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Fresh faces shake up IWSC medal table

China, Japan and Wales proved surprise medal winners as the IWSC unveiled its Northern Hemisphere wine results for 2010.

Scooping two silvers and a bronze, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are proving to be the cornerstones of China’s quality wine production, signalling its emergence as not only an importer but also a serious producer of the world’s finest wines.

Meanwhile Japan improved on last year’s medal tally to achieve a total of six silver and 25 bronze medals. Wales provided another real surprise with the announcement that new winery Ancre Hill Estates in the Wye Valley had won a bronze medal.

Set up in 2005 by retired charterer accountant Richard Morris, the south-facing vineyards sit upon clay loam interspersed with the Jurassic limestone which underpins Chablis’ reputation. In another promising development for UK wine producers, Nottinghamshire estate Eglantine Vineyard won a silver (best in class).

English sparkling wine missed out on gold medals this year, but took home ten silver (best in class), two silver medals and five bronze medals. Despite strong performances from unlikely corners, it was the traditional regions of the Old World which once again yielded the biggest medal tallies.

Champagne scooped 20 gold medals, while Germany proved once again how underrated its wines are in the UK market by taking 21 golds. Spain also enjoyed significant success, with 23 gold medals in total and the strongest performance of any individual region from Rioja, which took no fewer than six golds, 72 silvers and 52 bronze medals.

As the top performers for 2010 were revealed, Frances Horder, competition director of the IWSC, observed: “What this year’s results highlight more than ever is that great wine can be made anywhere in the world so wineries need to make a greater effort to stand out from the pack.

“An award from an internationally recognised independent competition such as the IWSC can help get a foot in the door of a major importer or give consumers the reassurance they need to pick a wine off a shelf.”

Visit the IWSC at the LIWF on stand T20, where many of this year’s medal winners will be on show in a series of daily tastings and masterclasses.

Gabriel Savage, 18.05.10

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