What sets the IWC China apart from other competitions?
The IWC China is a new international wine competition specifically designed for China. The competition will judge Chinese wines as well as wines imported into China for the Chinese market.
The IWC China will adopt the same rigorous judging process as the IWC have had in London for the last 36 years, this has been the pillar of its success and is recognised by producers and consumers around the world.
The IWC China will be the only international competition and accreditation awards of its kind to be held on mainland China.
The International Wine Challenge (IWC), owned by William Reed Business Media, is now in its 36th year. The IWC is accepted as the world's finest and most meticulously judged wine competition which assesses every wine blind and judges each for its faithfulness to style, region and vintage. Throughout the rigorous judging processes, each medal-winning wine is tasted on three separate occasions by at least 12 different judges. Awards include medals (Trophy, Gold, Silver, Bronze) and Commended and Great Value awards.
The sheer number of times a wine is tasted is what makes the International Wine Challenge truly unique.
How the tastings work
Now let's have a look at what happens to your wines after you've entered the IWC China. Please note that the process is the same for both IWC in London and IWC in China.
Round one of the judging commences. Wines are either marked as 'Out', given a Commended award or progress to the next round. The IWC China Chairmen then re-taste all 'outs' and 'commended' wines to confirm the mark. If the IWC China Chairmen believe the wine is eligible it may be re-entered into round two to give it another chance, if two co-chairs agree.
Round two of the judging begins. Wines are marked as 'Out', Gold, Silver or Bronze medals or given a Commended award. All wines are re-tasted by the IWC China Chairmen to verify the results.
Wines awarded Gold medals progress to the Trophy round, where they are put into new 'flights' for more blind tasting. Gold and Silver medal-winning wines that fall into the Great Value category are also tasted at this time. Regional and national Trophies and Great Value medals are awarded. All Trophy winning wines are re-tasted by the IWC China Chairmen who then decide which wines should be awarded the IWC China Champion Red, White, Sparkling, Sweet and Fortified.
Wines that have won Trophy, Gold, Silver or Bronze or received a Commended award can immediately promote their success. There is no news embargo and the results will be broadcast through international press releases and across all IWC and IWC China platforms, including websites and social media.
Behind the scenes
What happens before the tasting?
A simple explanation of the complex system that ensures all wines are tasted fairly.
Entrants are required to send 6 samples of each wine submitted. 2 samples are required for wines entered into the IWC China TradeTasting. 1 bottle may be taken by Chinese Authorities for sampling and testing. All samples will become the property of the organiser.
Wines from the depot are checked, given a unique code, repackaged and sent to the tasting venue in preparation for the judging.
Sorting and Photographing
On arrival, wines are unloaded on to shelves in a temperature controlled storage facility. Wines are organised by style then country so that they are easy to locate. At this stage wines are also photographed for our website and records.
Picking and Flighting
Wines are picked from the shelves and put into 'tasting flights' – a group of wines with a similar style and from the same country and region. All flights are then put into blind tasting bags and tagged with their unique identifier to keep their true identity concealed. Unusual shaped bottles or in strong colours will be decanted into clean anonymous bottles. The wines are now ready for judging.
Temperature controlled storing
All wines awarded a Gold medal or fall into the Great Value category are transported to a temperature controlled storage facility, where they will be kept until the Trophy Tasting.
At the end of each day’s judging, bottles, leftover wine, packaging and corks all get recycled. In 2017 the IWC recycled 10.5 cubic metres of wine and 231 cubic metres of polystyrene was transformed into insulation for houses.
Winning a medal at the International Wine Challenge China is a significant achievement. In addition to these medals there are a number of awards that producers can aim for. Many of these awards will be announced at the IWC China dinner in September and are considered the pinnacle of the International Wine Challenge China year.
At the judging, wines will either receive a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal or be given a Commended award and awarded points. Wines that do not receive a medal or award are deemed ‘out’. Gold, Silver and Bronze medal-winning wines have received the highest praise from our judges. Commended awards are for wines that have missed out on winning a medal but are considered noteworthy by the IWC China judges. Gold medal-winning wines of the competition will be judged together to select the IWC China 2019 Trophy winners and also the IWC China awards.
