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News - 23.01.12

New record of contesting wines in Argentina Wine Awards 2012

728 wines will be evaluated by international winemakers in Argentina’s most important wine competition, to be held from February 19 to 24.

The 700-sample record number was, once again, easily broken. The 2012 edition of Argentina Wine Awards (AWA), the most important wine competition, organized by Wines of Argentina and the Argentine Wine Corporation (COVIAR) and operated by Área del Vino, will feature 728 wines from 145 wineries.  

Last year’s edition featured 720 samples, which already represented a record at the time. This year, however, 27 new wineries came into play and, for the first time, 46 wineries collectively increased their number of samples to 109 wines, according to Wines of Argentina.

AWA has been held every year since 2007 with the aim to promote Argentine wine exports to key markets such as the USA, Canada, Brazil and the United Kingdom. With a view to this, an international panel of judges from those countries are called together to evaluate the competing wines and participate in the “Successful Wines and Styles” seminar. Traditionally including six local winemakers among the AWA panel of judges, the sixth edition of the competition carries the name “World’s Top Winemakers.” The big news is that the international judging panel will additionally be made up of world-acclaimed winemakers, who will get the chance to discuss the quality of the samples tasted among their Argentine colleagues.

Taking a quick glance at the list of judges, one may find some very interesting names, connected to some of the most prestigious wines and wineries. Michael Silacci, winemaker at Opus One, heads that VIP list. Prestigious Opus One, founded by Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild (Mouton Rothschild), features Silacci as Viticulture and Enology director since 2001 and as a winemaker since 2004, when he took charge of the overall vineyard and wine management. Silacci previously worked as a winemaker for Stags Leap Wine Cellars.

Sassicaia Winery, considered as one of the Super Tuscan wineries, has also honored the competition with the attendance of its winemaker as a member of the AWA judging panel. Sassicaia Winery, located in Bolgheri, on the Etruscan shore near Livorno and property of Marquis Nicolo Incisa della Rocchetta, is known for the revolution it created in the Tuscan wine scene. Sassicaia’s winemaker is Graziana Grassini and she is one of the three women who will be taking part of the event. Barbara Tamburini, a consulting winemaker for 24 highly renowned companies in Italy, from Tuscany to Sicily, will also be there. She is the president of Bolgheri DOC, famous for the production of prestigious red wines. The third female figure will be Marlene Soria, owner and winemaker of Château Peyre Rose, located in the exquisite region of Languedoc-Roussillon, in the South of France.

Joey Tensley, owner and winemaker, released Tensley Wines in 1998 with but a hundred cases and one goal only: to elaborate wines that would allow the vineyards of the rare and little-known Santa Barbara County to speak for themselves. Today, thirteen years later, Tensley is a 4,000-case-a-year business with the best Syrah of the decade, according to Wine Spectator; a history of high scoring by Robert Parker and a Food and Wine Magazine award for producing “the best Syrah in the United States at over USD 20.”

The judging panel is complete with other influential personalities such as Gills Pauquet from Laboratoires Pauquet in Libourne, Bordeaux, France; Alastair Maling, MW from New Zealand and winemaker at Villa Maria Winery; Vittorio Fiore, consultant in Tuscany, Italy; Anthony Hamilton Russell, owner and winemaker of the renowned South-African winery Hamilton Russell¸ and Andrea Mullineux, from Mullineux Wines, from South Africa as well. The United States and Chile will also be there through the eminent winemakers Robert Pepi, from Robert Pepi Winery; and Marcelo Retamal, from Viña De Martino.

Designed to benchmark and reward the quality and advancement of the Argentine wine industry, the Argentina Wine Awards has become established as the most important event in the local wine event calendar.

The Program

 The event consists of three main activities to be carried out in the course of four days: a blind tasting session of Argentine wines by a world-renowned panel of judges, a seminar where the judges evaluate the quality of successful wines that are now commercialized in each key market and make recommendations to the participants, and an award ceremony and cocktail reception, where the most highly regarded personalities of the wine industry meet to honor the award-winning wineries. This year, the blind tasting session will take place between February 19 and 23 at the Diplomatic Hotel, in Mendoza; the seminar on Successful Wines and Styles, on February 24 at the Sheraton Hotel; while the award ceremony will be held that same evening at Bodega Trapiche.

To enroll or request further information, please contact:  

Pamela Ubilla

Área del Vino

9 de Julio 1485 Piso 4 CP

(5500) Mendoza, Argentina

++ 54 (0) 261 4239584


Gabriela Malizia