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News - 23.10.13

Argentina Wine Awards 2014: Wine Industry to Be Sized Up by Heavyweight International Journalism

Wines of Argentina, the organization responsible for promoting the image of Argentine wines around the world, presented the Argentina Wine Awards (AWA) 2014.

Designed and planned to evaluate and reward quality and progress in the Argentine wine industry, this competition has established itself as the most important event in the local calendar.

This eighth edition of the AWA will be held between February 16 and 21, 2014 in the province of Mendoza and will focus on the experience, recognition and knowledge of the main journalists and media specialists around the world. The purpose of this edition is to promote Argentine wine as widely as possible through international wine experts, opinion leaders and opinion makers. The judges who have confirmed their attendance so far are Steven Spurrier (UK), Patricio Tapia (Chile-Latam), Edwin Soon (Singapore), Suzana Barelli (Brazil), Bruce Shoenfeld (USA), Jorge Lucki (Brazil), Andreas Larsson (UK), DJ Kearny (Canada), Colu Henry (USA) and Andrea Robinson (USA). The selection of local judges is still in progress.

This contest does not only offer positive publicity for the wine industry but also a unique learning experience for the participants. Organized by Wines of Argentina and the Argentine Wine Corporation (COVIAR), the Argentina Wine Awards (AWA) is an iconic event that gives local wineries the chance to show Argentina’s high quality wines to the world by submitting their samples to be taste tested behind closed doors by a judging panel formed by prestigious wine experts.

In addition, for the first time, a special Trophy will be awarded to each of the participating wineries in order to encourage wineries from all Argentine wine regions – North, Cuyo and Patagonia – to take part.

Another innovation to be introduced in the 2014 edition involves changing the traditional English 20-point wine scoring scale for the 100-point scale used by the main American magazines. The idea behind this is to improve communication of the results in the export markets and to turn the AWA awards into another promotion tool for wines.

At the previous edition of the Argentina Wine Awards, held in February this year, 182 wineries participated and 710 samples were submitted. Over 250 people attended the award-giving ceremony, including winery owners, winemakers, provincial government authorities, wine industry executives, members of the judging panel and journalists. A total of 24 Trophies, 49 gold medals, 242 silver medals and 314 bronze medals were awarded at the competition.

About the AWA Awards

The criterion used for tasting is based on the classification of all samples according to type, variety and price. The samples are evaluated during a blind tasting. Moreover, special care is taken to make sure that the participating brands are available both in the local and international markets and that samples are not taken from barrels or tanks, that is, wines are required to have a brand and to be bottled and labeled, with a minimum number of bottles in stock.

To guarantee that the competition is transparent and perfectly organized, the British agency Hunt & Coady will be in charge of the logistics of this closed-door tasting.

Different wine experts are selected to be part of the judging panel each year, since each edition focuses on a specific theme and reinforces diverse aspects of the target markets. However, as every year, the organizers ensure the presence of 12 world class wine specialists who can offer a comprehensive view of the global wine market, including wine journalists, Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers, wine bloggers and winemakers, among others. The international judges will be joined by six respected experts from Argentina.

The scores and reviews by the different international wine personalities continue to carry weight in the trade, and may even have a direct impact on sale volumes in markets like the USA.
In addition, the scores obtained at this kind of contest are taken into account in tender processes in some markets like the Canadian Liquor Boards, clearly representing a commercial advantage.

About WofA

Wines of Argentina is the organization in charge of promoting the brand VINO ARGENTINO around the world. Since 1993, WofA has promoted the image of local wines abroad, in addition to guiding 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 is responsible for carrying out all the actions needed to achieve the objectives included in Argentina's 2020 Wine Strategic Plan, taking the challenge of transforming the Argentine wine industry and enhancing, with a strategic vision, its strengths and opportunities in the international wine, grape concentrated juice, raisin and table grape markets. The Strategic Plan has been devised to create value by organizing and integrating all the industry players, with a view to producing higher quality wines and achieving consistency in all segments. Corporación Vitivinícola Argentina on Twitter: @Coviar1

About the Jury

Steven Spurrier: consultant editor at Decanter, he has chaired the Decanter World Wine Awards since 2004, one of the world's largest wine competitions, and co-chaired the Decanter Asia Wine Awards since 2012.

Patricio Tapia: wine journalist and certified wine taster, he currently works for the Wine & Spirits magazine in New York, where he writes about South American and Spanish wines, and for Decanter in London, where he reports on the Argentine and Chilean wine scenes.

Bruce Shoenfeld: award-winning author and journalist. Publisher of the Travel+Leisure magazine and former contributing editor for Wine Spectator. His articles have been published 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: since 2001 a weekly wine columnist for Valor Econômico, Brazil's most prestigious business newspaper, he also regularly contributes wine articles to the prestigious monthly magazines Valor Investe and Prazeres da Mesa. His participation in the Brazilian wine scene includes daily columns on wine for the CBN radio program in Brazil and abroad.

Edwin Soon: nominated by Vinitaly's International Wine and Spirits, he was awarded a distinction as Communicator of the year 2011 and received Wine for Asia's Wine Pioneer Award. He writes a column for the Appetite magazine and The Malaysian Star newspaper.

Suzana Barelli: journalist and writer at the Menu magazine in Brazil.

Andreas Larsson: sommelier-wine director at the PM & Vänner Restaurant and wine writer.

DJ Kearney: wine critic for WineAlign, sommelier instructor and journalist at the Vancouver Magazine.

Colu Henry: special projects director at Bon Appétit.

Andrea Robinson: one of the eighteen female Master Sommeliers in the world and the first woman to be nominated by the Sommelier Society of America as the best American sommelier in 1997. She has authored numerous books and currently hosts wine shows on TV.