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French champions recognised for UK service

Published:  07 February, 2024

Daniel Lambert Wines, Waitrose and The Wine Society were among some of the big winners at The French Champion Awards organised and hosted by Business France.

Now in its second year, the awards took place in London last Thursday (1 February) at VIN, the flagship trade tasting dedicated to French wines.

Over the course of the presentation, many top names in the industry were recognised for their contributions to the French wine sector in the UK.

In the first of six categories, Francophile Daniel Lambert took home the gong for Best Importer for France, beating stiff competition from Corney & Barrow and Flint Wines for his ‘huge influence on the wine industry’.

Other winners included Waitrose, which was awarded the Best Supermarket for France title for the second year in a row, trumping Marks & Spencer and Morrisons; while the new award for Best Online Retailer for France went to The Wine Society.

“Every year, Business France is delighted to gather some of the most dynamic French wine producers and importers in London to demonstrate the many reasons why France still deserves its place as the leading wine supplier of the UK market,” Pauline Gauthier, head of food & drink at Business France UK & Ireland, said.

“It’s also a real privilege to celebrate the role the UK trade plays in getting these amazing wines onto tables up and down the country.”

Organised by Business France, the French governmental trade agency, the French Champion Awards were created to recognise the contribution of the UK wine businesses which play a key role in raising the profile of French wine on the UK market.

Businesses were nominated and voted for by a panel of over 50 British trade professionals with three finalists selected in each category.

The awards also included the hotly contested Best Indie Retailer for France accolade. Last year's winners Lea & Sandeman were joined on the shortlist by Provisions and The Good Wine Shop, with the latter ultimately taking this year's title in what was described as a ‘closely run race’.

Another new award category, Best Voice for France, saw rising star Aleesha Hansel recognised for her excellent writing across a range of publications reaching both consumers and the trade. Hansel appeared on the shortlist alongside Charlotte Kristensen and Rupert Millar.

Finally, the Best Restaurant for France award was taken home by an eatery widely known for its exemplary wine selection, Les 110 de Taillevent, which was shortlisted alongside 67 Pall Mall and Pavyllon.