Home News > May 2018 > ‘Closest Battle for Years’ as Merchant of the Year Awards announced

Bibendum has fought off a resurgent Boutinot to claim the prestigious overall Merchant of the Year award in the 2018 Sommelier Wine Awards. It’s the second year on the trot – and the third time in four years that the merchant has won the award.

While Boutinot racked up a few more places on the Gold List, Bibendum’s huge number of Silver Medals saw it narrowly take first place with a broad-based plethora of wines from classic European and New World wine regions. It was particularly strong in the £10-20 area.

‘This was the closest battle for Merchant of the Year that we’ve had for a while,’ said Competition Director, Chris Losh. ‘If a couple of Boutinot’s Bronzes had been Golds, and a couple of Bibendum’s Golds had been Bronzes, it might well have been a different story. It was a really close-fought battle.’

Boutinot picked up the Great Value Merchant of the Year Award, which it shared with Berkmann Wine Cellars. While Boutinot was strong sub-£10, Berkmann put in its customary impressive performance under the key £12 cut-off.

Hallgarten won the European Wine Merchant of the Year for a string of top medals in both classic and more unusual wine regions, while Liberty won New World Merchant of the Year. It’s an impressive showing for the company, which has been rewarded for its work with European wines in the past, and proof of its particularly strong showing from Australia and New Zealand.

Matthew Clark won French Wine Merchant of the Year – a third of all their medals were French, and nobody picked up more French gongs than they did; while Eurowines cemented its hold on the Italian Wine Merchant of the Year for the sixth time. No merchant managed to pick up more medals for one country (43) than they did for Italy.

Our final Merchant Award went to Top Selection. For the past two years they have won Boutique Merchant of the Year, but their stellar performance with high quality wines this year saw them pick up our Fine Wine Merchant of the Year award.

‘There were some fantastic performances this year,’ said Chris Losh. ‘We’re delighted to see so many big names of the wine trade engaging with SWA and having their great wines recognised by our judges year after year.’

See all 2018 medal winning wines here.