Why the London Wine Competition is the world’s most important for trade buyers
13/08/2018 The London Wine Competition, even in its first year, has established itself as arguably the world’s most important wine competition in terms of how an average consumer would decide which wine to buy.
It’s said a picture is worth more than a 1,000 words, which is very true when describing how the average consumer chooses which wine to pick off a supermarket shelf. Even if you are a wine connoisseur and know the country, the region, or even the producer that has made the wine, what it looks like, compared to all the other hundreds of bottles down the wine aisle, will be vital in determining whether you decide to buy it or not.
This is the fundamental reason why the London Wine Competition, even in its first year, has established itself as arguably the world’s most important wine competition in terms of how an average consumer would decide which wine to buy.
That’s what the London Wine Competition is all about.
It assesses wines in exactly the same way a consumer would. How much does it cost? What does the wine look like? How engaging and attractive is the label? Does the image, the story it is trying to tell match up to the quality of the wine inside the bottle and how much it is being sold for?
Those are the questions the London Wine Competition and its esteemed panel of world wine experts look to answer when deciding which wines entered are worthy of a winning medal or not.
New and very different
It’s why it is completely different from the vast majority of all other world wine competitions. The standard process is to taste the wines blind, simply on quality, with no knowledge of what the bottle looks like, what stories are on the label and whether they do an effective job in truly selling the quality of the wine at the price it is on sale for. What’s more judges in these competitions mostly don’t know how much a particular wine they are tasting costs. Just what it tastes like.
The London Wine Competition knows and appreciates the fact that shoppers buy wine with their eyes. Long before they get the chance to try it. It’s why shop windows are full of attractive displays and in your face promotional messages promising us the world if we were to go in.
It’s the same in restaurants, bars and hotels. Managers and sommeliers may not be able to show what a wine looks like on their wine lists, but they will always present a wine to a customer before they agree to open it. If a wine doesn’t look right, the chances are it won’t taste right either.
It’s why the London Wine Competition only uses judges that are on the front line of buying and selling wine to the consumer. They are the ones that truly know what wines are selling in the world’s best supermarkets, wine shops, restaurants and bars.
In their daily working lives they are sourcing and buying wines they believe are best suited to sell to their customers. They are not choosing wines based on what they like. Their skill is finding the wines they know their customers will want to buy.
To do so they use three key criteria: the quality of the wine; its value for money; and what it looks like.
Then there is one extra ingredient on top, which again separates the London Wine Competition from all other wine competitions. Quality. How will the wine taste like to the average consumer? How easy is it to drink? Will you want to pour yourself a second glass? That’s what the London Wine Competition judges were asked to consider when determining one wine over another.
Judges like Mathias Camilleri MS, the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year for 2017, who said the London Wine Competition stands out because it assesses a wine on its presentation, its value and its quality. All three, he says, are vital in determining a wine’s true worth over another.
A wine, says Camilleri, must make an instant impression on your customer and what it looks like is a key part of that.
Matteo Montone, head sommelier at the Edition Hotel, part of the Jason Atherton group, agrees that a wine has to look as good as it tastes. How it is packaged adds to the overall value of the experience, he says, which is why given the choice he always prefers a wine sealed with a cork over a screwcap. You put good wine in a good bottle is his motto.
Fellow judge, Elvis Ziakos, head sommelier at The Greenhouse Restaurant in London, said that whilst ultimately it is his job to ensure any wine on his list goes well with the style of food in the restaurant, the value it offers the customer is also crucial. It is all part of creating an overall eating and drinking experience, adds Ziakos
Clement Robert MW, head sommelier and wine buyer at 28°-50° Wine Workshop & Kitchen, also liked the fact that value for money and the quality factor of the wines in the London Wine Competition are so important in deciding the winners. He says he feels very strongly about offering his customers value for money. It’s something he is searching for every day, and will taste over 100 wines a week, in order to find good quality, value wines to sell by the glass.
Ideal choice for consumers
The London Wine Competition is all about finding wines that everyday consumers are going to like. Quality wines that have that winning combination of looking the part, offering great value for money and are great to drink and share with friends and family.