Australia, Portugal Dominate At China Wine Awards

South Australia’s Gatt Wines Won Six Double Gold Medals

This year's CWAs included 2,000 wines and spirits from 35 countries

Coinciding with the first Decanter Asia Wine Awards in Hong Kong, last week the third annual installment of the China Wine Awards (CWA) took place with 100 judges tasting 2,000 wines and spirits from 35 countries around the world. Leading the pack with 68 Gold Medal-winning wines and spirits was Australia, with the country’s Gatt Wines taking home six Double Gold Medals and Fox Gordon, the Barossa Valley Chateau Tanunda and Thorn-Clarke Wines all receiving at least four Gold medals.

According to CWA Consultant Nikolas Prehn, “Australia has been super-committed to raising the quality of their wines and has worked extremely hard to raise their game, so they deserve this success.”

Coming in after Australia in the rankings were Portugal (45 Gold medals), Italy and South Africa (37), Spain (27), France (26), New Zealand (19), Chile (16), Argentina (12) and Greece (10).

Considering the dominance of France in China’s high-end wine market — where the country accounts for nearly half of wine imports — the strong performance of Portugal and New World winemakers in particular is notable. As CWA president Kelly England put it, “It is interesting to see how at a blind tasting situation, with genuine professional buyers, traditional notions of wine supremacy are questioned and this demonstrates the future of the Chinese wine market.” According to the organizers, the China Wine Awards are designed to “discover the wines that will be major hits in China” — we already know that Australian wines are gaining massive popularity in the mid- to high-end segments, but does the performance of Portuguese winemakers indicate that the country could be the next big thing for Chinese wine lovers?

Given their gradually growing standards and industry credibility, it’s not surprising that Chinese wineries too fared well at this year’s CWAs. Pernod Ricard-owned Guangxia (Yinchuan) He Lan Mountain Winery — which, as Jancis Robinson recently pointed out, “depends heavily on expertise flown in from [Pernod Ricard’s] Jacob’s Creek base in Australia” — picked up three nods, with its 2010 Special Reserve Chardonnay and 2010 Special Reserve Pinot Noir taking home Golds and its 2010 Special Reserve Merlot getting a Silver.


Market Analysis