UK supermarkets win top wine awards

Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

British supermarkets are gaining credibility for their wines after winning a string of prestigious awards.

Our supermarkets won nine of the 41 awards won by supermarkets overall in the International Wine Challenge (IWC), with Tesco taking the top title for wine supermarket of the year.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

Supermarket wines have long been viewed as the cheap and cheerful option, with specialist merchants often favoured as the place to go for a superior quality bottle.

However the wine scene appears to be evolving in the UK as supermarkets up their game in offering high quality wines at affordable prices. The improvement was recognised in the nine awards won at this year's IWC awards dinner in London on Tuesday, up from six in 2011.

Tesco wines took three awards in the Great Value Champion awards including Tesco Finest Pouilly Fumé, Fournier Père et Fils (Great Value Champion White); Tesco Finest Gigondas 2010, Vignobles La Coterie (Great Value Champion Red) and Tesco Finest Sauternes 2009, Yvon Mau (Great Value Sweet Wine).

When accepting the award for overall supermarket of the year winner, Dan Javo, category director for beers, wines and spirits at Tesco said: "Fundamentally is it all about customers. We spend a lot of time trying to understand what they want and make sure that we are able to do it.

"But you can't always follow the customer 100% of the time – sometimes you've got to lead."

Marks & Spencer won the own label range of the year award and Innovator of the Year, as well as the great value rosé category for Le Froglet Rosé 2011. Sainsbury's won the Fairtrade award for its Taste the Difference Chenin Blanc 2011.

Co-chairman Charles Metcalfe said: "IWC medals help to take the risks out of buying wine and point consumers towards quality wines at all prices and in all styles."

The IWC is in its 29th year and led by a team of world-renowned wine experts working with 400 judges. The judges taste over 120,000 bottles and each gold medal-winning wine is blind tasted at least three and up to six times.
Read Full Story