Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

The Wine Society leads the way in IWC 2013

Published:  19 July, 2013

The Wine Society was named overall Merchant of the Year at this week's International Wine Challenge Awards ceremony, which also saw Marks & Spencer named Supermarket of the Year for the fourth time since the Merchant Awards started in 1990.

The Wine Society was named overall Merchant of the Year at this week's International Wine Challenge Awards ceremony, which also saw Marks & Spencer named Supermarket of the Year for the fourth time since the Merchant Awards started in 1990.

The judges were impressed with how the Wine Society, which also won Wine Club of the Year, "produces market-leading profits which is so professionally reinvested into the company while keeping prices favourable".

The Merchant Awards were announced as part of a gala dinner held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on London's Park Lane to mark the 30th anniversary of the IWC.

M&S, which also picked up the Corporate Social Responsibility Award, was chosen for maintaining its "tradition of courageous and innovative buying in emerging regions" and can be "summarised as having vision, authenticity, quality and value".

Majestic Wine was also a double winner, picking up High Street Chain of the Year, for the ninth year in a row, and Wine Educator of the Year.

The full list of IWC 2013 Merchant Awards are:

Merchant of the Year awards


Small Agent of the Year Award for less than 10 employees.

Winner: Seckford Wine Agencies

Judges' comments: A feisty, dynamic and passionate business with very high quality agencies which they promote and sell tirelessly. Seckford Agencies are truly involved in the wines they sell with a real focus on quality and not quantity.


Grossi Wines Ltd

Large Agent of the Year Award

Winner: Boutinot

Judges' comments:  Boutinot's is a very personable business, offering competitive wines in a tough environment. A company who understands what people want to drink and who manage to deliver consistently. They are both subtle and effective.


Alliance Wine


Hallgarten Druitt & Novum Wines

Hatch Mansfield 

Liberty Wines

Direct Merchant of the Year sponsored by Ehrmanns. 

Winner: Tesco Wine by the Case

Judges' comments: Tesco Wine by the Case is have maintained great focus on engaging their consumers using all available touch-points. The wine fair continues to be a success and creates a real community amongst its members. Great communication is a forte of theirs whilst providing wine of every style and quality.


Laithwaite's Wine

Tanners Wines

The Wine Society


The Generic Campaign of the Year

Winner: The Big Fortified Tasting

Judges' comments:  Pushing the boundaries to make a difference in a challenging sector, The Big Fortified Tasting exhibited Coherence and focus about the event. The fact that the IVDP chose this tasting to launch the 2011 Port Vintage adds weight to this event.


Inter Rhone

Corporate Social Responsibility.

Winner: Marks & Spencer

Judges' comments: Marks and Spencer has put its money where its mouth is. It has shown clear evidence of what it has looked to do and what it has achieved. This is a retailer, for example, that is continuing to lead the field with lighter weight packaging.


Bibendum Wine Ltd

On-Trade Supplier of the Year.

Winner: Liberty Wines

Judges' comments: There are a lot of great things to say about Liberty Wines. How about: Fantastic service, brilliant wine list and over-all very nice people to deal with. The team works hard throughout the year hosting plenty of tastings and dinners with the winemakers bringing an extra service to the on-trade.


Alliance Wine 

Bibendum Wine Ltd  



Wine Club of the Year sponsored by Schott Zweisel

Winner: The Wine Society

Judges' comments: The Wine Society continues to offer great value for its club members from an impressive range which has been expertly selected by a great team of buyers. Its storage facilities at a fair price and the broad range of events throughout the year are everything you would want from a wine club.

Wine Educator of the Year, sponsored by Grupo Codorniu UK & Ireland

Winner: Majestic Wine

Judges' comments:  Majestic Wines continue to be motivated by passion in their execution and dedication to education. Single minded and continuous in their strategy to inform the consumer to drink better wine. Their in store wine courses have been a great success.


Berry Bros. & Rudd

Bibendum Wines Ltd


Wine List of the Year.

Winner: Armit Wines

Judges' comments:  Armit's wine list is a contemporary masterpiece. Brilliant integration of copy, graphics and photography matched with simple navigation and immense readability. It was these elements that made Armit stand out in a very tough category.

Highly Commended:

Yapp Brothers Ltd


Alliance Wine


Hallgarten Druitt & Novum Wines

Small Independent Merchant of the Year (one to three stores)

Winner: Noel Young Wines

Judges' comments: Wines sold with passion by Noel Young and his team. Single-mindedly dedicated to customer satisfaction and quality. Sold with inimitable style and panache. A passionate retailer who has also invested in his own wine. Noel Young Wines maintain an active marketing campaign with attractive case deals.


D. Byrne & Co

Noel Young Wines

The Secret Cellar

The Wine Reserve

Vagabond Wines

Large Independent Merchant of the Year, (four to 15 stores) sponsored by Santa Rita Wine Estates

Winner: Cambridge Wine Merchants

Judges' comments: Cambridge Wine Merchants is a really strong all round business that has grown to be extremely well integrated with the local business. Never known for resting on its laurels, it mixes tradition with innovation to stay ahead of the game. The successful franchise operation goes from strength to strength.


Oxford Wine Company

Lea & Sandeman


Innovator of the Year award

Winner: Virgin Wines

Judges' comments: The one truly innovative company from this year's entries. Living and maintaining the value of the Virgin wine promise. Giving the consumers ownership and an opinion of how the wine tastes is admirable model.

High Street Chain sponsored by De Bortoli Wines

Winner: Majestic Wine Warehouses

Judges' comments: Majestic Wine continues to pull off the great double achievement of making money while providing great training for its staff. The judges were particularly impressed by how its staff are involved in direct communication with customers through social media.


Supermarket of the Year, sponsored by CoBevCo

 Winner: Marks & Spencer

Judges' comments: Marks and Spencer's maintains its tradition of courageous and innovative buying from emerging regions. Its commitment to training 'colleagues' and reaching out to customers through wine events is admirable. Impressed by the buying team's commitment to Fairtrade through its largest South African suppliers. M&S can be summarised as having Vision, Authenticity, Quality, and Value.




Morrison Supermarkets

IWC Merchant of the Year. (chosen from all the other merchant award winners)

Winner: The Wine Society

Judges' comments: A fantastic buying team that has created a great range at good value prices. The wider Wine Society team offer top level service to its vast numbers of members. The judges were also particularly impressed at how the Wine Society produces market leading profits which is so professionally re-invested into the company while keeping prices favourable.