19th February, 2013 by Lucy Shaw
Wine Stars, a Dragon’s Den-style competition where producers seeking representation pitch their wines to a panel, is to take place at ProWein this year.
The brainchild of Catherine Monahan of Clink Wines and Robert Joseph, founder of consumer research website DoILikeIt.com, in a new twist, this year’s final, dubbed Winestars World, will take place at ProWein in Dusseldorf on 26 March.
Up to 200 wineries from around the world are expected to compete for the attention of the world’s leading wine buyers to win a listing of up to 800,000 bottles, potentially worth as much as US$3m.
Rather than simply tasting the wine blind, everything from its packaging, pricing and overall business model is taken into consideration during the competition.
Joining the likes of Justin Howard Sneyd MW of Direct Wines on the judging panel this year will be two leading non wine-related entrepreneurs, the identities of which will be revealed next week.
“The competition is a way for wineries to get potential listings overnight. Forget medals and importers who take 30% margins, this is about long-term sales listings,” said Winestars World co-founder Catherine Monahan.
At the London International Wine Fair last year, seven of the ten finalists won a UK listing. This January a second Winestars competition took place in Argentina.
“An innovative concept, it enabled us to see the brightest and best of the wine world and shone a light into corners that we may not have looked into ourselves,” Andrew Shaw, ex-head of buying for Waitrose said of last year’s event.
Jamie Hutchinson of independent merchant The Sampler added: “The competition introduced me to estates with a real level of commercial interest for us. I hope Winestars continues to thrive, as it helps both the wineries and merchants.”
Wineries can enter the competition online at www.winestarsworld.co.uk.