Australian wines shine at International Wine Challenge

13 May, 2019 by Andy Young

Australia has enjoyed another successful year at the International Wine Challenge (IWC), claiming a total of 745 medals putting it second on the overall ladder, only behind France.

Australian wines were awarded 67 Gold, 319 Silver and 359 Bronze medals in the IWC, widely regarded as the world’s most rigorously judged wine competition. Demonstrating Australia’s strength in both white and red wines, the country as a whole won 35 Golds for its white wines and 32 for its reds. Twenty of the reds went to Shiraz wines and 19 of the white Golds went to Chardonnay wines.

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South Australia cemented its place as Australia’s top wine-producing region gaining nearly half of Australia’s Gold tally – 33 – as well as 202 Silver medals and 238 Bronze medals.

Within the South Australia region, it was the cooler Adelaide Hills that shone, taking ten Gold medals, with Chardonnay and Riesling dominating the white grapes, and Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz for red.

It was also another successful year for Australian Vintage Limited, which was the most highly celebrated Australian producer with eight Gold medals. Chief Winemaker, Neil McGuigan, was also shortlisted for International White Winemaker of the Year – again.

McGuigan said: “This is the fourth time we have been shortlisted by the International Wine Challenge for the International White Winemaker of the Year award, winning it three times in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

“The results are a great achievement and credit to our winemaking team, which show our commitment to making quality wine with outstanding fruit purity.”

AVL was also awarded three Trophies for both McGuigan Wines and Tempus Two: McGuigan Cellar Select Chardonnay 2017 – NSW Chardonnay Trophy; McGuigan Shortlist Riesling 2013 – Eden Valley Riesling Trophy; Tempus Two Uno Semillon 2014 – Hunter Valley Semillon Trophy.

It was also a good year for Tasmania’s Tolpuddle Vineyard, which claimed the Australian White Wine Trophy for its Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay 2017, earning an impressive 97 points from the judges.

Senior winemaker Adam Wadewitz said: “We knew it was a special wine from the start but the 2017 Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay has proven to be at the top if its game. To be judged the best Australian white wine at this level is just awesome.”

The wine also took out the Australian and Tasmanian Chardonnay Trophies, mirroring the wins the winery’s Pinot Noir 2013 had at the 2015 IWC, when it won the Best Australian Red Wine, Best Australian and Tasmanian Pinot Noir Trophies.

Other Gold-winning Chardonnays from Australia included the McGuigan Cellar Select Chardonnay 2017, Penfolds Bin A Chardonnay 2017, Hardys Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2016 and Flametree Wines’ S.R.S. Wallcliffe Chardonnay 2017.

Oz Clarke, IWC co-chair, said: “This year, every time I got a Chardonnay flight to judge, my spirits soared. I have always loved Chardonnay and have been saddened by how its reputation has been buffeted and bruised by fashion and fad. Well, this year’s results show it is back in all its glory.”