Grapevine Archive for Specialist

Wed 07 Sep 2011

Top of the Medal Table

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The International Wine Challenge Awards Dinner, often referred to as the ‘wine Oscars’, took place last night at the Hilton Park Lane. The esteemed panel of judges includes Tim Atkin MW,  Oz Clarke, Sam Harrop MW, Charles Metcalfe and Derek Smedley MW.

Buyer Marcel Orford-Williams, supply chain manager Thom Cleary and I were there on behalf of The Society, and I suppose we should have suspected something was afoot when we saw that we were seated at the same table as the aforementioned Oz, Charles and Derek . Earlier in the evening we had been presented with the awards for Specialist Merchant of the Year for Alsace and for Chile (both for the fourth time).

During the main presentations we were delighted to become Wine Club of the Year for the second time. What came totally out of the blue, however, was the award for Merchant of The Year – the very top merchant award of the evening. We are thrilled. This  is the second time that The Society has won this award (the last time being in 2005).

Here is what the judges said about The Society:

Wine Club of the Year – “Founded in 1874, the Wine Society has stood the test of time in terms of quality and service. Their wine list features great wines on every page and the team are actively involved in events and activities. Their decision to drop their margins and reinvest previous year’s profits back in to the club is commendable. The Society’s specialist buying team is a great credit to them.”

Merchant of the Year – “In a fluctuating market, The Wine Society has consolidated its position.  They do everything well, from entry point own label to offering some of the best wines in the world. Their storage facilities in Stevenage are state-of-the-art, and have recently been expanded. Their offerings range from wines sold En Primeur to great mature vintages, cellared in that wonderful warehouse. They sell over 600,000 cases a year to 110,000 clients. Their wine-list is diverse and well-researched. The Wine Society is gloriously traditional but right up to date – a proper, authentic wine merchant.”

The full list of award winners can be found by clicking here. Well done to all of our colleagues in the wine trade who won an award.

As Marcel and I went up to collect the award, the music playing was the Black Eyed Peas: “I gotta feelin’ that tonight’s gonna be a good night …” Well, it certainly was!

Ewan Murray
Head of Tastings, Events & PR

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