By Deborah Jackson, editor National Liquor News
Australian wines have shone on the international stage, taking out the second highest number of awards at the International Wine Challenge and becoming its first non-Italian gold medal winner of Montepulciano.
In the results, Australia was awarded 815 medals including 80 gold, 375 silver and 360 bronze. Australia finished second on the leader board, beaten only by France.
In a first for the competition, Adelaide Hills’ Bird in Hand and Mr. Riggs were both awarded gold medals for wines made from Montepulciano, making it the first year a non-Italian Montepulciano has won gold.
Popular Australian red varieties Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon received the strongest recognition with 51 Golds, while Riesling, Semillon and Chardonnay were among the 29 white wine winners.
Wolf Blass Wines took home seven gold medals while Penfolds and McGuigan Wines each received five.
Wine Australia head of market UK and Europe Laura Jewell MW said Australia’s success indicated the strong and ongoing potential for the category around the world.
"We are delighted that the outstanding quality of Australian wine has once again been recognised with significant accolades at the prestigious IWC," she said.
"The success of Australian wines at the IWC and other leading competitions reflects the high regard judges have for our wines internationally, and is a testament to the hard work and passion of our winemakers.
"It’s wonderful to celebrate the recognition of our alternative varieties, with the IWC awarding Australian wines made from a wide range of grape varieties and in a variety of styles."
IWC co-chairman Charles Metcalfe praised Australia’s success across the broad spectrum of wine styles.
"Many producers have been really successful with several different grape varieties, and maintaining consistency across vintages; a phenomenal performance overall," he said.
For more information and the full list of winners, please visit the IWC website.
These results follow Australia’s recent success at last month’s Sommelier Wine Awards where Australian wines received 158 awards – including one Critics’ Choice and two Food Match trophies.
Australia’s results in the Decanter World Wine Awards will be published on Decanter.com on Monday 6 June. The International Wine and Spirit Competition will announce its winners in September with the deadline for Australian entries being Tuesday 2 August 2016.