Best of the Best: 2022’s Most Outstanding Wines & Spirits for Asia Announced
Following a week of intensive judging by 56 judges in Hong Kong, and a full audit and analysis of the scores, full results of the 14th Cathay Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition (HK IWSC) were announced. Sixty-onetrophies were awarded to global wine, spirit, sake and beer producers – those judged best of their category. The results are the annual go-to guide for Asia’s beverage industry and consumers.
Led by Master of Wine, Debra Meiburg, fifty-six of the region’s most respected beverage experts carefully considered hundreds of competition entrants to determine winners, which – along with the 61 trophies – comprise 105 gold, 342 silver and 386 bronze medals.
Australia topped the results table, with 11 trophies and impressive medal haul of 205. The luscious De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon returned after nine years to reclaim its position as king of dessert wines, awarded both Best Dessert Wine and Best Dessert Wine from Australia. For the first time in the HK IWSC’s history, Australia also achieved a beer award - Best Pale Ale – awarded to South of Somewhere Sunday Session Australian Pale Ale.
New Zealand also had a “first” – with a Syrah (Glenora Estate Syrah 2021) claiming the title of Best Wine from New Zealand.
Austria also proved their quality and adaptability to Asian palate with seven trophies, including two international varietal trophies (Best Chardonnay, awarded to Unplugged Chardonnay 2019; and Best Sauvignon Blanc, awarded to SKOFF Sauvignon Blanc Royal 2013) and 3 Asian food pairing trophies (Best Pairing with Grilled Cod in Chinese Style, awarded to Domäne Roland Chan Riesling Federspiel 2021; Best Pairing with Hai Nan Chicken Rice, awarded to Markus Huber Riesling Engelsberg 2021; Best Pairing with Korean Wagyu Beef Bimbimbab awarded to Zantho Zweigelt Reserve 2019). Plus, of course, the Best Grüner Veltlinertrophy for WEINWURMs Grüner Veltliner Ried Schilling 2021. Its wines also gained 44 medals, sharing ties with Chile, Georgia and Spain.
Other European countries retained their top spots in the winner list. France and Italy both achieved three trophies, while Portugal gained two trophies and 51 medals – the second highest number of medals among all countries. England continues its rise and rise in the wine industry, triumphant not only with Best London Dry Gin, but also Best Sparkling Wine. Eastern European country Moldova nabbed its first ever trophy Best Vodka, while the Romania also obtained great results.
Georgia, the birthplace of wine, has increased in popularity across Asia in recent years, partly due to better understanding by wine professionals and consumers, but also as a result of its recent evolution in both traditional winemaking techniques (in amphora – qvevri) and modern methods. Apart from the Amber wines, their brandy Marnaveli rocked in spirits judging.
Wines from Asian countries also achieved their biggest success to-date in the HK IWSC. Japan led the Asian success with three trophies and 50 medals. Chinese wines and spirits got five golds and two trophies. Asoke Valley Winery’s GranMonte Asoke Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah 2019 rejuvenated the Asian wine production industry award by grabbing the Best Wine from Southeast Asia, a trophy that was last awarded in 2017 to the same winery.
In the Americas, USA, Chile and Argentina all shared in the trophy list. Judges results showed a preference for higher altitude wines, such as trophy winnersBest Wine from Chile (LFE 900 Malbec 2019) and Best Wine from Argentina (Pascual Toso Alta Chardonnay 2021).
Hong Kong thriving brewery scene again conquered the HK IWSC beer competition. Carbon Brews, Deadman Brewery, Oh CBD Beer and Moonzen Brewery got six of the seven trophies. The Best Beer was awarded to Carbon Brews’ Its Alive.
The competition this year saw a number of new partners including the wine preservation tool Repour and Hong Kong’s prestigious private club Hong Kong Parkview, which offered its array of authentic Asian cuisine to support the Asian Food Pairing competition.