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French Wine Awards explains judging

Published:  23 July, 2008

French Wines has clarified the judging process of its annual awards after three of the six gongs went to members (or their companies) of the judging panel.

The Best UK Product Launch (won by Premire/Boutinot),

UK On-Trade Supplier (Les Caves de Pyrene) and UK Supermarket Buyer (Laura Jewell MW of Sainsbury's) all had representatives on the panel, but French Wines was quick to rule out any jiggery-pokery.

A spokeswoman said: What happens is that, when the nominations are announced, if any of the judging panel has been nominated, we ask them how they want to play it.

For example, in the case of Deborah Brooks [of Boutinot], we asked her to step out of the judging room while we discussed the nominees. And for the supermarket-buyer category, we put it out to vote to 100 people in the trade. It was totally fair and square.'

The spokeswoman added that last week's ceremony had gone very well and that the awards are now one of the key events in the wine calendar'.

The other winners at the ceremony were:

Tasting Room, Bath (Best UK Independent Retailer);

Ronan Sayburn (UK On-Trade Personality); and

Tony Laithwaite, Direct Wines (Outstanding Contribution on the UK Market).