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News

A New Chapter at Krug Champagne

Julie Cavil succeeds longtime winemaker and mentor Eric Lebel as the grande marque's chef de cave

Early this year, Krug Champagne’s new chef de cave quietly stepped into the shoes of the house’s longtime winemaker, Eric Lebel. And for the first time in Krug’s 175-year history, those shoes have high heels.

Julie Cavil, an assistant chef de cave at Krug since 2006, formally assumed her new role in January. The change paves the way for the appointment of Lebel as deputy director of Krug, working on interdisciplinary projects within Krug’s majority owner, LVMH Moët Hennessy, after 21 years as chef de cave.

Cavil is not the first female chef de cave among Champagne’s grandes marques. But her new title adds strength to the growing number of women in leadership roles in the historically male-dominated Champagne industry. Yet Cavil gives little thought to the significance of her gender, instead explaining that this transfer has been in the works for more than a decade.

“I joined Krug in 2006 …. [After] one or two years, it was like a mutual choice,” says Cavil. “That there would be a natural transmission [of knowledge and experience], together, and that I would work for a number of years at Eric’s side.”

Before joining Krug, Cavil attended enology school in Champagne and earned internship experience working four harvests at Moët & Chandon and Dom Pérignon, also owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy. However, Cavil’s winemaking represents a second chapter in her professional life. In 2002, Cavil and her husband decided to eschew their comfortable life in Paris, pursuing what she refers to as their ‘life project,’ a dream of quieter living and raising their family closer to nature.

“It was a matter of taste,” says Cavil, describing her path to wine. “I’m not from Champagne—I’m from the center of France—so when I had to choose what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, at 17 years old, enology was far from my mind.” But at business school, and then during her work for a Paris-based advertising agency, she was exposed to wine. “At that time, the taste came.” What started as casual tastings with friends led to professionally organized events, spurring Cavil to learn about wine on her own. Eventually, Cavil’s enthusiastic hobby intersected with her family’s ‘life project,’ and the move to Champagne afforded the opportunity to turn her passion for wine into a career.

Though Cavil’s time in Champagne got off to a novel start, after almost 20 years in the region, her work ethic and drive has merited a lauded position at one of the region’s most esteemed houses.

“I’m very proud, and [I take the position] with a great sense of responsibility, but also a lot of confidence,” says Cavil, citing the well-thought and long-term training she received from Lebel, as well as the talented team with whom she works, as the strengths that will help her succeed.

“I must admit, if you had told me at 17 that I would [one day] be living in Reims, working as a winemaker, at Krug—I’m not sure I would have believed you,” laughs Cavil. But, as she points out, it’s not until protagonists reinvent themselves that many of the most exciting stories become interesting.

 

 

Krug voted World's Most Admired Champagne Brand

Krug has jumped four places to oust Bollinger from first place for the first time in three years.  Louis Roederer finished second and Pol Roger came third in this year’s list, which is available to download. More than 200 of the world’s top masters of wine, sommeliers, educators and journalists took part in the annual poll, which pits champagne brands against each other.

 

Eight brands fell out of favour and dropped down the list this year. Twelve brands climbed up the rankings – Pol Roger catapulted 17 places to become the third most admired brand in 2016.Five re-entries and three new entries, in the form of Jacquart, Alain Thienot and Le Mesnil, made it into the top 30. Billecart-Salmon is the only brand to keep the same place in 2016 as last year.

Christian Davis, editor of The World’s Most Admired Champagne Brands, said: “Once again, the findings may raise a few eyebrows among the ferment that comprises the champagne/ wine trade. But bear in mind, this is not a science – it is about people’s perceptions.

“But these are the perceptions of people who work in the trade, buying, selling, listing wine all the time. They are the professionals. Dismiss their views and our findings at your peril.”

 

Krug en Capitale, a musical fourth edition /

 Krug has announced the fourth edition of “Krug en Capitale”, matching the pleasures of the palate to delicious sounds for the ears. This year the event, which features a “musical vegetable garden”, takes place in the Nissim de Camondo Museum from March 8-12.

