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Australia Success At London Wine Competition


Here we pick out the star performers from Australia over the last five years and look at the reasons for their success.

Year after year Australia has proved itself to be the country to beat in the London Wine Competition. Since the awards were introduced in 2018 Australian producers have picked up the most overall Gold medals and seen a number of individual producers pick up the biggest accolades in their category. But the most staggering fact of all is Australia has picked up the best overall wine in the competition for each of the four years that the competition has been running.

It will come as no surprise to the Australian wine community that its producers have done so well in the London Wine Competition, but it might raise a few eyebrows elsewhere in the world, particularly in Europe and the old classic wine-producing countries of France, Italy and Spain.

But this is also a competition that is ready-made for the styles and types of wine that Australia is making. The London Wine Competition bases its scores, medals and awards on three key factors:

  • the overall quality of the wine and how it performs when tasted blind. 

  • the value of the wine at its price point and quality. 

  • what the wine looks like in terms of packaging and design. 

Producing wines with excellent value for money that stand out to consumers on the shelf with their bright, imaginative labels are the key factors that have made Australia the number one best selling country in UK retailers and supermarkets. In fact, Australia has nearly twice the market share of its nearest rivals, France and Italy in the UK off-trade accounting for a third of the top 18 brands sold in British retailers (IRI).

In 2020 Australia was the second-largest source of wine imported into the UK by volume and fourth-largest by value, while the UK is Australia’s largest export market in volume terms, accounting for approximately 36% of the total exported wine volume in 2020.  

Here we pick out the star performers from Australia over the last five years and look at the reasons for their success. 

2018: Wine of the Year, Best Wine by Value, Best Shiraz/Syrah, Best in Show Australia
Arcadian Shiraz
97 Points 
Producer: Idyll Wine Company 
Vintage: 2017

Winemakers of Idyll Wine Co

Winemakers of Idyll Wine Company

The first year of the London Wine Competition saw one producer pick up a treasure trove of wines including Wine of the Year, Best Wine by Value and Best Wine by Varietal for Shiraz. To win Wine of the Year you need to be the best scoring wine in each of the three key criteria: quality, value and design.

The Idyll Wine Co is located in Australia’s picturesque Moorabool Valley and has been producing wine since the mid-1960s and was one of the first wineries to plant vines in the state of Victoria.

In total Australia picked up just over a third of the Gold medals awarded, with Italy in second place. Another key performer in 2018 was RedHeads Whip-Hand from Direct Wines Production which won the best overall Cabernet Sauvignon in the competition. 

2019: Wine of the Year, Best by Quality, Best in Show Australia, Best Shiraz/Syrah
Kellermeister Wild Witch Shiraz
98 Points
Producer Name: Kellermeister
Vintage: 2015

Kellermeister Wild Witch Shiraz

Kellermeister Wild Witch Shiraz, 2019 Wine of the Year

Australia was also out in front in 2019 picking up 11 Gold medals and scooping up 31% of the medals awarded. It also picked up the best overall Wine of the Year thanks to the Kellermeister winery and its Kellermeister Wild Witch Shiraz. Situated in the Barossa Valley the judges were blown away by the quality of its Shiraz and the quality of the Wild Witch Shiraz which is only produced in years when the producer is assured of its premium quality. 

Kellermeister is well versed in winning awards and is named as one of the top 10% of producers in Australia by respected local wine critic, James Halliday. 

Mark Pearce, Kellermeister’s owner and winemaker said of the 2019 success: “Such a strong showing on the international stage is great for our state, our beautiful Barossa region and for Kellermeister. We’re thrilled. In fact, we’re over the moon. For Wild Witch Shiraz to be judged Wine of the Year at such a prestigious international event is a massive achievement for Kellermeister.”

2020: Wine of the Year, Winery of the Year, Best by Quality, Best Shiraz/Syrah, Best in Show Australia
The Dead Arm
97 Points
Producer Name: d’Arenberg
Vintage: 2017

The Dead Arm

Winemaker Chester Osborn showing of d'Arenberg 

Australia succeeded again in 2020 making it a perfect hat-trick of wins for best overall Wine of the Year. This time around it was one of McLaren Vale’s star producers, d’Arenberg, and the charismatic and larger-than-life winemaker Chester Osborn that was the toast of the world with its 2017 vintage of its The Dead Arm Shiraz. Other key performers in 2020 saw Shaw Wines pick up Best Merlot in the competition for its Estate Merlot 2017 vintage. 

To pick up the overall best wine in the competition for the third year in a row was an amazing achievement for Australia considering this was the year the number of entries well surpassed the previous two years. In all, there were over 1,000 entries from 43 countries, including nearly 200 entries from Australia alone. 

2021: Wine of the Year, Best in Quality, Best in Show Australia, Best in Cabernet Sauvignon, Best in Shiraz, Best in Pinot Noir 
Levrier by Jo Irvine 2015 Anubis Cabernet Sauvignon
96 Points   
Producer: Levrier by Jo Irvine
Vintage: 2015

Levrier by Jo Irvine 2015 Anubis Cabernet Sauvignon

Levrier by Jo Irvine Vineyard 

The hits keep coming for Australia with winemaker, Jo Irvine being awarded the Best Wine of the Year for her Levrier by Jo Irvine 2015 Anubis Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Sid Patel, chief executive and founder of the Beverage Trade Network that runs the London Wine Competition said: “It’s amazing to see Australia top the London Wine Competition again. This year three out of the top six wines were Australian. Mr Riggs 2014 The Chap from Mr Riggs Wine Co and 2019 Brothers in Arms Cabernet Sauvignon from Brothers in Arms Vineyards Pty Ltd secured the second-highest scores.”

Mr Riggs 2014 The Chap Shiraz won Best Varietal for Shiraz and Bannockburn’s Clyde Park 2020 Single Block F College Pinot Noir the best of its kind in the world for Pinot Noir. 

Levrier by Jo Irvine 2015 Anubis Cabernet Sauvignon

Levrier by Jo Irvine 2015 Anubis Cabernet Sauvignon

Of her success, Jo Irvine said: “I am extremely proud that my Levrier 2015 Anubis Barossa Cabernet scored so highly at this 2021 London Wine Competition. I spent years with my small team bringing Levrier to life, from vineyard to final packaging, so I feel genuinely delighted to be recognized with these awards. To get top results on four categories and totaling three gold medals in one show feels amazing.”

She said she was particularly pleased to win so many awards in the competition as it is judged “by the world’s leading buyers, Master Sommeliers and MWs, which makes for more realistic feedback”.

“I also like the idea of being assessed on quality, value for money, packaging, and flavour. It’s a fantastic accolade for a small family-owned winery in the Barossa to win on the world stage. World-class wine shows like the London Wine Competition understand the importance of the creative process involved in making a beautiful work of art, both on the inside and the outside of the bottle, that really appeals to wine lovers,” she added. 

It's time to enter your brands in the 2023 London Wine Competition and grow in 2023. The submission deadline is February 22. Enter now and ship your samples.