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Home News > May 2019 > Unveiled: Sommelier Wine Awards Merchant Awards 2019

Enotria&Coe put in a powerhouse performance to win this year’s Merchant of the Year award with a medal count that left rivals trailing in its wake.

Despite having won Merchant of the Year Awards for New World, Old World and Great Value in recent years, this was the first time the merchant has picked up the overall top award.

And it did it in style. With over 50 Gold Medals, nearly 70 Silvers and four Food Match and Critics Choice Awards, their huge points total made for one of the biggest margins of victory in recent years.

Perhaps surprisingly, given that Enotria&Coe has a reputation as an Italian specialist, this year’s success was built on the performance of its French wines: 60 medals, 24 of them Golds, with a strong performance in all of the key areas. ‘If your entire French selection came from these medal winners, none of your customers would be anything other than delighted,’ said SWA Competition Director, Chris Losh.

European Merchant of the Year went to Hallgarten & Novum Wines for the second year on the trot. Of their 35 Golds, 28 were from Europe, but this award was as much about ‘where’ as ‘how much’: the merchant combined a swathe of must-list European wine styles, with excellent examples from the continent’s less well-known fringes, such as Setubal, Macedonia, Tenerife and, of course, Greece, where it remains something of a leading light.

Bibendum was unable to sustain its breakneck pace of the last two years to take home a third consecutive Merchant of the Year win, but its New World Merchant of the Year award was impressive nonetheless.

They didn’t win this gong for sheer number of awarded wines – though the fact that over 40% of their medals went to the New World is still striking - but rather for the variety on offer. No other submitter managed Gold Medals from seven different New World producing countries – hinting at really high quality buying.

The same can also be said for Boutinot. Manchester’s finest has a terrific record in this competition, often with wines at amazing prices, and it repeated that trick again this year. In a competition where value for money really was at a premium this year, an impressive three-quarters of its medals (69 out of 90) came under £12, with many of those under £10. It was a comprehensive winner of the Great Value Merchant of the Year award.

Another big winner was Matthew Clark, which recorded its best medal haul for several years. Over 70% of their medals went to European wines, though they did particularly well with the kind of must-list wine styles on which so many restaurant lists are based, allowing them to pick up our newly-created Classic Regions Merchant of the Year award.

There were, again, awards for merchants who specialised in submissions from particular countries. Eurowines continued their stranglehold on all-things boot-shaped with the Italian Merchant of the Year award for an extraordinary seventh year in a row.

Liberty, meanwhile, picked up another new award – for Australia/New Zealand Merchant of the Year. A first-ever award for SWA, it was recognition of the fact that an unprecedented 70% of the merchant’s new world medals came from those two countries.

This year’s Fine Wine Merchant of the Year went once again to Top Selection. For a relatively small merchant to pick up nearly 50 medals is a fine effort, and with 60% of those medals over £15, they are carving out a niche for themselves as a supplier of top quality wines for discerning buyers.