The IWC Merchant Awards recognise the work of everyone involved in making wine available to consumers: sommeliers, educators, journalists and wine critics, distributors, promoters... Spanish Wine Lover won the Best Online News Site for the third year in a row. This is a major boost for the work we have done since we launched the website in September 2014 and a wonderful present as we celebrate our fifth anniversary.
Once again, the jury praised the international scope of our site, published in Spanish and English. This is possible thanks to the efforts of our English editor Yolanda Ortiz de Arri. Publishing in two languages remains our most challenging task given the extra time it requires on a daily basis.
A website like Spanish Wine Lover is the result of the efforts of a great team and of the loyalty of many readers who greatly value our contents. The wide array of issues we write about is not really our merit, but the natural result of the burgeoning state of the Spanish wine scene.
As the president of the jury Pedro Ballesteros MW and chef Ferran Adrià (Personality of the Year for his mammoth Bullipedia, including the Wine Sapiens) pointed out at the awards ceremony, there has never been a better time for Spanish wines or better wines than the ones that are made now. In a way, SWL is a mere loudspeaker for the exciting recovery of forgotten terroirs and grape varieties, the increasing diversity of wines and the styles adopted by the new generations or the evolution of well-established producers.
It was a pleasure to share the stage with so many great wine professionals. The stars of the evening were González Byass (two awards, plus the Champion of Champions at the international IWC competition), Ramón Bilbao (two awards), Bodeboca (Best Online Store award for the third year in a row) and José Peñín who received the Special Lifetime Award. The Guía Peñín founder explained that he started his career without any previous knowledge about wine, but that he always sought the company of good professionals to embark on pioneering business projects like Bouquet, the first wine magazine in Spain or the first communication agency specialised in wine.
Best Hotel for Wine Tourism: Torralbenc (Menorca)
Best Wine Tourism Experience: González Byass for Tío Pepe Festival
Best Supermarket for Wine: Makro
Best Specialist Retailer: Vins i Licors Grau
Best Wine Store in a Winery: González Byass Tío Pepe
Best Online Store: Bodeboca
Best Marketing/Advertising Campaign: Ramón Bilbao for El sueño de Ramón Bilbao
Best International Marketing Campaign: Ramón Bilbao for Spanish Wine Academy
Best Promotional Idea: Consejo Regulador de las Denominaciones de Origen Vinos de Jerez y Manzanilla for Copa Jerez Forum
Best Packaging: Cordorníu for Ars Collecta Codorníu
Best Wine Magazine: Selectus Wines
Best Wine Guide: Guía de Vinos, Bodegas y Destilados de Galicia 2019
Best Online Platform: Spanish Wine Lover
Best Wine Educator: The Wine Studio
Best Wine Bar: Monvínic (Barcelona)
Best Wine List: Ambivium (Peñafiel, Valladolid)
Best Sommelier: Juan Luis García from Casa Marcial (Arriondas, Asturias)
Best Wine Distributor: Wine is social
Special Award: Personality of the Year 2019: Ferran Adrià
Special Lifetime Award: José Peñín
Best Spanish Red: Alcubilla de Avellaneda 2015, Legaris-Raventós Codorníu (Ribera del Duero).
Best Spanish White: Finca Viñoa 2017 (Ribeiro)
Best Spanish Fortified Wine: Oloroso Don Gonzalo VOS 20, Valdespino-José Estévez (Jerez)
Best Spanish Sparkling: Batec Gran Reserva 2013, Freixa Rigau (Cava)
Best Spanish Winemaker: Sergio Martínez (Lustau)
Champion of Champions: Tío Pepe Cuatro Palmas Amontillado (González Byass)
Presided by Pedro Ballesteros MW, the panel of judges included Charles Metcalfe, co-chairman and founder of International Wine Challenge UK; journalist and expert Angela Mount; Aragonese producer Fernando Mora MW; Ferran Centelles, sommelier, elBullifoundation drinks director and Spanish correspondent for Jancis Robinson; Ángel Riesgo, publicist and former president of DDB España Benjamín Lana, food writer and president of publishing group Vocento’s Food Department; José Luis Benítez, general director of the Spanish Wine Federation (FEV); and Fran Ramírez and Óscar Marcos, sommeliers and maîtres at restaurant Alabaster in Madrid.