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IWSC National Wine Producers of the Year

Introducing the wine world’s best producers, as voted by the International Wine and Spirit Competition.

The competition recognises those producers around the world whose passion, commitment and innovation make them stand out above the rest.

The IWSC is the most prestigious wine and spirit competition in the world and prides itself on having always had a global outlook, whether supporting producers, importers, exporters or retailers.

The winners were announced at the IWSC awards banquet in London November 2011.

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Founded in 1883, Trapiche is one of Argentina’s leading producers and the country’s most exported brand, shipping its wines to more than 80 markets worldwide and accounting for 9% of Argentina’s total wine exports.

Located at the foothills of the Andes mountains in Mendoza, the Trapiche estate comprises over 1,000 hectares spread throughout the region. With near-perfect growing conditions – hot days, cool nights, scant rainfall and tightly controlled irrigation – Trapiche is able to consistently grow and source top-quality fruit. Under the guidance of chief winemaker Daniel Pi and go-to consultant Michel Rolland, Trapiche has consolidated all of its winemaking and viticulture. Pi seeks to express the richness of diversity of the terroir in Argentina, found in wines such as Broquel (meaning shield) – a premium range crafted in an international style that highlights some of Mendoza’s top terroirs, made from hand-harvested grapes vinified at Trapiche’s ultra-modern winery.

Throughout its history, Trapiche has understood the strength of the viticulture in Argentina and has specialised in obtaining the best from every site to create unique wines. To mark its 125th anniversary in 2008, the company opened a new winery incorporating the latest technology and equipment for the production of its high-end wines. Trapiche produces many of its varieties under the Trapiche brand name, largely coming from selected vineyards in the high area of the Mendoza River and in the east region of Mendoza. These include a Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, Merlot, Torrontés, rosé and Viognier. The company also makes a series of single vineyard Malbecs, created by Pi in homage to Mendoza’s smaller plots and Argentina’s flagship grape.


The McGuigan family has been making wine in the Hunter Valley since the start of the last century and since then four generations of the family have been involved in making it into the category and export leader that it is today.

They were one of the first companies to start to export internationally in the 1980s at the time when Brian and Fay McGuigan were at the helm of the business. Their tirelessness in looking for innovative ways in which to put their wines in consumers’ glasses has been now passed onto Neil McGuigan who is driving the McGuigan brand towards new and challenging horizons. His winemaking background means that wine quality is paramount in everything they develop and most recently he has spearheaded a new project, working with Semillon. As a result McGuigan’s The Semillon Blanc has begun to pick up a number of awards and is part of the firm’s success in winning the 2011 Australian Producer Trophy for the second time in three years.

Neil McGuigan comments: “People often ask me what the greatest thing about my job is… it has to be the continued satisfaction I get from seeing people enjoying our wines. The other good thing about my job is being rewarded by competitions such as the IWSC who are internationally recognised for their commitment to quality. There’s nothing quite like it.”


Mission Hill Family Estate is located just east of the Coastal Mountains, in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. The winery is situated atop Mission Hill overlooking the 145km long Okanagan lake, vineyards and mountains. In 1994 Mission Hill made its mark by winning the IWSC Chardonnay trophy.

Proprietor Anthony von Mandl and New Zealand-born winemaker John Simes strive to produce classic wines that bridge the Old and New Worlds. Having meticulously selected and planted 24 plots within the valley’s diverse micro-climates and soils, they farm more than 85% of their own grapes, from Bordeaux-style reds, to Syrah, Pinot Noir and aromatic whites and, on occasion, icewine. To determine where the region can excel, Mission Hill has pushed innovation in the vineyards. Weather stations to monitor soil and climatic conditions and GIS mapping, to determine the best individual lot for each variety are just some of the steps undertaken to maximise quality and research in the vineyards. Bordeaux consultants Michel Rolland, Pascal Chatonnet and others have been instrumental in driving innovation and best practices at the winery and in the vineyards over the past decade.

In 2002, a new winery was completed following six years of design and construction including underground cellars blasted out of the volcanic rock and a 12-storey bell tower. Architect Tom Kundig’s objective was to design a winery that would not only be timeless, but built to last and “be relevant for generations”. Today, this family-owned winery welcomes around 100,000 visitors a year from around the world. Mission Hill’s seasonal restaurant with its own kitchen gardens was recognized by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the top five winery restaurants in the world.


