Washington, DC (October 16, 2017)— This November, recipients of the 14th Annual Wines of Chile Awards (AWOCA) presented by Wines of Chile will be formally announced at a special event in Washington, DC. The judging of more than 300 wines took place in early September in San Francisco during a two-day blind tasting with 27 judges from all sides of the industry including wine writers, Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine. The panel awarded 82 gold medals, 13 top placements in varietal categories including Sparkling, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Carignan, Red Blends, Pinot Noir, Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon, and selected two best in show winners. The range of winning wines represents the diverse regions of Chile as well as the industry’s commitment to innovation, sustainability, and heightened perception of South American wines globally.
Mario Pablo Silva, President of Wines of Chile, extolled the awards, “These awards recognize outstanding achievements in Chilean winemaking: our intention in hosting them in the US is to inspire American consumers to discover the incredible quality and diversity of Chilean wines.” AWOCA Judge Liaison Evan Goldstein, Master Sommelier and President and Chief Education Officer of Full Circle Wine Solutions, added “the rigorous judging criteria, the top caliber of the judges, coupled with on-site oversight from the world’s utmost authority on Chilean wine, Patricio Tapia, makes these awards a definitive benchmark for Chilean wine. Hosting this annual award in the US lays the groundwork for increased consumer and trade appreciate of Chilean wine.”
Since 2015, the awards, traditionally hosted in Santiago, have traveled the world in response to international market demand. Host cities have included São Paulo, Shanghai, and now Washington, DC, where the market share for Chilean wines has increased substantially in both retail and wholesale since 2010. The U.S. domestic recognition of Chilean wine has increased dramatically in recent years, cementing the United States as Chile’s second largest export wine market, representing 11% of total wine exported. In the US, highly rated bottles of Chilean wine in the $15-$30 range can hold their own against comparable European and American labels costing three to four times as much.
Chile’s diverse microclimates produce a wide array of wine varieties and styles, all of which are represented in the awards. Bold reds from Colchagua Valley, world class Cabernets from Maipo, and cool coast Sauvignon Blanc from Casablanca represent the tip of the iceberg. Chile’s diversity of varieties and excellence in quality is found in all 12 wine growing regions. American consumers have just begun to tap into Chile’s premium wines as witnessed by Chile’s ranking last year as 4th in imported bottle table volume sold in the US – finishing ahead of Argentina, Spain and New Zealand.
“The Annual Wines of Chile Awards are the highest honors for the Chilean wine industry. This program was formerly held in Santiago but since 2015, has moved to priority markets as a way of generating a higher impact and building awareness,” said Angelica Valenzuela, Commercial Director of Wines of Chile. “This is our first year in the United States, the second largest export market for Chile, and it is a huge opportunity for respected American beverage professionals to taste the quality and diversity of our wines.”
About Wines of Chile USA
Wines of Chile is an organization committed to promoting the quality and image of Chilean wine throughout the world. It has offices in Santiago, London and New York, as well as representatives in Canada, Ireland and Denmark. Wines of Chile also works closely with ProChile to develop and offer promotional and educational programs in Asia, Latin America and Europe. Wines of Chile’s 86 member wineries belong to Vinos de Chile and represent 88 percent of Chile’s bottled wine exports. More information is available at www.winesofchile.org.