The IWC China Medal
The IWC China uses a scoring metric – based on a 100-point scale:
Trophy 95 – 100
Gold 95 – 100
Silver 90 – 94
Bronze 85 – 90
Commended 80 – 84
Winners of Trophy, Gold and Silver medals can use the relevant points stickers to give consumers an understanding of a wine’s ranking in an instant.
To help medal-winning producers make the most of their success, electronic copies of medal logos along with temporary medal certificates can also be downloaded via your IWC China account FOR FREE and for use on your promotional material. There is no embargo on the IWC China results so we encourage all of our medal winners to make the most of these sales tools as soon as the results are publicised.
The IWC China Trophies
A Gold medal is a great achievement. It's something to celebrate and shout about. But it's also a gateway to other prestigious awards...
Sub-Regional, Regional and National Trophies
All gold medal-winning wines in the competition automatically qualify for the IWC China trophy tasting. The trophy tasting is judged by the Panel Chairmen and Co-Chairmen who will identify the top wine in each sub-region to award the sub-regional trophies. These sub-regional trophy winners are tasted against each other to find the regional trophy winners. Regional trophy winners are then tasted together to decide the winners of the national trophies.
International trophies will be judged in the same manner as regional trophies but will be by varietal. For example all National Pinot Noir Trophy winners from around the world will be pitched against each other to find the International Pinot Noir Trophy winner.
Champion Wine Trophies
All IWC China national trophy winners are tasted against each other to find the Champion Trophy winners in the categories of red, white, rosé, sparkling, fortified and sweet. The winners of these prestigious awards are considered the pinnacle of the International Wine Challenge awards.
Winemaker of the Year Awards
The IWC China collates data from the results of the competition, analyses and scores it to determine the winners of the Winemaker of the Year awards. Producers are awarded points for each wine entered into the competition that have won a trophy, gold, silver, bronze medal or commended award. Points are deducted for wine submitted into the competition that did not win an award. The results are then weighted based on the volume of entry and finally given an average score per wine. Only wines submitted within five years of the most recent vintage will be included in a producer’s score for a Winemaker of the Year Award. Bonus points will be awarded for wines that are in the most recent vintage.
These awards aim to recognise excellence in the Chinese wine trade. The IWC China Personality of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Awards also fall into this category. These awards are bestowed on those people within the trade that have shown dedication and commitment beyond the norm, and have made a real difference to the global wine industry
IWC China Champion Red Wine
IWC China Champion White Wine
IWC China Champion Sparkling Wine
IWC China Champion Sweet Wine
Promote your IWC China awards
Winning a medal at the International Wine Challenge China is a significant achievement and a fantastic endorsement of your brand. To help medal-winning producers make the most of their success the IWC China produces high-shine, foil bottle stickers. These stickers are a proven sales tool which can directly influence a customer’s purchasing decision.
An independent study in the UK has shown that IWC medal stickers increase average sales of an award-winning wine by 15% and also encourage shoppers to spend a little extra on wines that have won an award. High-shine, foil Medal and/or IWC China Points stickers will be available to purchase.
The IWC China stickers are for use in mainland China only as they are designed for the Chinese consumer.
IWC China – Special Launch Offer
As a special launch offer, ALL entrants that enter IWC China 2019 and win either a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal can claim up to 5000 FREE IWC China reflective bottle stickers to help promote their wine.
The normal price for IWC medal stickers is £47 (RMB 400) per 1,000 stickers, so eligible medal winners will receive an amazing £235 (RMB 2,000) worth of stickers free of charge.
A maximum of 5,000 medal stickers can be claimed free of charge per eligible winning wine, postage costs per shipment will apply and are payable in advance by recipients. The global postage cost is £45 per shipment and the postage cost for entrants within China is RMB 88 per shipment. Please see the full terms and conditions below*.
IWC Stickers are a proven promotional tool to help wines sales at retail level. Please look here for the facts.
