Chinese wines achieved record-breaking results by sweeping 133 medals in one of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits competitions, proving the quality of Chinese wines is gaining recognition on the world stage.
The 2022 edition of International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC), one of the world’s earliest and most authoritative competitions, has wrapped its 2022 judgings and results have shown that Chinese wines are coming of age.
This year, Chinese wines have won record-breaking medals as the judges commended the growing diversity in the country’s wine production as well as its improvement in quality and sophistication.
In total, 234 Chinese wines entered the judging rounds, a notable increase from over 140 entries in the last edition. Out of all the entries, 133 wines received medals with over 30 wines being given 90 points or above, which marks a record-breaking year for Chinese wine in IWSC.
IWSC was the world’s first official wine and spirit competition established back in 1969 and is seen as an international benchmark for wine and spirit quality.
Judges were delighted to see how China’s relatively youthful wine industry has brought in 25 different grape varieties from nine regions in this year’s entries.
The five highest rated wines have demonstrated five separate varieties including Vidal, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, as well as Marselan which is widely known as “the future significant grape of China”.
Two of the top scored wines were produced in China’s key winegrowing region Ningxia, while the other three came from Liaoning, Xinjiang and Hebei.
Overall, The judges have praised the bold styles of Chardonnay with top scores handed to two Chardonnays produced in Xinjiang. Eight Cabernet Sauvignons were also highly scored with more than 90 points.
The late-budding grape variety Longan (Dragon eyes) spiked interest from the judges, in which the orange wine produced by Great Wall Wine in Hebei, Connoisseurs Amber Longyan 2019, scored a Bronze medal.
Sweet wines from China continued their inaugural success in the 2021 competition, with ice wines from Liaoning region’s Vidal grape winning five medals this year.
Sarah Abbott MW, CEO of Swirl Wine Group who oversaw this year’s judging panels for China, commented: “What is interesting to observe is the growing diversity of grape varieties coming through. In previous years, entries were dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. But there are now reds from varieties including Blaufränkisch and Dornfelder, the kind of varieties that are developed for a shorter growing season. For whites, Chardonnay performed well. We’re seeing an improvement each in the quality and sophistication coming from producers across China, and this is reflected in the medals.”
“There is a real sense of growing confidence in the wine making in China, producers are allowing more and more of the quality of the fruit and terroir to come through,” concludes Abbott.
Christelle Guibert, CEO of the IWSC, says, “China is really making a name for itself on the world’s wine map. Year-after-year we receive more entries from different regions and of different varieties. I hope to see more and more varying styles of wines enter the awards next year, and more people can have the opportunity to taste them.”
Led by Sarah Abbott MW, this year’s Wine Judging Committeeincluded Marie Cheong-Thong, Educator at the WSET; Matthieu Longuère MS; Ana Sapungiu MW; Brad Horne, educator and presenter; Elvis Ziakos, head sommelier; Eric Zwiebel MS; Immacolata Cannavo, head sommelier; Isa Bal MS; Rebecca Palmer, wine buyer at Corney & Barrow; Salvatore Castano, Best Sommelier of Europe & Africa ASI 2021 and Serdar Balkaya, head sommelier.
Scroll through to find out the five highest rated Chinese wines from IWSC 2022.