The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

New Zealand brands on IWSC 2023’s Alternative Drinks radar

Following an extensive judging on 21-22 June, the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) has revealed its 2023 Alternative Drinks medal results.

More than 900 entries from over 30 countries were judged by 60 international experts – including sommeliers, buyers, bartenders and communicators – and a total of 665 medals were awarded.

This year two new categories were introduced to the Alternative Drinks judging – low/no wine and low/no spirits.

The low/no wines earned a total of 172 medals with Giesen’s 0% Pinot Gris NV and 0% Merlot NV scoring 96 points and earning gold medals. Giesen’s 0% Pinot Gris NV also took home the IWSC Low Alcohol Trophy.

In the low/no spirits category, one of this year’s trends was an increased number of agave spirits, specifically tequila and mezcal alternatives.

“The consumers globally are really inspired by agave. So of course, naturally no and low should respond to this trend and offer some alternatives, and we saw some really great examples in those categories,” said IWSC judge, Claire Warner.

A total of eight golds, over 15 silvers and over 40 bronze medals were awarded to low/no alcohol spirits, with the highest-scoring entry gaining 97 points – Dzjing, Bergamot, Belgium.

Another category which showed significant growth this year was CBD/Wellness drinks, receiving three golds, four silvers and four bronze medals, with the judges being particularly impressed by Sapinka Organic Fruit Elixir by Good Rootz BV, Netherlands.

Other categories included RTDs, liqueurs, mixers, low-alcohol beers, vermouth & aperitivo and wine-based flavoured drinks.

In total, New Zealand low/no alcohol beverages from Giesen, Pals, Yealands, Spy Valley, Brancott Estate and Hastings Distillers won 29 medals.

“We’re thrilled to announce that Giesen 0% Pinot Gris has been recognised by the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) as the finest alcohol-removed wine, earning the esteemed IWSC Low Alcohol Trophy (<1.2% Alc/vol),” said Giesen.

“In addition, it also secured a well-deserved gold medal, alongside our 0% Merlot solidifying its exceptional quality. Well done to our winemaking team!

“Join the growing movement of mindful drinking and discover the taste sensation that has garnered international acclaim.”

For the full medal results of IWSC Alternative Drinks judging, click here.

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