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Spanish wine industry celebrates inaugural IWC Spanish Merchant Awards

Published:  21 October, 2016

The cream of the Spanish wine industry turned out in force on Monday for the International Wine Challenge's (IWC) inaugural Spanish Wine Merchant awards, with over 200 guests attending the awards dinner in the surrounds of one of Madrid's most famous buildings, Casino de Madrid.

The awards were launched this year as part of the IWC's intent to develop their successful Merchant Awards in partnerships around the world, and reward wine producers, retailers, and restaurants in each country for their contributions.

On the night, Miguel Torres - one of the most recognisable names in Spanish wine - collected the award for Wine Personality of the Year, while Custodio Lopez Zamarra, one of Spain's top sommeliers for over four decades, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award.

Carlos Echapresto, of restaurant Venta Moncalvino picked up Best Sommelier, while Madrid's Alabaster restaurant was awarded best wine list.

Marques de Riscal scooped the trophy for Best Fine Wine Hotel of the Year.

In the off-trade, Lidl beat off the competition to claim Best Large Scale Retailer, with acknowledgement also given to the work that the Spanish team are doing to select and promote Spanish wines for Lidl worldwide.

Madrid's Lavinia won the Specialist Wine Retailer gong, with Alma Vinos Unicos taking the prize for Best Wholesaler.

"The IWC is the most influential wine competition in the world, so it's only fitting that we should run an awards scheme that celebrates those who actually deliver the wines to the consumer, in their various sectors, and continue to develop best practices and innovation," Andrew Reed, managing director of events and exhibitions at William Reed Business Media.

"We are thrilled to see Spain blazing the trail for this international initiative, and congratulate Mateo & Co on organising such a successful year one event."

The International Wine Challenge's (IWC) inaugural Spanish Wine Merchant awardsThe International Wine Challenge's (IWC) inaugural Spanish Wine Merchant awards

The IWC Spanish Merchant awards were judged in September by a team of Spanish industry specialists, covering all sectors.

The judging team included three British judges, including Charles Metcalfe, co-chair of the IWC, in order to bring an international perspective to the panel.

The judging panel was chaired by Pedro Ballesteros MW.

The competition and awards were organised by Mateo & Co - one of the leading branding and communications companies in Spain.

"We are thrilled to be pioneers in this new venture, and to have launched the IWC Spanish Merchant Awards. Spain has one of the lowest wine consumptions per capita in Europe, with the domestic market accounting for only 30% of the country's production. Therefore awards which focus on the quality of the Industry and the entire retail chain is therefore much needed," director Patricia Mateo, said.

"The reaction to the awards has been fantastic. We were thrilled to bring in over 200 entries for the first year of our awards, and to work with such an esteemed panel of judges, who understand every aspect of the industry."

Mateo&Co worked closely with key sponsors, in particular Castilla-La-Mancha, who presented wines from each of its nine D.Os at the pre-awards reception.

Mateo&Co also worked closely with Madrid City Hall as hosting city for this firts awards edition.

Chris Ashton, IWC event director summed up the event, and the IWC's vision for the future. "The IWC Spanish Merchant Awards were a wonderful success. This is the first of many International IWC Merchant Awards that will be held. In all cases we aim to celebrate the most successful small and large businesses, who deliver an outstanding service to wine consumers across each country," he said.

"The awards are based on top quality wines, but most importantly, those with a commercially successful, viable and proven business model."