22 Feb, 2024
18-19 March 2024
10 April 2024
4 March 2024
In the heart of the ever-evolving wine industry, London Competitions' Chief Growth Officer, Ankita Okate, sat down with Sara Muirhead, a distinguished freelance wine consultant, and esteemed judge at our iconic London Wine Competition (LWC). They chatted about Sara's journey, enriched with experiences since 2006, unfolding a narrative of passion, innovation, and a keen eye for excellence.
Image Source: London Wine Competition 6th Edition Judges - 2023
Reflecting on the LWC's 7th Edition, Sara unveils what sets this competition apart in the wine industry. The distinctive approach of evaluating not just the wine's quality but also considering packaging and value resonates deeply with Sara. This innovative judging process, she believes, offers invaluable insights to producers.
Recalling a standout moment from the 2023 LWC, Sara shares the excitement of encountering a red from Southern Italy packaged in a paper bottle. The judging team's high score for the packaging exemplifies how the LWC not only appreciates quality but also applauds creativity and uniqueness in presentation.
For wine brands seeking to leverage their wins at competitions like the LWC, Sara offers valuable tips. Social media emerges as a powerful platform, with strategies ranging from captivating bottle shots to stickers showcasing the won award. Sara suggests, "Wins can be promoted on social media, with a bottle shot, the name of the award, and the tasting note. Stickers showing the award won could be stuck on the bottles, and shelf-talkers with the award and tasting notes could be produced for supermarkets or wine merchant shops.”
Image Source: 2021 Wine of the Year - Lévrier by Jo Irvine 2015 Anubis Cabernet Sauvignon
Peering into 2024, Sara foresees trends in alternative packaging, sustainability, and varying alcohol levels shaping the wine industry. To stay relevant and innovative, brands should embrace these changes.
Image Features: Sustainable Wines Logo
What excites Sara the most about being part of the LWC? The growing number of entries year on year signifies the increasing significance of the competition's results for both producers and consumers. Sara emphasizes the unique judging process of the LWC, where each wine is evaluated not just for quality but also for value and packaging. The feedback provided adds substantial value, offering producers actionable insights and recommendations for improvement.
Image Features: London Wine Competition's Judging Criteria
Outside her professional life, Sara's love for wine extends into cooking, where she enjoys pairing wines with food. During holidays, she explores wineries, savoring local wines, especially those made from indigenous grape varieties.
Image Features: Best non-alcoholic wine 2023: The best low-alcohol and alcohol-free red, white, sparkling and rosé wines (Source: Expert Reviews UK)
In her leisure time, Sara delights in wines from Northwest Spain, savoring the Mencia variety for reds and whites from Godello, Albarino, Treixadura, and Loureiro. These, she declares, are great food wines.
Looking ahead, Sara predicts increased interest in wines from England, wines from Georgia, and the rising popularity of No and Low drinks. As for her favorite spots in London, The Pig and Butcher, Salut!, Lorne, and many others make the list.
Image Source: Google Images (Ft. The Pig and Butcher, UK)
In the concluding notes, Sara extends an invitation to wine brands to enter the LWC, emphasizing the competition's unusual and valuable judging process that adds significant value to each submission.
In this captivating journey with Sara Muirhead, Master of Wine, the world of wine unravels as a vibrant tapestry of innovation, excellence, and a celebration of the diverse flavors that make every bottle unique.
International and Domestic Submission deadline is February 22. If you are looking to grow your brand in 2024, looking for product feedback, or looking to get in front of real trade buyers. It's time to enter your wines in the London Competitions. Here's how to enter.