Created in 1993 as a subsidiary of Concha y Toro, the name Cono Sur refers to the winery’s geographical origins in South America’s Southern Cone. The company’s ever-expanding empire spans from the northernmost to the southernmost frontiers of Chilean viticulture, taking in Limarí, Aconcagua, Casablanca, San Antonio, Maipo, Colchagua, Curicó, Maule and Bío-Bío. Passionate about Pinot Noir – the estate’s icon wine Ocio is described by winemaker Adolfo Hurtado as “Chile’s first ultra-premium Pinot Noir” – Hurtado produces a plethora of other varietal wines including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, Malbec and Syrah, under the 20 Barrels, Reserva and Visión ranges.

This March, Cono Sur was crowned Green Company of the Year at The Drinks Business Green Awards for its innovative environmental initiatives and the scale of its carbon savings. Since its conception, Cono Sur – now the second largest bottled wine exporter in Chile – has been characterised by its green agenda, the ethos of the company being that high-quality wine production can work hand in hand with eco-friendly practices.

Location had a big part to play: with the Atacama desert to the north, Antarctica to the south, the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, Chile is in a privileged position for sustainable grape growing.

Organic farming began in 2000 on 40 hectares of the Chimbarongo estate, and in 2002 Cono Sur was the first South American winery to receive double ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certification.

A year later, the first certified organic Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère grapes were harvested. Today, Cono Sur has 290 certified organic hectares across its Santa Elisa and Las Lomas de Peralillo estates in Colchagua, and Campo Lindo in San Antonio.


The Union des Viticulteurs de Chablis (UVC) is a cooperative of 250 producers who together farm more than 1,200 hectares all over the Chablis region.

Some 65% of production is weighted towards production of Chablis with a further 22% for Petit Chablis, 8% Chablis premier cru and 5% “other wines”.

Average annual turnover is €43 million and the 2010 harvest totalled 71,000 hectolitres.

The UVC is focused on the off-trade with major markets in the UK, the Netherlands and Eastern European countries.

It is part of the wider Blasons de Bourgogne, a group of over 800 winegrowers who represent every Burgundian region from Chablis in the north to the Mâconnais in the south. Blasons de Bourgogne presents its wines in four categories allowing consumers to gradually explore the various terroirs of the region.

The “Classics” represent the entry-level wines and includes the UVC’s Petit Chablis, the “Ambassadors” line represents more specific geographical areas such as Chablis and the “Great Wines”, where the premier cru wines are to be found.


Weingut Bürgerspital was founded in 1316 by Johannes von Steren, an inhabitant of Würzburg, to look after the sick and elderly of the town. Funding of the hospital would be achieved through the estate’s agricultural holdings, which, from an endowment in 1334, included vineyards.

The altruistic aspect of the business continues to this day and Bürgerspital still operates several retirement homes and clinics in and around Würzburg and looks after around 850 people, although gone are the days when the patients would be threatened with having their daily wine ration watered down for misdemeanours.

The estate owns 110 hectares of vineyard in the region with parcels on the Würzburger Stein – Germany’s largest single vineyard, of which Bürgerspital owns 32ha of the 85ha total – Würzberger Stein-Harfe, Innere Leiste, Pfaffenberg and Abtsleite and the Randersackerer Teufelskeller, Marsberg and Pflüben.

The sites at Randersackerer are particularly noted for their Riesling and Bürgerspital is the largest Riesling producer in Franconia with 30% of the estate’s production given over to the variety. A further 25% of production is of Franconia’s flagship grape Silvaner. Bürgerspital was in fact the first estate to plant the grape on the Würzburger Stein.

Other white varieties include Müller-Thurgau, Weiss and Grau Burgunder, Bacchus, Scheurebe and Gewürztraminer, while red varieties such as Pinot Noir, Blaufränkisch and Domina make up 12% of the overall production.


Umberto Cesari is the largest privately owned producer in the Italian region of Emilia Romagna and is also the biggest exporter of wines priced over €5 ex-cellar from the region.

