McGuigan is the world's best winemaker -- the only winery to ever win the award 4 times

McGuigan Wines chief winemaker Neil McGuigan tries some of his semillons. Photo: Simon Thomsen

McGuigan Wines has been named International Winemaker of the Year for a record fourth time at the 2016 International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) in London.

The Hunter Valley winery previously won the title in 2009, 2011 and 2012, and was also named Australian producer of the year. It’s the first time any winery has won the award four times in the competition’s 47-year history.

McGuigan Wines scored two trophies at the awards, including the semillon trophy for the sixth year in a row for the 2003 McGuigan Bin 9000 semillon, while the 2007 McGuigan hand-made shiraz took out the syrah trophy.

The producer walked away with 46 medals in the competition: three gold outstanding; one gold, six silver outstanding, 24 silver and 12 bronze.

While the winery has had a difficult year financially, especially in the wake of Brexit, with parent company Australian Vintage Ltd posting a statutory loss of nearly $2 million for 2016, CEO Neil McGuigan, who is also chief winemaker at McGuigan Wines, said he was “immensely proud” the the awards the winery scored at the IWSC.

“These awards are as much for the Australian wine industry as they are for us. Every time an Australian wine or producer is acknowledged at an international wine competition it puts our products on the map and forces people to sit up and take notice. We continue to be incredibly honoured to represent Australia on the world stage,” he said.

“Every day you need to have the ambition to craft beautiful, quality wine and make it the hero. This award – and our trophies – is vindication and recognition of this vision. We have a long-standing association with Hunter Valley semillon, and we’re incredibly proud of it, but we’re now gaining recognition for our super-premium reds thanks to their incredible flavour, lightness, elegance and longevity – which is something I’ve championed for years.”

McGuigan said he still had limited quantities of the 2003 Bin 9000 semillon and the 2007 handmade shiraz available at its Hunter Valley cellar door.

The 2016 awards proved to be a good year for Australian and New Zealand winemakers, with the trans-Tasman block taking out five of the 25 wine trophies.

Victorian winery All Saints Estate took out the fortified wine trophy for its classic Rutherglen Muscat NV, while the pinot noir trophy went to Giesen’s 2013 single vineyard ridge block pinot noir from Marlborough, with another NZ winery from the region, Kim Crawford taking the sauvignon blanc trophy for its 2016 small parcels Spitfire Marlborough sauvignon blanc.

Sydney distiller Archie Rose won the trophy for best packaging design range at the IWSC for its vodka, white rye and dry gin packaging.

Wine Australia’s head of market UK and Europe, Laura Jewell MW, said it was a fantastic result for the country.

“The Australian wine performance in the IWSC awards this year, with 3 trophies and 39 Gold and Gold Outstanding, is a testament to the high quality of the wines entered. The range of styles from fortified to sparkling, classic Hunter Semillons to modern Pinot Noir and Tempranillo demonstrates the breadth and diversity of winemaking from across Australia’s 65 wine producing regions,” she said.

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