2017 Merchant & Producer Awards

 

The 2017 Sommelier Wine Awards Merchant of the Year and Producer of the Year Awards have been announced.

MERCHANTS OF THE YEAR

Merchant of the Year SWA 2017: Bibendum Wine

Picking up this award for the second time in three years, Bibendum put in a truly powerhouse performance in 2017, nearly becoming the first-ever merchant to break through our equivalent of the four-minute mile: the '50 Golds' barrier. 

Fine Wine Merchant of the Year: Enotria&Coe

Enotria does lots of things well in this competition. It balances Old World and New World neatly, and its 110 medals (29 of them Gold) were a strong showing again. They had such a high hit rate at the more expensive end of the scale suggesting some high-quality sourcing and wines that really are worth the extra money. 

New World Merchant of the Year: Hallgarten Druitt & Novum Wines

Across all of Hallgarten Druitt & Novum Wines winners, half were from the New World - with a fascinating selection at that! 

Great Value Merchant of the Year: Berkmann Wine Cellars

Despite huge competition from good value wines in SWA, Berkmann saw more than 70% of its Golds, 60% of its Silvers and an incredible 85% of its Bronze medals come in under £15. 

European Merchant of the Year: Liberty Wines

Liberty's strength in the competition lies in Europe, with two-thirds of all its medals (in every colour) were from the Old World. All big-name regions were here: Champagne, Bordeaux, Germany, Barolo, Soave and Rioja, plus a raft of impressive ports and sherries. 

Pub Merchant of the Year: Fuller's

SWA is all about finding great value wines for restaurants, bars and pubs. We've been delighted to see entries coming from pub suppliers - particularly when they're as good as those entered from SWA newbie, Fuller's. They picked up 20 medals (six of them Gold) with all great value wines. 

Boutique Merchant of the Year: Top Selection

Top Selection won this award comfortably last year and has kept it's accolade doubling its Gold tally in the process! Impressive work. 

French Merchant of the Year: Boutinot

Boutinot's medal count in this year's competition was higher than when they last entered in 2015, with an impressive 135 medals, 33 of the Gold. 

Italian Merchant of the Year: Eurowines

Eurowines has totally made this award its own. This, incredibly, was the fifth year running that it's claimed it. No question that it didn't deserve it, either. If we had to pick a sweet-spot, we'd say it's the north-east - nearly half of its Golds were from the Veneto upwards. 

 

PRODUCERS OF THE YEAR

European Producer of the Year: San Marzano

For most sommeliers, the south of Italy is a place to go looking for a bit of cheap'n'cheerful. But it can be the home of real quality, too - and we saw that this year from San Mazano. 

New World Producer of the Year: Saint Clair

Three Gold medals in SWA is a real achievement, four is an absolute rarity and we'd never had a producer noutch up five. Un til this year with Saint Clair. 

Sparkling Wine Producer of the Year: Champagne Lanson

This award isn't given every year but Lanson's performance in 2017 really merits recognition. Its Gold's, moreover, included a variety of styles: non-vintage, rosé and off-dry, suggesting a real consistency of excellence across the portfolio at the moment. 

 

How the awards are decided

Merchant Awards are decided upon by combining a quantitative analysis of awards won with a qualitative analysis of the spread of wines awarded, bearing in mind the needs of the on-trade.

Points are awarded based on a sliding scale, depending on the level of award, with awards given to both wines submitted by the merchant in question, and those for whom the merchant is the UK supplier.

Producer Awards are in the gift of the directors, and are based on both the quality of awards achieved, the spread of wines awarded and their price points.