Last month, a panel of international and Argentine wine experts crowned its selection of top domestic wines during the 10th annual Argentina Wine Awards (AWA) in Mendoza.
The week-long event – during which winemakers, winery owners, journalists, and provincial authorities took part in seminars and tastings of 672 samples from 133 wineries across the country – concluded with the awarding of 14 trophies in a ceremony at Bodega Lagarde.
Organised between Wines of Argentina (WofA), the Argentine Winemaking Corporation (COVIAR), and English consultants group Hunt & Coady – whose help ensured transparency in the award and nomination process – the awards have grown to become one of the most important yearly events for Argentina’s wine community.
The four regional winners of the evening were Bodega El Esteco, from the North, for their Serie Fincas Notables Tannat, 2013; Bodegas Salentein, from the Mendoza region, for their Numina Gran Corte, 2013; Pyros Wine, from the San Juan region, for their Pyros Single Vineyard Malbec, 2013; and Riccitelli Wines, from Patagonia, for their Riccitelli Old Vines Semillon, 2015.
As winners of trophy and gold medals will be included in promotional activities conducted abroad by WofA, the group’s president, Guillermo Barzi said of the event: “The Argentina Wine Awards allows us to actively shape the future [of the wine industry] and share our passion with the world.
“The national [wine] industry has experimented, innovated, and perfected to create a bright future of excellence with the AWA accompanying this growth.”
With the future in mind, this year’s programme undertook the theme of ’10 Years Creating the Future’, introducing two new awards. An award for ‘Wine Personality of the Past 10 Years’ was given to Nicolas Catena Zapata, of Catena Wines, recognising the work he has done in growing Argentina’s wine industry, and a new award for ‘Best Young Winemaker’ was given to Germán Berra, of Bodega Finca Flichman, highlighting the future of Argentine wine with a new generation of producers.
Both recipients expressed their gratitude through social media, Catena Zapata adding that the success Catena Wines has seen over the past ten years can be attributed to the “ability and willingness of the employees who have been with me.”
Using their knowledge of consumer trends in each of their respective markets, the panel of judges presented seminars which analysed the performance of Argentine wines in foreign markets – providing examples of successful cases – shared communications strategies, and spoke of the new challenges facing today’s wine industry.
Argentine wine production has grown drastically over the past decade. An annual report on Argentine exports of winemaking products, published by the National Institute of Winemaking (INV), showed wine exports to have quadrupled from 2001 to 2008. From 880,000 hectolitres of wine exported in 2001 to more than 4.1m hl in 2008.
This growth is one of the reasons why the WofA established the awards in 2007, and has since worked to “create a new identity of professionalism, development, and prestige for Argentine wines worldwide”.
Sixteen gold, 257 silver, and 317 bronze medals were also awarded. For a complete list of winners please visit Wines of Argentina’s website.