Spanish Wine Prizes
The wine tradition is a very strong one in Spain, as most of the readers probably already know. Because of the long history and deeply-rooted wine culture in Spain, there is a wide variety of prizes awarded to the wine world in all of its facets: the product itself –the wine-, the sommeliers, the best tasting, etc.
We will know talk about some of the different awards that are given out in the Spanish wine world to expand the reader’s knowledge and illustrate the vast number of diverse wine-related activities that occur in the Spanish wine scene.
We will firstly talk about the Bacchus Prize, probably the most prestigious award that a wine can obtain in Spain… and not only in Spain, for it is an international contest, which means that wines from all over the world compete in a contest with many different categories for the biggest award, the Great Golden Bacchus Prize. Apart from this award, there are also many different categories like the best sparkling wine, the best grape, the most subtle wine of a specific production year, and so forth. The prizes are organized in the same fashion as the Olympic medals (from which they gathered inspiration), so your wine can receive a gold, silver or bronze medal.
There is another contest, the “Gran Zarcillo de Oro” Awards. This contest, that was first organised in 1991 by appointment of the government of Castilla y León (one of the most important wine producing communities of Spain, home to the famous Ribera de Duero DO). With the years, it also became an international competition which awarded prizes both to national and international wines. In this contest there are fewer categories than in the Bacchus Prize, for your wine will only be able to opt for a Golden Zarcillo or Great Golden Zarcillo Prize.
Aside from this award, there is also a very famous prize awarded to the best sommelier in Spain. This other contest is called the “Nariz de Oro” award (Golden Nose in English). The winner of the contest has to be able to recognize a specific wine served in a black glass only through his sense of smell. The competition is hard, for only six contestants out of eighty initial participants will make their way into the final stage of the contest. Of those six, only one will be awarded the prize, considered the most prestigious recognition for a sommelier in Spain. If you were to receive this award, make sure everybody knows about your triumph, for there is no doubt that you will have assured yourself a good job in the wine tasting world!
An interesting initiative is the one carried out by the Aula Abierta del Vino, an organization that aims to promote the studies of the wine world, especially amongst women. One of the activities that they organize are the "Mujer y Vino" (Women and wine) awards, a women-only contest in which one finds oenologists, sommeliers, cellar keepers, distributors, journalists, and wine lovers. Also, the wines that are selected in the contest have to have had at least a 50% female intervention in their making process.
Also, every DO (Denomination of Origin) carries out their own wine contest amongst the products made in the region, in an attempt to bring together the different producers and actors of the wine scene in a specific business cluster or producer’s area. These efforts have had a good turnout for the different cellars and producers, for many different DO’s have widened their range of competent products that can be apt for export and international awards and competitions. As you can imagine, the concurrence amongst DO’s is fierce, and this events help level them together through great wine production.
If you feel the impulse to initiate a wine-related business, these contests might be a good entrance door in order to get a grip of the dynamics, abilities and technologies involved in the process of creating a unique wine... And we know a lot about that in Spain, for we are one of the world’s leading wine producing countries, and one of the first countries to have supported the process of bringing a millenary traditional product like wine into the XXI century.