Krug created “Krug en Capitale” in 2012, a unique champagne tasting experience with menus designed specially by a chef, and served in an exceptional setting in Paris. Previous editions were held on a rooftop in the 9th arrondissement, the fifth floor of the La Samaritaine and a private terrace at the Plaza Athénée. Now “Krug en Capitale” comes to the Nissim de Camondo Museum.

 

 

 

For this fourth edition, Krug explores the power of music on how tastes are perceived, creating a “musical vegetable garden”. Guests are invited to stroll through the ephemeral garden and its poetic soundscape before savoring the menu created by chef Armand Arnal, whose restaurant La Chassagnette in Arles features organic vegetables from its very own garden. The Michelin-starred chef has drawn inspiration from the vegetables grown in his garden to highlight the emblematic notes of Krug Champagne during lunch, for a refined snack, or at dinner.

Reservations are open for this one-of-a-kind tasting experience from February 1 at www.krugencapitale.fr.

Practical details:
March 8-12, 2016
Musée Nissim de Camondo, 63 rue de Monceau, Paris 8th arrondissement

Lunch from 12pm to  15pm: 160 euros per person – 30 people
”K Time” from 4:30pm to 6:30pm: 45 euros per persons – 15 people
Dinner from 8pm to 11pm: 280 euros per person – 30 people

 

 

Krug Harvest 2014

Once again the magic of the Champagne has happened and this year’s harvests were illuminated by an unexpected sun that had been missing for most of August.At Krug, pruning shears were first heard on September 9th in some of the oldest vineyards of our beloved Clos du Mesnil plot. It was three days before the official start to the harvest season but we found the ideal balance had already arrived!

Thus began a burst of activity across the whole Champagne region including an intensive few days of work in the fields. “50% of the expected grapes were collected in only 4 days,” confirms Chef de Caves Eric Lebel. During the harvest, we are the mercy of Mother Nature and it took a remarkable collective effort amongst the Krug team to adapt and work on the grape musts while respecting the strong qualitative requirements of our House.

The harvest of 2014 will remain in our memories and we are sure that late summer warmth will be felt during the first tastings; we are looking forward to it already…

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History

For many people, there are champagnes and then there is Krug; that is how legendary this house is. Established in 1843 by Johann-Joseph Krug, the house has for six generations admirably stuck to its quality principles, to its generous burnt style and to its fabulous ageing potential. After the retirement of the fifth-generation brothers Henri and Rémi Krug, the house has been looking for its place within the LVMH Group. After two years at the company’s helm, Margareth Henriquez has found a direction and new winds are blowing through Krug, in the form of a more open-minded outlook. An excellent example is the idea implemented by Henriquez of equipping bottles with an easy-to-read ID that indicates the wine’s age and corking date. The winemaking team, led by sixth-generation family representative Olivier Krug, is youthful. Cellar master Eric Lebel believes that a wine is always better made by a team than by an individual, therefore both Henri and Rémi Krug are still involved in the blending.

 

The House of Krug illustrates the amazing adventure of a visionary, Joseph Krug, a determined man with an uncompromising philosophy, who understood that the essence of Champagne is pleasure itself. He wanted to offer his clients the ultimate pleasure experience in Champagne every year, regardless of the annual changes in climate. Joseph Krug founded the first and only House with Champagnes that are all of equal, undisputed quality and distinction. 

 

In 1848, his son still being too young to take over the Champagne House, Joseph Krug consigned the founding principles of the House to posterity in a deep cherry-red notebook. The notebook symbolises the act of recollection, but it also and above all represents the generous legacy made by a visionary to his family and to Champagne itself. It is a unique token that is now presented to guests at Krug’s historic home in rue Coquebert, Reims

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Vineyards

Our philosophy is to select grapes from individual plots which will each express their distinctive features, their nuances and their uniqueness. There is no hierarchy in our selection, no plot is favoured over another. A plot may sometimes be smaller than a garden. What interests us is the character, the contrast between the grapes from different plots. Krug is the only Champagne House to capture the essence of each unique plot in an individual wine. Every year, we re-create from scratch the multitude of facets that give Krug Grande Cuvée its unique character. These facets do not compete in the mouth, but instead form a perfect harmony. From vinification right through to the extraordinary ageing of Krug’s Cuvees, time is one of Krug’s fundamental guiding forces.”"

