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M&S own brand wines wipe the floor at first round of International Wine Competition 2015

Published:  02 December, 2014

Marks and Spencer's own brand wines cleared the decks at the first phase of the International Wine Challenge 2015, taking home 69 medals and outpacing nearest rival Tesco by 37 medals. 

Marks and Spencer's own brand wines cleared the decks at the first phase of the International Wine Challenge 2015, taking home 69 medals and outpacing nearest rival Tesco by 37 medals. 

A number of supermarkets entered their wines in the early phase of the competitions - Tranche One, in order to showcase winners in storeis over the festive trading period.

M&S took home more than twice the number of medals as its closest rival Tesco, which took home 32 medals for its own-brand labels.

The five gold medals M&S won were for wines from France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain, demonstrating the power in the supermarket's European wine buying team. 

A top winner that may make the judge's Christmas list this year was the 2013 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico that retails at just £8. Marks and Spencer was crowned premium retailer at last year's IWC taking home Supermarket of the Year 2014.

Charles Metcalfe, co-chairman of the IWC, said: "We have discovered some outstanding supermarket own-brand wines during this first tranche of the competition, which would definitely bring a touch of elegance to any Christmas table. All the major supermarkets performed very well. They have very good buying teams. It's hard work, and Britain is lucky to have supermarket buyers who can source great wines across the entire range and to suit any budget."

Tesco also received five gold medals, with its Finest 2007 Vintage Grand Cru Champagne which retailer for less than £25 and was a top pick for judges. Tesco took home a total of 32 medals for its wines in tranche one for IWC 2015.

Morrisons received a Gold medal for its own-brand NV Amontillado Sherry (RRP £6.99) as well as picking up top prizes for its Signature Chablis 1er Cru 2012 (RRP £14.99) and its Signature Grüner Veltliner 2013 (£6.99). The supermarket picked up a total of 24 medals, including 12 Silver and 10 Bronze.

Waitrose received two Gold medals listed wines -  Polish Hill River Riesling 2008 (RRP £9.99) and its  Tre Fiori Grecco di Tufo 2013 (RRP £10.99). Waitrose also received three Silver medals, including one for its non-vintage Brut Champagne (RRP £19.99). The supermarket also received 12 Bronze medals.

Discounter Aldi and the Co-operative Supermarket each took home 10 medals and ASDA pocketed seven gongs.

In total, 174 gold, silver and bronze medals were award to supermarkets in the first round of the IWC.

The support for the two tranches have been very positive with more momentum growing, with this only being the second year that the IWC has split the competition into two separate tastings. The two tranches allows producers from across the globe to enter the competition when it suits their different sales, marketing and production schedules.  

"The reaction from winemakers and consumers to the new, improved competition process was overwhelmingly positive. By hosting two separate tastings, winemakers can enter their wines when they are ready to be tasted, giving them the greatest chance of success. Not only is this good news for producers, it is also great news for shoppers who can get their hands on a medal winning wine when it really is ready to pour," said Metcalfe.

Tranche two will open later this week with judging taking place in April of 2015 and medals winners being announced in May.

Important dates for Tranche Two include the following:

  • Entry opens: December 4, 2014
  • Closing date for paper entries: February 13, 2015
  • Closing date for online entries: March 5, 2015
  • Delivery deadline for samples using the IWC shipping deal: February 27,2015
  • Samples sent via a private courier must arrive between: March 2-28, 2015
  • Judging: April 13-24 2015
  • Medals announced: May 13, 2015

All medal winners will be judged together in a final tasting that will be held in late April 2015.

To receive an entry kit visit the International Wine Challenge homepage.