Wine Merchant Wins Top Awards
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
They have been runners-up for the latter in both 2004 and 2003.
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
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”.
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”.
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
last week, in front of a packed assembly of their peers. The glasses
are on display in the window of their shop in
(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”.
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
It will attract attention to the town from all over and gives out
the message that it is a destination with a distinct quality
Martin, who has recently joined the Cooden Cellars team from
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".