TOAST OF THE TOWN: BEST WINES, SPIRITS, SAKE & BEERS FOR ASIA ANNOUNCED

Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Competition Results Announced

12 November, 2020 (HONG KONG): Bucking the trend of cancelled events in 2020, full results of the 12th Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition (HK IWSC) were announced at a Gala Awards Ceremony on 11 November, held at food and beverage expo Restaurant & Bar Hong Kong. Announced by the Competition’s Founding Director, Debra Meiburg, Master of Wine, a total of 49 trophies were handed out to global wine, spirit, sake and beer producers. On top of that, 115 gold medals were awarded, along with a 472 silver, 503 bronze and 13 green medals.

A regular at the top of the medal tally, Australia was again the most prolific medal winner, receiving 23 gold, 98 silver, 99 gold and six trophies, including their first-ever Best Vodka (Archie Rose Original Vodka) and Best Worldwide Whisky/Whiskey (Starward Tawny Single Malt Whisky).

Hard hit by Covid-19-related lockdowns and alcohol bans, South Africa, shone in 2020 HK IWSC winning four trophies, including Best Shiraz/Syrah (Cederberg Shiraz) – usually an honour awarded to Australian wineries.

Old World and well-established New World wine countries shared equally the trophy haul, with France, Portugal, Spain, USA and New Zealand taking three trophies each.

Central and South American producers also performed well and were well-represented. Trophies were awarded for Best Wine from Chile (Viña la Rosa Cornellana Gran Reserva Cuvée 2017) and Best Wine from Argentina (Bodega Y Viñedos Catena DV Catena Tinto Histórico Malbec 2019), while Panama won Best Rum (Kratochvilovci Serum Gorgas) for the first time in the HK IWSC’s history.

While New Zealand fought a mighty battle for the sake trophy, Japan retained the top honours with trophies for Best Sake and also Best Shochu. Scotland held on to the whisky trophy and – bucking the trend of previous years – UK took all gin trophies, including Best Gin and Best Contemporary Gin won by Linden Leaf Botanicals who specialised in organic products. 

2020 is the second year beer has joined the awards roster. Hong Kong and South Korean breweries made a clean sweep of all seven beer trophies for 2020. Craft Beer Association of Hong Kong 2020 Best Beer award is also selected to celebrate the brewery who insists in creating a classic IPA style – in 2020 it was awarded o Carbon Brews Funky Rich Lupulins V2. 

While Germany are traditionally strong in the food and wine pairing trophy categories, and again took out two trophies (Best Pairing with Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls awarded to Dr. Loosen Red Slate Dry Riesling 2019 and Best Pairing with Japanese Grilled Cod Fish going to Weingut Villa Wolf Wachenheimer Königswingert Dry Riesling 2018), Portugal proved itself as the new country to watch for Chinese food pairing. DFJ Vinhos Portada Winemaker’s Selection White 2019 took home Best Pairing with Chinese Stir-fried Preserved Vegetables with Green Peas and Bean Curd Sheets and its red counterpart DFJ Vinhos Portada Winemaker’s Selection Red 2019 snared Best Pairing with Chinese Wok-fried Beef Fillets with Leeks. Once again, Thai wine Asoke Valley Winery GranMonte The Orient Syrah 2017 stood on the podium, winning Best Pairing with Indian Chicken Curry with Roti.

Some of the top performers at the HK IWSC historically, Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Achleiten Smaragd 2019 and Marisco Vineyards The Ned Rosé 2020 took top honours as Best Wine from Austria and Best Rose, respectively. 

The Cathay Pacific HK IWSC recognised a new category of industry advocate this year, bestowing the Save Hong Kong F&B Alliance with its inaugural F&B Industry Leadership & Advocacy Award. In April, Alan Lo, Gigi Ng, May Chow, Agung Prabowo and others teamed up to found the Save Hong Kong F&B Alliance The Alliance launched its 2020 Wipeout e-voucher initiative in May to encourage diners to support restaurants and help proprietors with cashflow. The campaign generated more than HK$1.5 million in revenue for participating restaurants in 30 days.

This year, the wine and spirits judging took place at The Marriott Ocean Park Hotel, right next to Hong Kong’s iconic Ocean Park. 48 Hong Kong-based judges were charged with triple-blind tasting of entries, with an additional layer of “blindness” from judge to judge, due to strict distancing measures, including reducing the panel size and allocation of panels in several executive suites. 

With high professionalism, the judges sip, debate and deliberate their way through thousands of glasses of samples to ensure an authentic pan-Asian voice on the very best international wines, sake, spirits and now beer for the Asian market. 

TheCeremony was moved to Restaurant and Bar X Gourmet Asia, an expo organised by Informa Markets that welcomed 9,000+high-profile regional buyers, notable F&B independent and associations in2019. The fair will be hosted until 13 Nov 2020 in Hong Kong Convention andExhibition Center.

The full results of the Cathay Pacific HK IWSC can be found on www.hkiwsc.com.

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