Eric Lebel, Krug's Chef de Caves

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Winemaking

Krug is the only House to offer five Prestige Cuvees that are all different, while all being of equal, undisputed quality and distinction. Each Cuvee conveys a particular interpretation of nature, offering an inimitable experience the moment it is tasted, overwhelming the senses with exceptional pleasure.

 

Krug Grande Cuvée is the archetype of Krug’s philosophy of craftsmanship and savoir faire: A blend of around 120 wines from ten or more different vintages, some of which may reach 15 years of age. Blending so many vintages gives Krug Grande Cuvée its unique fullness of flavours and aromas, its incredible generosity and its absolute elegance - something impossible to express with the wines of just a single year. Its exceptional finesse is the result of a stay of at least another six years in the cellars. Over twenty years are needed to craft each bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée: the first prestige cuvee re-created each year, beyond the very notion of vintage.

 

Krug Rosé is the only prestige cuvee rosé to be blended from a rich palette of wines from three different grape varieties, and from such a wide range of vintages. These are blended with a wonderfully expressive skin-fermented Pinot Noir wine to deliver its unparalleled and characteristic colour and spice. A resting time of at least five years in Krug’s cellars gives Krug Rosé its subtle bubbles and long-lasting elegance. Krug Rosé is everywhere we don’t expect it to be, in terms of texture, colour and taste. A completely reinvented Rosé Universe. Krug Rosé is a remarkable Champagne which encapsulates the same creative spirit of Krug Grande Cuvée, again surpassing the very notion of vintage.

 

Unique to the House of Krug, every Krug Vintage is crafted to be different, to reveal the expression of a particular year. A year with character, a year with a special story to tell in a way that Krug alone can relate. To narrate this story, Krug has blended very expressive wines from a single year, enhanced by a stay of over ten years in the cellars. Krug Vintage is the story of a year as seen by Krug; there are as many stories as there are Krug Vintages.

 

Time’s second revelation of Krug Vintage. A very limited number of bottles of each Krug Vintage are kept in ideal conditions at the House of Krug cellars. Tasted and appraised, they are waiting to blossom into a second life, a life that exalts time and reveals a new facet of this Champagne. Krug Vintage thus becomes Krug Collection. Time then takes on a new, hitherto unknown meaning.

 

Krug Clos du Mesnil, a very rare Champagne, showcases the unique character of a single plot of Chardonnay, harvested in a single year. Our 1.84-hectare vineyard overlooked by the village church has been protected by walls since 1698. The vineyard is located in the heart of Mesnil-sur-Oger, one of the most iconic villages for Chardonnay in the Champagne region. Krug Clos du Mesnil has an expansive generous personality enhanced by the finish which powers through with extreme precision.

 

Krug Clos d’Ambonnay celebrates with the rarest of Champagnes the unique character of a particular Pinot Noir grape that of a small, walled, 0.68-hectare plot from the heart of Ambonnay, one of the most distinguished villages for this grape variety in Champagne, and one which has played a very special role in the life of the House of Krug. Krug Clos d’Ambonnay reveals a personality with significant presence, great substance and an amazing length and finesse.

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Inside information

Champagne Tastes: Leading the Krug Family Business

An employee of Pandolfini auction house holds Krug champagne during the tasting before the winter auction sessions of Fine and Rare Wines auction.

Although luxury conglomerate LVMH has owned Krug champagne since 1999, Olivier Krug, the sixth generation of the founding family, is still very much in evidence as “Director de la Maison,” or “House Manager.” Most importantly, he is the senior member of the Krug tasting committee, which ensures the champagne is up to the standards laid down in a leather-bound notebook by the founder in 1843. His is the third generation of Krugs working in but not owning the eponymous company, and though he has no direct operational role, he is a very busy man.

“I touch everything connecting Krug with its audiences – from the grape growers to the vendors…but basically, I’m a sales person…. and I’m not ashamed to say it,” he told me.

