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News - 03.02.14

Argentina Wine Awards 2014: Argentine Wine to Be Put to the Test by the International Press

Organized by Wines of Argentina and starring a judging panel that brings together the main spokespersons of the international wine market and some of the most talented local winemakers, Mendoza will be home to a new edition of the prestigious competition next February.

Wines of Argentina, the organization responsible for promoting the image of Argentine wine worldwide, presents the Argentina Wine Awards 2014 (AWA). This year's edition, designed and planned to evaluate and reward the quality and advancement of the Argentine wine industry, aims at promoting the brand Vino Argentino in the main international markets. The judging panel, made up of major international opinion leaders and connoisseurs, will be joined by a group of talented Argentine winemakers acting as national judges.

The eighth edition of the AWA will take place from February 16 to 21, 2014, in the City of Mendoza, Argentina. The competition, organized by Wines of Argentina, is set in the context of the 2020 Strategic Wine Plan, under the coordination of the Argentine Wine Corporation (COVIAR).

This year, the emphasis will be placed on working with experienced, world-renowned wine figures from various markets, in order to strengthen Argentina's positioning in such markets as well as to promote the quality of Argentine wines and the variety of the country's styles and terroirs through these knowledgeable experts. In this way, Wines of Argentina continues to work for the development of the image of Argentine wine on the global stage.

The judging panel will feature the following experts: Steven Spurrier (UK), Patricio Tapia (Chile - Latam), Edwin Soon (Singapore), Suzana Barelli (Brazil), Bruce Schoenfeld (USA), Jorge Lucki (Brazil), Andreas Larsson (Sweden), DJ Kearney (Canada), Colu Henry (USA), Tommy Lam (Singapore), Nicholas Siu (Hong Kong), and Demei Li (China). Argentine winemakers Jorge Riccitelli, Roberto de la Mota, Sebastián Zuccardi, Daniel Pi, Alejandro Sejanovich, Mauricio Lorca, and Fernando Buscema will be part of the judging panel as well.


New Strong Trends on the Horizon

1-    A growing trend every year, evidenced in this year's edition by the number of samples submitted, is the growing participation of varieties that are being rediscovered by the market. Pinot Noir, for example, is one of them, as well as Cabernet Franc, which showed 60% more samples submitted than in the previous edition. In addition, rosé wines showed a major boost in the Argentina Wine Awards, with 50% more participation than in 2013.

2-    There has also been growing participation of sparkling wines since the very first AWA (2007). Equally popular in the international market, this category seems to be in full swing at the moment, after a strong development of new brands, styles and varieties over the course of last year.

3-    Boasting 45% growth with respect to 2013, white blends make up yet another booming category.


2014 News

This year's edition features a new set of elements to make the competition even more interesting. On the one hand, modifications will be introduced to the scoring system used until now. While in the past the traditional English 20-point scoring system was used, this year the qualities of wine will be scored on a scale of 100 points, in a fashion similar to that of the main American magazines. On the other hand, this edition will be witness to the addition, for the first time, of a special Trophy for each of Argentina's main regions - the North, Cuyo and Patagonia - with the aim of bestowing an even stronger federal quality on the event and bringing in wineries from all over the country.



About the AWA

The criterion for the blind tasting sessions is based on a classification of all samples according to their type, variety, and price. Countless details are also taken into account in order to guarantee the availability of the participating brands both in the domestic and foreign markets. So as to prevent samples being taken from tanks or barrels, attention is additionally paid to whether the submitted samples belong to an existing brand of bottled and labeled wines, with a minimum number of existing bottles being required.


With the aim of safeguarding the event's integrity and ensuring a flawless organization, the English consulting firm Hunt & Coady is in charge of the logistics of the competition, which is carried out behind closed doors.


In an attempt to provide each competition with new themes or frameworks, highlighting different features of the target markets, a new judging panel is invited to participate in each issue. However, each edition is guaranteed to bring together a panel of highly qualified specialists, including journalists, Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers, wine bloggers, and wine makers, among others, who will offer a comprehensive view of the global wine market. The team of international tasting judges will be also joined by six respected experts from Argentina.


The scores and reviews by the different international figures in the wine sector weigh heavily in the wine trade, and, in markets like the USA, may even get to determine how well a product sells. In addition to this, in a number of markets, such as the Liquor Boards in Canada for example, scoring in competitions like the AWA translates into extra points to win a tender, and thus becomes a clear commercial advantage.


About the AWA 2014 Judging Panel:

International Judges:

Steven Spurrier: consultant editor of the Decanter magazine, since 2004 President of the Decanter Wine Awards, one of most renowned wine competitions around the globe, and, as from 2012, Co-President of the Decanter Asia Wine Awards.

Patricio Tapia: a specialized journalist with a wine tasting diploma, Patricio is currently working for the Wine & Spirits magazine in New York, where he covers South American and Spanish wines; and for Decanter, in London, where he writes about the Argentine and Chilean wine scenarios.

Bruce Shoenfeld: award-winning author and journalist, editor of the Travel + Leisure magazine, and former collaborator of Wine Spectator. Bruce's publications are featured in magazines such as Gourmet, Food & Wine, Saveur, The World of Fine Wine, Wine & Spirits, and The New York Times Magazine, among others.