Founded in 1967, the winery’s primary focus is on the production of Sangiovese, particularly as Emilia Romagna is the sole Italian region that may label its wines as Sangiovese DOC – it is also famous for being the home of Parma ham and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

The vineyards are located at 300 to 450 metres above sea level and are sheltered by the Calanchi mountain range, which helps to ensure a mild climate. The red grapes – Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Bursona Longanesi – are planted on south-westerly exposed sites, while the white grapes – Pignoletto, Trebbiano, Albana, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc – all face north-east.

Today the winery owns 130 hectares of vine on the slopes of Castel San Pietro Terme and rents an additional 150ha from its neighbours. All the vineyards are treated with “the most natural techniques, without the use of chemical compounds”.

In 2010 production was 2,600,000 bottles, which were sold in more than 60 countries and the year’s turnover surpassed €13 million. Over 70% of the wine is exported, with half going to the American markets of the US, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico, 20% to European markets and the final 30% to other countries around the world.

The winery works closely with the research and development departments of the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Bologna and each year 5% of production in the cellar and vineyards is earmarked for research and development purposes.


In 2003, winemaker Brent Marris began his search for a special vineyard property which would have the potential to become an iconic winery. On the banks of the Waihopai River and on the southern side of the Wairau Valley, he found a 268ha property that was just what he was looking for. “I knew immediately it had enormous potential,” recalls Marris. “Tucked between the Delta Hills and the Waihopai river, the property flows over three distinct terraces of clays and ancient river shingles, providing the fruit variation and complexity that a winemaker can normally only dream of from a single vineyard site.”

In his quest to develop an iconic property Marris expressed a vision of creating a winery situated among the vines that would be state of the art and the first of its kind in New Zealand, if not the southern hemisphere. Ground was broken in February 2009 and the winery’s first vintage was crushed in 2010.

As Marisco Vineyards’ proprietor and winemaker, Marris was Marlborough’s first born-and-raised qualified winemaker. He graduated from Roseworthy Agricultural College (South Australia) in 1983 with a Bachelor of Applied Science in oenology and, with over 20 years of grape growing, winemaking and marketing experience, Brent has become one of New Zealand’s most respected winemakers and is at the forefront of New Zealand’s viticultural development.

Marisco Vineyards produces The Ned and The Kings Series range, and Brent attributes the success of his wines to the team of people behind the brand, his “Tight 5”: winemaker Liam McElhinney, viticulturist Anton Rasmussen, sales and marketing manager Siobhan Wilson and financial director Steve Lock.


One of Portugal’s leading family-owned fine wine companies, Sogrape Vinhos has a very international dimension and strong focus on brands that provide relevant volumes to fulfil identified market needs.

Established in 1942 by Fernando van Zeller Guedes, Sogrape’s continued work on the development of quality wines and its engagement with the international wine trade has been fundamental in the growth and quality perception of Portuguese wines worldwide.

Today, Sogrape is led by Salvador Guedes and his brothers, the third generation of the founding family. The company generates an annual turnover of around €185 million and owns around 1,300 hectares of vineyards covering all of the major winegrowing regions of Portugal, as well as Argentina, New Zealand and Chile.

Innovation and development are key to the success of Sogrape’s portfolio of high-quality wines such as Mateus, Sandeman, Offley, Ferreira and Callabriga, among other prestigious brands from important denominations of origin.

Since its foundation, Sogrape Vinhos has been driven by the goal of building a portfolio of quality wines, reinforced by strong brands with the ability to compete in a challenging wine world. For over six decades, this quest for excellence has been supported by care and expertise, handed down from generation to generation. This desire to achieve continued excellence is part of Sogrape’s commitment for the future.


One of the first farms to be established in the Stellenbosch area in 1692, Spier has a rich cultural heritage, including a restored manor house, an impressive collection of Cape Dutch gables (21 in total), and the oldest dated wine cellar in the country (1767).

While rooted in this heritage, Spier has a vibrant and conscious energy and explores contemporary South Africa though food, wine and art – all to great acclaim. The wines are made under the skillful guidance of celebrated cellar master Frans Smit, who has been making wine at Spier since 1995 after graduating at the top of his class. He believes that top-quality grapes from prime vineyards are the essential building blocks for premium wine. His mantra is “to get the most out of each grape with as little interference as possible”.

