About us

About the IWC Merchant Awards

The IWC UK Merchant Awards, which celebrates its 30th Anniversary in 2021, were launched to recognize and reward the outstanding achievements of UK wine trade.

IWC UK Merchant Awards generates promotional and business opportunities for the winners in their actual and potential markets, rewarding the work of merchants, educators, distributors, marketers, agents... all those who contribute to bringing the joy of wine to the UK consumer.

In 2016, IWC Merchant Awards Spain was launched to reward those companies delivering outstanding service and retailing excellence to the Spanish wine consumer. Mateo & co, one of the leading agencies in the Spanish gastronomy sector based in Madrid manages the IWC Spanish Merchant Awards.

About International Wine Challenge

The International Wine Challenge (IWC) owned by William Reed, has been running for over three decades. The IWC is accepted as the world's finest and most meticulously judged wine competition which assesses every wine blind and judges each for its faithfulness to style, region, and vintage.

William Reed is passionate about the international wine and drinks industry. Our Drinks industry portfolio is underpinned by the International Wine Challenge, which helps producers from every region of the world extend their markets, reach the global wine community, and increase their potential.

William Reed is a leading B2B media company, trusted by businesses since 1862. Our award-winning expertise and global reach extend across Grocery & Retail, Hospitality, Food Manufacturing, Processing and Ingredients, Drinks, Pharmaceuticals& Cosmetics, Insights and Learning.

Why Enter?

By entering the IWC UK Merchant Awards you could increase consumer and trade awareness of your business & establish your company as a leader in its field. Winning an award carries a number of significant benefits:

  • Gains recognition for the team behind the business amongst industry peers, producers, suppliers and consumers.

  • Rewards your team and boosts morale.

  • Builds consumer and trade awareness through an established UK and International PR campaign.

  • Offers huge marketing opportunities for the company.

  • Establishes the company in the highest regard amongst its peers.


A panel of expert judges is hand-picked by International Wine Challenge to decide the winners. Great care is taken to avoid conflicts of interest, and all judges must sign a non-disclosure agreement form before being allowed to receive the entries.

The judges draw up a shortlist from the entries for each category. The judges can disqualify an entry if it fails to meet the criteria. They can also reassign an entry to a different (or extra) category if they consider it appropriate. Each category is judged against the criteria as outlined in the category entry form.

Who are the IWC UK Merchant Awards Judges?

Neil Bruce

Wine Margin Optimiser. London based. Joined the wine industry in 1992 with Seagram. Previous roles, since Seagram, include various senior sales positions, Commercial Manager at Bibendum (in charge of buying and supply chain teams), Wine Director at national wholesaler WaverleyTBS, Wine Consultant for four years (working exclusively with wine in On Trade) and latterly Head of Wine at Fuller’s / Asahi.

Occasional writer and has also contributed regularly to wine industry panels and debates over the years. Left Asahi to set up own wine consultancy (Studio Alto) as of December 2020. Has spent as much time on the sales side of the table as he has in senior buying roles.

Studied WSET up to Diploma level and has been a regular wine judge at various wine competitions.

Laura Jewell MW

Regional General Manager at Wine Australia for the UK and Europe since 2015, Laura previously spent 5 years heading up the wine development team at Tesco. She has also held significant roles at SPAR, HWCG and Sainsburys. Laura's specialities include UK bottling, all aspects of supermarket retailing and marketing.

Angela Mount

Angela Mount is a wine writer, presenter and consultant, who was previously head of wine buying for Somerfield supermarkets, where her taste buds were famously insured for £10million. She set up her own business, Angela Mount Associates Ltd, seven years ago; Angela works with a number of major wine producers throughout the world, helping them develop their UK strategy and wine styles. She is the wine writer for several consumer publications, and is a regular contributor to Harpers Wine & Spirit.

She has been judging at the International Wine Challenge for many years. She also consults on a number of restaurant wine lists and is chair judge for both the Bristol and the Bath Good Food Awards.

Helen McGinn

Helen is the author of The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club, an award-winning wine blog and best-selling wine book. She spent almost a decade sourcing wines around the world as a wine buyer for Tesco, then spent the next half-decade pregnant. Married with three children, she writes a weekly drinks column for the Daily Mail’s Femail magazine and has been the resident wine expert on ITV’s The Alan Titchmarsh Show.

Her latest book, Teetotal Tipples, was published in December 2016 and her third book is due out in the Autumn. Awards include Fortnum & Mason’s Online Drink Writer of the Year and Red Magazine’s Best Blogger.

When will the entries be judged?

Judging will take place on 6th & 7th May 2021. A shortlist of the finalists in each category will be published online as soon as they’re ready. The winners will be revealed at the IWC Awards on 30th June 2021.

For information on the IWC Merchant Awards Spain click here.