 

But not just any sales person – he is part of the patrimony of the Krug brand, a living relic of its storied past, embodying the Krug family values of “generosity, pleasure and sharing.” Despite its 150-Euro/bottle on-average price tag Krug champagne Grand Cuvee is not a millesime – or a fine vintage; instead it is based on a kind of vinicultural meritocracy, blended each year from scratch using the best grapes available from hundreds of individual plots (some no bigger than your backyard garden) that Krug has patronized almost from its beginning in 1843.

 

The Man from Mayence
The name “Krug” is indeed German; however, founder Johann-Joseph Krug happened to have been born in 1800 in the part of Germany which was then under French administration: Mayence (Mainz), on the western side of the Rhine, under the French flag from 1792, under the post-Revolutionary Directoire and the treaty of Campo-Formio, until Napoleon’s defeat and the dissolution of the Empire in 1814. History buffs will want to know that this portion of Germany was also under French administration after World War I until 1930 and again in 1945 following WWII.

Johann-Joseph left Mainz in 1824 (at which time he dropped the “Johann” from his name) to seek his fortune and reached Paris ten years later, taking on various offices and accounting jobs in the champagne industry. Marketing posts took him around Europe, and by 1840 he started blending grapes. The next year he married the daughter of a French hotelier with an establishment in London’s Leicester Square, moved to Rheims to setup Krug champagnes and had a son, Paul, in 1843. The family business and the Krug dynasty was off and running.

Joseph was a stickler for perfection. He was also a polyglot, speaking French, German, English and some Russian and was keen on international marketing. Both of these things are very much alive today, five generations later.

“It takes 20 years to make a bottle of Krug Grand Cuvee,” says Olivier of the house’s topline champagne, which blends some 120 wines from more than ten different years. “Krug is not a volume producer. ‘Luxury’ is not ‘market share.’ The founder, at the age of 43, had the dream of offering the best of champagne every year. This goes against the grain, as champagne is normally a vintage. Our Grand cuvee is re-blended each year.”

 

Krug Family Values
“Take care to notice everything, and forget nothing.” These and other values Joseph held dear he indeed scrupulously recorded for posterity in a red leather notebook handed down through the generations. Olivier will only say these words of wisdom offer an “uncompromising view of grapes: never rely on the option of using lesser grapes. A good house should offer two champagnes of the same quality (NB: Krug today offers five different champagnes). There is no “sub-Krug;” only prestige champagne.”

It was this leather-bound axiom, which led Olivier’s grandfather to sell Krug to Remy-Cointreau in 1970. The family retained shares in Remy after the sale (they do not hold shares in LVMH, which bought Krug from Remy Cointreau).

“My grandfather had to make a strategic decision for the future of Krug,” Olivier says. “The short term solution would have been to keep it in the family –with all the weaknesses you can expect from a family – and to produce more by lowering the quality. The only way to keep the quality high was to join with a larger company. I think Krug today is in better hands in the LVMH family today than if it were still in the Krug family.” This despite the fact that LVMH owns several other luxury-level wines, including Moet Hennessey (the “MH” in LVMH, and the luxury conglomerate’s spirits division).

 

A New Family
The person in charge of Krug for LVMH since 2009 is Margareth Henriquez, (in the organizational chart she is listed as Chairman and CEO) who previously managed LVMH’s Argentine-based Bodega Chandon. Olivier has nothing but good things to say about her marketing expertise. “We needed someone to help tell our story. Krug was known only as a top-rated champagne, but we couldn’t really express our values until we started working with LVMH. We opened our archives to them.”

The results include recorded musical pairings – classical, folk, jazz to accompany various Krug champagnes – and individual ID numbers on each bottle which tell you the story of that particular bottle of champagne: the number of wines and where they come from, available on a free Krug app. “The app is really helping expand the business in America,” he told me. “At the moment, it’s our fastest-growing region.”