As a result of his achievements in recent years, Smit was invited to join the esteemed Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) – an association of the top winemakers in the country.

Spier’s wines are created within three primary ranges: Signature, its everyday premium range; 21 Gables, crafted for special occasions; Creative Block, offering interesting blends; and Spier’s flagship wine, Frans K. Smit.

The Spier cellar has ISO 22000 certification, is Fairtrade accredited, organically certified and follows the Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) criteria. For more information visit


Emilio Lustau, one of Sherry’s greatest bodegas, is named after Don Emilio Lustau Ortega, son-in-law of founder Don José Ruiz- Berdejo y Veyan – a secretary in the courts of justice. Don José, of French descent, founded the family firm in 1896 at his home in Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza, but in the 1940s Don Emilio moved the firm to the Santiago district.

Emilio Lustau is now a leader in Sherry production. The revolution started in 1981, when the late Rafael Balao, then manager, introduced the Almacenista range of wines. This concept reflected the company’s origins, as Don José Ruiz- Berdejo y Veyan had originally been an almacenista – a storekeeper or stockholder of Sherry who sold the product of his soleras to Sherry firms. Under the management of Rafael Balao, Lustau became one of the most innovative companies in Jerez. Balao’s ideas combined tradition and innovation and carved the way for identifying Lustau with quality and prestige.

All Sherries produced at the bodega are now labelled as Emilio Lustau in foreign markets. This includes the Almacenista wines, and also a range of specialist limited editions and Solera Reserva Sherries. The Lustau Solera Reserva range was created from the original Lustau stocks from its beginnings as an almacenista. These stocks were joined by a fine selection of Sherries from different almacenistas, consisting of special wines from small independent producers, to be offered to select clients.
Lustau’s vocation has always been export orientated, with more than four-fifths of its wines, brandies and Sherry vinegars sent to 40 global markets. In June 2008, Lustau acquired historic former Domecq brands La Ina, Botaina, Río Viejo and Viña 25.


Ridgeview was founded by the Roberts family in 1994, dedicated solely to the production of the highest quality sparkling wine from traditional Champagne varieties and methods.

The site on the South Downs of England was chosen for its similarities in terroir to Champagne and its cool climate weather conditions. In just 11 years, Ridgeview has won over 140 medals and 20 trophies in international and national competitions, including the IWSC trophy for Bottle Fermented Sparkling Wine in 2005 and again in 2011.

Most recently, Ridgeview’s sparkling wine was served at the state banquet at Buckingham Palace hosted by Her Majesty the Queen in honour of President Obama. Ridgeview founder Mike Roberts was recently awarded an MBE for his services to the English wine industry.

The estate has now been enhanced by partnership vineyards throughout the south-east of England to assist in expansion plans. The passion, determination and professionalism of the Roberts family of Ridgeview and a dedicated team have largely contributed to the recent renaissance in quality and popularity of English sparkling wine on the global stage.


Winemaking has been a Coppola family tradition for several generations. Agostino Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola’s grandfather, used to make wine in the basement of his New York apartment using concrete vats he constructed himself. The wines Ford Coppola makes differ greatly from those of Agostino, but they are produced in the same spirit – for sharing with friends and family. Coppola’s foray into wine started in 1975, when he and his wife Eleanor were living in San Francisco. Eager to find a small cottage in Napa Valley as a weekend retreat where they could make homemade wine, the cottage they so desired turned out to be the great Niebaum Mansion on the famed Inglenook Estate, bought from the proceedings of the first film in the famed Godfather trilogy.

Producing his first vintage in 1977 with his father, wife and children stomping the grapes barefoot, every year the family has a harvest party to continue the tradition. After purchasing the property, the director produced wine under the Niebaum- Coppola label. Acquiring the former Inglenook Winery property in 1995, Coppola renamed it Rubicon Estate in 2006, but changed it back to Inglenook this July, employing Château Margaux winemaker Philippe Bascaules as his managing director to work alongside Bordeaux-based consultant Stephane Derenoncourt, who has been with Coppola since 2008. Speaking at the time of the name change, Coppola said: “I want to return to elegance. I will go for the old Inglenook style – lower alcohol, more freshness, balance, more restrained tannins and less oak.”

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