Open for business!

The 2016 Wine Merchant Top 100 competition is officially under way.

Once again we’re inviting suppliers of wines aimed solely at independent retailers to submit entries – and once again we’ve held fees at £70 per wine.

This is a competition with two major points of difference. As well as being the only competition devoted entirely to wines in the independent sector – a marketplace involving nearly 800 shops, worth in excess of £500m – it’s also judged entirely by independent merchants themselves.

The deadline for entries is March 15 2016, with judging taking place in London a couple of weeks later.

Again, all our winning wines will be showcased over three days on our free-pour stand at the London Wine Fair. They will also be featured in a special supplement sent out to all Wine Merchant readers.

See the links to the left for all the information you need, and for the entry form.


Trophy winners unveiled

All winners in The Wine Merchant Top 100 are equal, but a handful are more equal than others. Every year we reward the wines that have particularly impressed the judges and award some Trophies to the highest-scoring wines in selected categories.

Here are this year’s Trophy wines … congratulations to them all.

Sparkling Wine Trophy: Champagne Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV

White Wine Trophy: Gaia Wines Wild Ferment Assyrtiko, Santorini, Greece 2014 (Hallgarten Druitt & Novum Wines)

Red Wine Trophy: Bodegas Navajas Gran Reserva, Rioja 2005 (Walker & Wodehouse)

Best Value White Trophy: Azienda Agricola Contesa di Rocco Caparrone Pecorino, IGT Colline Pescaresi 2014 (£8.63, Boutinot)

Best Value Red Trophy: Cuatro Pasos Mencía, Bierzo 2012 (£9.99, Liberty Wines)

Dessert & Fortified Wine Trophy: Gonzalez Byass Leonor Palo Cortado Sherry NV (Gonzalez Byass UK)

Full details of all our winners will appear in a special supplement with the July 15 edition of The Wine Merchant. There will also be an online version available on the website.

The 2015 winners unveiled

The wait is over – and visitors to the London Wine Fair have already had a sneak preview. We can announce the winners of this year’s Wine Merchant Top 100 and a very deserving lot they are too.

Let’s be clear – this year’s winners had to work very hard to get their reward. Our entry field was the biggest yet. And our judges – all of them lovely people – were pretty ferocious in their judging. It wasn’t enough for a wine to be “good” or even “excellent”. Our judges are all independent wine merchants and we asked them to approach the competition entries in the same way as they wWine Merchant Top 100 tasting 2015ould with any wines vying for a place on their shelves.

This inevitably leads to the questions: is this wine worth the money? Do I already list examples of the style that offer better value? Is it a wine that I’d be happy to put my name to? In short … would I sell it?

Full descriptions of all the winners, and why they won, will appear in our special supplement in the early summer. Meanwhile, here’s the list of those who made the Top 100. Congratulations all.

Mission accomplished

group briefingYesterday 16 of the independent wine trade’s finest gathered in west London to put this year’s entrants in The Wine Merchant Top 100 through their paces.

Do we know who the winners are yet? Almost. But not quite. We’re just doing a final check of the spreadsheets, scores and tasting notes, making sure all the technical stuff is in order, and then we’ll be ready to announce. Come along to Stand A10 at the London Wine Fair to see what wines came out on top, and more importantly to taste them.

Thanks to all our judges who gave up a day of their valuable time to take part. They did a sterling job as always. The wine trade is in safe hands.

The 2015 competition is open for business

It’s back, and bigger than ever. The response to the Wine Merchant Top 50 has been so great that we’ve relaunched it as The Wine Merchant Top 100.

The competition is unique in two ways. Firstly, it’s the only competition that’s devoted entirely to wines exclusive to independents – we’re not interested in supermarket wines, wines that you find in the specialist chains, or wines that aren’t available from UK stock.

Secondly, it’s the only competition in which all the judges are independent merchants. They judge wines not just on their absolute quality, but their value for money and saleability. They might like a wine because it’s a terrific example of its style, or because it represents an exciting new departure for a region, or because it offers terrific value for money.

The competition is organised by Graham Holter, David Williams and The Wine Merchant magazine – the only trade title aimed solely at the independent trade.

We’re delighted to confirm that following the success of our pop-up tasting of winning wines at last year’s London Wine Fair, this year we’ll be presenting the winners on a custom-built stand over all three days.