Press Release
IWC Awards

Eastbourne Wine Merchant Wins Top Awards

Independent wine merchants, Cooden Cellars, have scooped top awards at this year’s International Wine Challenge. Up against wine merchants from all over the country and some of the biggest names in the business, they were voted by the judges to be awarded not one but two of the most prestigious awards in the industry:

Small Independent Merchant of the Year, and Regional Merchant of the Year, South East England .

They have been runners-up for the latter in both 2004 and 2003.

The International Wine Challenge is now in its twenty-second year and is the world’s largest and most prestigious international wine competition. The awards are seen as the “Oscars of the Wine World”. Nearly 10,000 wines and hundreds of wine merchants were judged. The Small Independent Merchant of the Year in the UK accolade puts Cooden Cellars at the very top of the pile.

 The judges look for not only breadth and depth of wines (Cooden Cellars stock a large number of medal-winning wines, for example), but they also assess knowledge, expertise, customer care, atmosphere, quality of service and events.

Charles Metcalfe, Associate Editor of Wine International Magazine and Chairman of the IWC said the awards “are selected by a carefully chosen panel of judges, who pour over wine lists, IWC results and mystery shopper reports to select Regional Wine Merchants, as well as those deserving of the top awards, such as Small Independent Wine Merchant of the Year”.

Of the Small Independent Merchant award the judges said, “The three people behind Cooden Cellars must be workaholics judging by the impressive selection of wines they have assembled… …and the number of opportunities they offer to taste them…”. And of the Regional award they added, “Despite the proximity of the well-established merchants of the capital, people living in this corner of the country are very well served by local firms of national quality. Cooden Cellars won this award with the quality and breadth of its range and events it holds”.

Cooden Cellars partners, Colin Barnes and Ian Jarman were presented with their prizes, two engraved 2¾ litre crystal glasses, one for each award, at a star-studded ceremony at Grosvenor House on London ’s Park Lane last week, in front of a packed assembly of their peers. The glasses are on display in the window of their shop in Compton Street (behind the Grand Hotel).

“It’s been such a whirlwind” states Ian “that we haven’t had the time yet for a celebratory drink from either of them, but in any case, I’d just be afraid of breaking them! They’re magnificent trophies. We hoped we might get the Regional prize, but the Small Independent was a complete surprise. Needless to say, we haven’t come down to earth yet”.

“Although it’s difficult to take in”, says Colin “we’re beginning to realise the importance of these awards. Not only is it good for us – and we’ve been inundated with well-wishers and enquiries – it’s also a mark for Eastbourne . It will attract attention to the town from all over and gives out the message that it is a destination with a distinct quality focus”.

John Martin, who has recently joined the Cooden Cellars team from Plumpton College where he gained his HND in Wine Studies, remarks "It's been an amazing experience. Colin and Ian have unbounded energy, knowledge and enthusiasm and it's great to see their approach being recognised in this way".


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© Cooden Cellars 2006 

 Last updated:03 May 2006

Cooden Cellars, 14 Grand Hotel Buildings, Compton Street, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 4EJ
Tel/Fax: 01323 649663