Japan is by far Krug’s number one market – a fact in which the 48-year-old Olivier takes personal pride. It was his first assignment when he joined the company as a young man in the early 1990’s. ”As a little boy, I was told nothing about the business,” he remembers. “Nothing. I was never pushed; in fact, it was forbidden to talk about it. So I used to ride my bicycle around the buildings out of curiosity. I went to school and then business school and I was offered a job elsewhere in finance, when my father offered me a job in the family business. He sent me to Japan as a kind of apprentice in the field for a year. At the time Japan wasn’t even ranked in our sales figures. I stayed there 2 ½ years and brought it to the number one position. So I am proud of that.”

The UK, France, Nordic countries, Australia and Hong Kong are also strong markets for Krug, helped along by other marketing strategies incorporating “Krug rooms” in various restaurants and “Krug ambassadors.”

But the biggest selling-point today is Olivier Krug himself –without a living, breathing family member out there talking to the pubic, shaking hands and swing up – even the finest champagne loses some of its bubbles. Olivier is not pressuring his four children (one boy and three girls) to go into the family business, though his son heads a wine club at his school.

And for all of the handshaking and chatting and wine tasting and traveling…is this a real job? “I am paid by Krug,” he assures me. “We employ about 50 people directly. And everywhere I go, Krug sells.”

FORBES

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21 different wines with 159 vintages

Winemaking since 1843

  • Rémi Krug

    You cannot say the vintage is better than the non-vintage, any more than you can say that a symphony is better than a concerto.

Highlights

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Wine Moments

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 Krug  has news

A New Chapter at Krug Champagne Julie Cavil succeeds longtime winemaker and mentor Eric Lebel as   more ...

1m 22d ago

 Essi Avellan MW , Wine Writer (Finland)  tasted  5 wines  from  Krug . In a tasting of  14 wines 

Roederer Cristal Rosé 2012 / “Already upon launch this rosé shows rare harmony and seamlessness. It is opulently fruity and exuberantly Pinot-packed yet at the same time seductively silky-textured. The voluminous palate is perfectly integrated to the wine’s superb freshness that carries it to a great length. Structured whilst soft and comes with Cristal Rosé’s hallmark elegance and radiance. Highly enjoyable already but with great long-term ageing capacity. A perfect reflection of the vintage’s best qualities.”

2m 13d ago

 Will Gardener / Nickolls & Perks, Wine Dealer (United Kingdom)  tasted  13 wines  from  Krug . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Taittinger Comte Blanc de Blancs 2000 / There is surprisingly little colouration, pale gold, tiny bubbles. The nose is delicate, with faint cappuccino and a meaty edge, marine too, there is definite elegance and purity. The tension here admirable with fine citrus, towards grapefruit which hits you and then drifts off into a rippling effect, tantalising the taste buds. Not sure I would get it blind it’s less evolved than the first release bottle tasted last year, where softer more honeyed notes appeared. There is precision here like a youthful white Puligny it definitely grows on you, with hints of ginger and marine carried into the finish. A good life ahead here. Drink now – 2025+, 94/100.

3m 21d ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Krug . In a tasting of  28 wines 

Roussean Chambertin 1990 / Bright ruby – quite a deep colour actually. Delightfully shaded. Pungent and definitely with lots of tertiary aromas. This has crossed the Rubicon into something serious! Fireworks and explosions. Great breadth and richness. Long and kerpow. So complex and beautfully balanced, Struck match quality. Fine tannins on the finish but lots of pleasure. Tense and exciting.

6m 19d ago

 Zhao Dao Lee / Wine Importer, Wine Importer (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Krug . In a tasting of  8 wines 

Lafon Montrachet 2007 / Interesting nose of citrus, slight lees and butter. Much grander taste than the nose —lemon, tart apples and buttered popcorn. Very concentrated palate with lots of fruit and acidity, but then followed by a long velvety finish. Overall, a still bit tight and not completely harmonious, but very promising. Should be very good with aging and integration—probably needs still 3-5 years.

