Big high-fives to the winners of this year’s prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) last night. After coming out tops in a ferocious judging process  lasting seven months and surviving tastings by over 300 experts from no less than 30 countries, you can be certain that they’re at the very top of their game.

“This year’s competition was extra special as we celebrated our 45th anniversary,” said  Ewan Lacey, General Manager, International Wine and Spirit Competition. “The competition is unique as it still holds the same values and unrivalled judging process that it started with, when launched in 1969”.

Which is no mean feat. Give it up for this year’s trophy winners including:

Prestigious award, Winemaker of the Year:
Regis Camus

Having been at the helm of Piper-Heidsieck for the last 20 years, cellar master Regis has had time to hone his craft and is now keen to communicate the focus on quality to the international market. Champagne House Piper-Heidsieck, also won the NV Champagne Trophy with the Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve and the Vintage Champagne Trophy with its Charles Heidsieck Rosé 1999.

Distiller of the Year:
Sazerac

For its combination of heritage, innovation and continued drive for expansion and experimentation. The history of Sazerac stretches back to 1869 when it was purchased in New Orleans. Today, the company owns America’s most famous distillers: Buffalo Trace Distillery, A. Smith Bowman, Glenmore Distillery, Barton, Fleischmann, Medley and Mr. Boston.

Lifetime Achievement Award:
Dave Hughes

With 60 years’ service to the wine and spirits industry, the judges hailed Dave as, “the most celebrated figure in South African wines and spirits”. They also praised his role as a mentor to budding entrepreneurs, looking to build a career in the drinks sector.

The Outstanding Achievement in Scotch Whisky Trophy, sponsored by Chivas Brothers:
Gavin Hewitt CMG

Awarded for his significant contributions to the world of whisky. Gavin finished his role as CEO of the Scotch Whisky association last year, but the results of his efforts and accomplishments for over a decade in the post will, in the words of whisky specialist Stephen Notman, “be felt for years to come”.

Julian Brind Memorial Trophy for Outstanding Achievement in the Wine Industry:
Dawn Davies

A former sommelier, Dawn now runs the Selfridges’ wine and spirits category. She is in charge of the entire wine and spirits selection across four stores, five restaurants and online. The late Julian Brind MW was a leading light in the wine trade and an integral part of the Waitrose wine team. The award sponsored by Waitrose, was created to honour Julian’s contribution and service to the trade that he loved.

Retailer of the Year Award:
Waitrose

Innovation has been at the forefront of the company’s 2014 agenda, with May seeing the launch of online wine website Waitrose Cellar. One judge commented, “they’ve taken a leaf out of the independent retailers’ book, showcasing innovation with tastings and technology to the fore”.

Independent Retailer Trophy:
Loki Wines

The judges praised the Birmingham-based business for offering a ‘complete package’ and for founder Phil Innes for creating an “engaging, truly independent business”.

US Wine Producer of the Year Trophy and the Mission Hill Winery Trophy for Chardonnay:
Francis Ford Coppola

The award-winning director botched up another accolade for his Director’s Cut Chardonnay 2012. Francis is best known for films including The Godfather Trilogy and Apocalypse Now.

For the full list of wine, spirits and category winners, see iwsc.net

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