The IWC China will make these available to order as soon as the IWC China results are made available on 26 June 2019.
*Terms and conditions:
- The stickers will be delivered to a maximum of 5000 stickers per wine.
- IWCC Stickers should only be applied to IWCC Award winning wines and their specific vintage.
- IWCC Sticker are not transferrable to other vintages or wines.
- IWCC will only supply the MAXIMUM production volume left in the winery.
- IWCC will only deliver to the entrant’s address.
- Further stickers may be ordered for larger volumes and an extra cost.
- IWCC Stickers ONLY to be used on wines for sale in China.
When our customers see the universally respected and recognisable sticker of the IWC awards on a wine, it acts as a beacon, helping them to zoom in on their choice, safe in the knowledge that the industry’s finest have merited it with that sticker. IWC stickers are another tool that makes life easier for our customers and that’s why we value them highly.
Who tastes the wines?
Judging is collegiate, which means at any one time a number of experienced experts are tasting and discussing the wines. At the helm of the judges are four Chairmen, each of them leaders in their field. Between them, they taste every single medal-winning wine, ensuring that only the best succeed.
Iain Riggs AM
Australian Iain Riggs is a veteran of 47 vintages, including 36 with Brokenwood Wines, of which he is managing director, chief winemaker and part owner. Iain has had a wide and varied career in winemaking, judging, mentoring, educating, and as a thought pioneer in Australian wine.
He is widely recognised as one of the exceptional people of the Australian wine industry. His many achievements and accolades were crowned with an Order of Australia (AM) in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
The recognition is for his significant service to oenology as a winemaker, to the development of the Australian wine industry, and to the promotion of the Hunter Valley region.
Other career highlights include being an inaugural board member of the Winemakers Federation of Australia and chairman of the Hunter Valley Wine Show, having taken over from Len Evans in 2002.
Iain was also chairman of the IWCC’s predecessor, the Shanghai International Wine Challenge, for eight years.
Iain’s current roles include chairman of trustees of the Len Evans Foundation that conducts the prestigious week-long Len Evans Tutorial.
Yang LU MS
Kenichi Ohashi MW
Kenichi (Ken) Ohashi MW is a leading Japanese wine and Sake distributor in Tokyo with accolades from the industry. Awarded Best Wine Merchant 1999 by Japan Sommelier Association he has shown his intricate knowledge of the subject both at home and abroad. He is author of "Natural Wine" and is the online wine columnist of Japan's top wine publication 'Wine Report'. He holds a Diploma from WSET in London and He is a Master of Wine and was also awarded the Personality of the Year 2016 by the IWC. He has also been certified as a Master of Sake (SSI) and Sake Expert Assessor (NRIB). In addition, he has started exporting his selection of Sake and Japanese wines to the world market.
IWC China Trade Tasting
The IWC China Trade Tasting provides a unique platform for IWC China competition winners to showcase their wines in China. All entries into the IWC China that win a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal will be automatically submitted into the IWC China Trade Tasting on the 7 September 2019, the day after the IWC Gala dinner. Buyers from all channels, including
supermarkets, agents, independents, and major restaurant and hotel chains, will be invited to attend the IWC China Trade Tasting to taste the wines.
The IWC China Trade tasting is a free pour event. We will open all wines for visitors to sample themselves.
There is no further charge to be included in the IWC China 2019 Trade Tasting, once you have been awarded a medal.
Premium tables will be available for producers to present their wines in person, we will be in contact with award winning producers after the release of the results. Each table will cost £1,500/RMB 13,000 which also includes two tickets for the IWC China Awards Dinner on 6 September.
Sarah Knowles MW, wine buyer, the Wine Society
"The Discovery Tasting offer is a very convenient opportunity to taste un-imported wines in the summer – which is a great buying period for us. With the wines laid-out by country it is easy to taste through a specific wine category quickly and efficiently e.g. American Zinfandel. Over the last 3 years we have often followed up on tastings at the show as we are confident that the wines in the Discovery Tasting don't yet have an importer and are clearly keen to work in the UK as they are investing in the show.”