Jorge Lucki: a columnist for Valor Econômico, Brazil's most influential newspaper in business matters, Jorge has written a weekly column exclusively about wine for thirteen years now. He is also a regular wine writer for the prestigious monthly magazine Valor Investe and Prazeres da Mesa. Additionally, his activities in Brazil's wine sector include a daily wine column at CBN radio in Brazil and abroad.

Edwin Soon: nominated by Vinitaly's International Wine and Spirits, journalist Edwin Soon was lauded as Communicator of the Year 2011 and was also awarded the Wine Pioneer Award by Wine for Asia. He is a columnist for Appetite magazine and The Malaysian Star newspaper.

Suzana Barelli: journalist and editor of Menu magazine in Brazil.

Andreas Larsson: sommelier and wine director at Restaurant PM & Vänner, as well as a wine writer.

DJ Kearney: wine critic at WineAlign, Sommelierie instructor and journalist at Vancouver Magazine.

Colu Henry: Special Projects Director at Bon Appétit.

Tommy Lam: holder of a Wine MBA from the Bordeaux École de Management, in France, as well as an MBA from the University of Dubuque in the USA, Tommy is a Certified Sommelier (CS) with a Court of Master Sommelier Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) diploma by the Society of Wine Educators in the USA. He also holds a Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS) diploma of the Society of Wine Educators in the USA, and a Certificate on Piedmontese Wines (CPW) awarded by the University of Gastronomic Sciences.

Nicholas Siu (Hong Kong): editor of Cru Magazine, one of China's most important publications, based in Hong Kong.

Demei Li (China): regarded as China's best winemaker, and a graduate of the prestigious ENITA School in Bordeaux, Demei received his training during Chateau Palmer's 2001 harvest. He is an associate professor at the Beijing Agriculture College and at the School of Agricultural Studies (ESA), in Angers, France. In addition, he works as a winery consultant in China, and was awarded the International Trophy at the Decanter World Wine Awards in London 2011. His achievements and performance in the wine industry led him to win the Wine Intelligence 10-for-10 Business Award in 2012, in addition to being included in the 2013 Decanter Power List and being named RVF's "Man of the Year" in China's wine industry. He also works as a collaborator and consultant editor for several publications in China. He has written two books about wine and worked as the First Chief Winemaker for CFM Vineyard & Winery.

Argentine Judges:

Jorge Riccitelli: winemaker at Bodega Norton, Jorge was voted “Winemaker of the Year 2012” and became the first Argentine winemaker to win this internationally renowned award, given by the prestigious Wine Enthusiast magazine.

Roberto De La Mota: winemaker, Roberto was the first Argentine to become part of the International Wine Academy, in Switzerland.

Sebastián Zuccardi: agricultural engineer and a third-generation winemaker in the family, Sebastián shares his grandfather and father's passion for wines. Back in 2000, Sebastián and three friends set up their own sparkling wine project, Alma 4, sourced from non-traditional Argentine varietals. Last year he was acclaimed as the New Winemaker of 2013, an award given in the United Kingdom in the context of the Gaucho Argentine Winemaker Awards.

Daniel Pi: one of the most skilled and knowledgeable winemakers in Argentina, Daniel has worked in almost all the winegrowing provinces in the country. His thorough knowledge about Argentina's different terroirs and his valuable experience in the wine industry have earned him the position of Director of Winemaking and Viticulture at Grupo Peñaflor, one of the top 10 winemaking groups in the world, with Trapiche as its icon winery.

Alejandro Sejanovich: winemaker and agricultural engineer, Alejandro holds a master's degree in Viticulture and Winemaking earned in Montpellier, France. Regarded as one of the most talented and serious vine growers of Argentina, Alejandro worked at Bodega Catena Zapata and is currently a consultant at Bodega Casarena.

Mauricio Lorca: winemaker at Mauricio Lorca Winery, whose aim is to set a trend in terms of producing intense wines that display the full potential of the Argentine terroir.

Fernando Buscema:winemaker and general manager at Bodega CARO, Fernando is also the Research and Development Director at Bodega Catena Zapata.


About WofA

Wines of Argentina is the organization responsible for promoting the brand VINO ARGENTINO around the world. Since 1993, WofA has promoted the image of local wines abroad, in addition to helping to steer the export strategy of Argentine wineries through careful study and analysis of the changes taking place in consumer markets. Its aim is to contribute to the consolidation of Argentina as one of the main wine exporting countries in the world and to the global success of the Argentine wine industry by enhancing its positive image in the wine trade, among opinion leaders and consumers.


About the Argentine Wine Corporation (COVIAR):

The Argentine Wine Corporation manages and articulates the activities required in order to achieve the goals stated in the 2020 Strategic Wine Plan, taking up the challenge of transforming the wine sector and strategically boosting its strengths and opportunities in the global market of wine, concentrated grape juice, raisins, and table grapes. The Strategic Plan has been designed to add value to the industry by the organization and integration of all the stakeholders along the chain, with a view to producing higher quality wines, and achieving greater consistency across all segments and products.

Facebook: Corporación Vitivinícola Argentina (Argentine Wine Corporation)

Twitter: @Coviar1

For further information, please contact

Salem Viale González Villanueva – +54 9 11 5295-4114

Lala González Villanueva –

Stella Dottavio –