6m 22d ago

 Maurizio Zanella, Pro (Italy)  tasted  1 wines  from  Krug . In a tasting of  11 wines 

Cristal 1971 / Moderately pale golden yellow colour. Persistent, intense and elegant nose with great depth by autolysis characters, brioche and hints of dried apricots. Very crisp palate with vivid mousse and persistent lemony flavours with dried fruits. Wonderful yeasty character adding extra structure. Long lingering mineral finish. Beautiful balance and harmony. Just pure enjoyment! 98p

6m 23d ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Krug . In a tasting of  11 wines 

The true luxury champagne is the one that captures your full attention and makes you step off the treadmill to take a meditative moment with the champagne. The richness of its taste is limitless. Each sip peels new layeres of flavours and the aftertaste feels like neverending. Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 1986 and Dom Ruinart Rosé 1979 were excellent examples of luxury champagnes at their best. Dom Pérignon 2008 and Krug Grande Cuvée 167 Edition will be there one day, and I believe with even bigger trigger.

6m 28d ago

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Krug . In a tasting of  9 wines 

Everyone wants to know, ‘how is Hong Kong?’ It has certainly been a tumultuous and strenuous second half to the year for one of the world’s greatest cities, and after a bit of recent and extended calm, things unfortunately escalated again on New Year’s Day. The hospitality business has definitely been hit hard, and the city regularly feels emptier than usual due to a spike downwards in tourism. When there are major protests in a certain area, local businesses are basically screwed. People do not go out on the weekends or holidays as much since most of the protests are on weekends or holidays, unless they are protesting, of course. Reports of recession have emerged, and everyone to whom I have spoken yearns for a return to normalcy.
But for its finest wine lovers, pleasure and business continue in fine fashion. People want to enjoy their passion, perhaps even more so given the circumstances. And two short but sweet meals on my two trips there this Fall would prove to be outstanding examples of this point.

7m 7d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  2 wines  from  Krug . In a tasting of  72 wines 

Champagne Magazines 100 Best Champagnes 2020 -tasting day III.

7m 10d ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  10 wines  from  Krug . In a tasting of  23 wines 

Cristal 1982 / Disgorged in 1987. A dream vintage, after 1980 and 1981 – catastrophic because of very low quantity. High quantity and high quality (like Bordeaux). Med pH 65% PN, 35% Chardonnay. 23% oak fermentation.


Lovely truffley fully developed nose. Tightly wound and very intriguing. Rich underneath. Very flattering and gorgeous. Finishes a little skinnier. Lots of mushrooms on the palate. Long. Quite rich really Very much a wine rather than a champagne, with some real weight. Very fine and neat and dense. Perhaps slightly less concentrated than the 1990 and 1996.

8m 12d ago

 Antonio Galloni, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Krug . In a tasting of  30 wines 

The 1996 Cristal Vinothèque is a magnificent, towering Champagne. Bright and yet deep, with tremendous flavor intensity, the 1996 is a real stunner. The flavors are remarkably pure and crystalline, with tons of energy that gives the citrus and floral character its vibrancy. I have been fortunate to taste the 1996 a few times in the past. This is its best showing yet. The 1996 Cristal Vinothèque spent ten years on its lees, flat (sur latte), and another four years upside down (sur pointe), the first period to get a slight oxygenation, and the second to bring the wine back into a slightly reductive state. Dosage is 7 grams per liter, using a custom liqueur made from bottled wine and liqueur, as opposed to the Cristal from cask that is used for the first release of Cristal and Cristal Rosé.

8m 26d ago

 James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Krug . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Château d' Yquem 2001 / 100 points / What a pure wine, with honey, caramel, cooked apple, bon bon, and pear tart. Dried apricots and peaches develop with time in the glass. What a palate, it is very sweet and rich at the impact, but then it’s dense and opulent like a Grand Cru Burgundy, think Montrachet. Apples, honey, and pineapples with hints of mango on the palate. This is an incredible wine, a real dream, a legend. 150 grams of RS

8m 29d ago

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"We believed the opinion of 10,000 consumers or 1,000 professionals to be more correct and more significant than a small group of wine professionals.”

 

BWW-The Best Wine of the World-competition is by far the toughest wine competition on this planet. Unlike any other industry competition, only 1% of the wines involved will be awarded. 

BWW is also the largest wine competition: The BWW competition 2019 was held in the world's largest wine information service - tastingbook.com. 18,477 wines received in total 2,354,989 votes from 416,000 wine professionals and wine lovers from 116 countries during the three months voting period.