely modern approach, Peter comes to Spain in a no compromise way, while taking a business-like approach to the commercial potential.

Tim Atkin MW

From heading up the New Wave Spanish Wine Awards judging to communicating on Spanish wines in a clear, no nonsense, but insightful and knowledgeable way, Tim has done much to champion the best from Spain.

Judges Award

Indigo Wine, London

The judges reserved special recognition for Indigo Wine as the UKs exemplary champion Spain via its agency list of exciting, sometimes off-piste, but always excellently sourced portfolio of great Spanish finds.