Sparkling Wine Review

Benchmarking Bubbles

The Sparkling Wine Review (SWR) brings together some of the world’s leading tasters to benchmark sparkling wines in a unique and comprehensive assessment exercise. This technically led review process is aimed at helping sparkling wine producers better understand the needs of the global marketplace and provides insight as to how they can better align their products to meet these needs.

The SWR offers entrants exceptional value for money. Not only are all wines entered given a score out of 100 and a value for money rating but they also receive a detailed benchmarking report that includes sensory and technical analysis, plus expert assessments of packaging and where the wine sits in the marketplace.

Sparkling wine producers who are considering launching a new product, reviewing quality of an existing product, updating packaging or seeking a better understanding of the marketplace and where a product fits are invited to submit their products for the first annual Review, which takes place in November 2010.

Top-scoring wines will be showcased at the International Sparkling Wine Symposium in 2011.
What is the Sparkling Wine Review?
The review process helps to assess the quality and marketability of each wine through both sensory and technical analysis. Each wine receives a Benchmark Report that encompasses:
Score out of 100
Technical analysis
– Total Acidity

– pH
– Volatile Acidity
– Sulphur Dioxide
– Pressure
– Residual Sugar
Sensory analysis
– Colour
– Mousse
– Nose
– Palate
Assessment on packaging
Perceived value for money
Suitability for the UK marketplace
Optimum drinking and maturity
Click here for an example of the Benchmark Report.

Benefits of participation
The SWR’s tasters are chosen for their knowledge of sparkling wine specifically – they are some of the foremost experts in sparkling wine in the world;
The potential for an uplift in sales;
The SWR has a balanced viewpoint. The final assessment is undertaken by a qualified sparkling winemaker and wine journalist, working in tandem;
Wines are blind tasted ensuring results are credible and impartial;
Every wine assessed at the SWR will receive a detailed benchmarking report regardless of its performance;
The SWR does not just praise or criticize a wine, but seeks out the positives and searches for potential areas of improvement to help producers continuously improve their offer for this highly competitive global market place;
Results that are published will only include data that is relevant to the consumer (i.e. tasting note, score, value for money). Technical information and guidance on how to improve the product will remain confidential;
The Sparkling Wine Review 2011 is staged in November 2010 with results announced in January 2011. This gives the submitter the opportunity to promote their success for a full calendar year and beyond;
Showcasing at the International Sparkling Wine Symposium 2011, in Spain, attended by 300+ delegates (for wines scoring 90+);
Value for money. Compare SWR fees against those of wine research consultancies and you will see that the savings are considerable and the SWR offering is far greater.

Who should participate?
Sparkling wine producers who are:
1. Considering launching a new product
2. Updating packaging
3. Reviewing quality of an existing product
4. Seeking a better understanding of the marketplace and where a product fits
5. Looking to benchmark their products amongst their peers and competitors

Who are the Chairmen?
Dr Jamie Goode – Currently one of the most respected international wine writers, Jamie is the wine columnist with UK national newspaper The Sunday Express and editor of He won the 2007 Glenfiddich Wine Writer of the year award, and contributes regularly to a range of publications including World of Fine Wine, Wine Business International, Wines and Vines, Hong Kong Tatler and Decanter. His first book, Wine Science, won the Glenfiddich Award for Drinks Book in 2006. Jamie holds a Ph.D in plant biology and is particularly interested in the science of wine.
Sam Harrop MW – Sam trained as a winemaker in his native New Zealand, gaining valuable experience at Villa Maria in Auckland and Hawkes Bay before moving to boutique winery Littorai Wines in California. In the late 1990s he changed direction and spent seven years working as wine buyer for Marks & Spencer, during which time he passed the Master of Wine qualification and travelled the wine regions of the world, before returning to winemaking as a consultant. He now works with clients across France, Portugal and Spain. Sam is also co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge, the world’s most prestigious international wine competition.
Jean-Marc Sauboua – Head of Winemaking, Production and Development at Direct Wines, Jean-Marc is one of the most renowned oenologists on the scene today and was formerly one of the winemakers for one of the most prestigious wineries in the world: Château Haut Brion in Bordeaux. Half-French and half-Spanish, Jean-Marc comes from a family with a long history of winemaking. He studied winemaking in Bordeaux and has made wine in most countries across the world including South Africa, Chile, Australia, France, Italy, New Zealand, Moldavia and Spain.
John Worontschak – An Australian winemaker with over 25 years international experience in all aspects of the wine industry. John became one of the first “flying winemakers” back in the early 90s and has worked for numerous wineries in over 25 different countries. He is privileged to have had the opportunity and pleasure of seeing the global wine industry evolve and develop. Now a Director of Litmus Wines, John is involved in Wine business development and is currently involved in winemaking and wine sales in a number of different international markets.

Who are the Tasters?
Dee Blackstock MW – Dee is the Central Buyer for Wines at Waitrose, responsible for the following categories: Champagne, Sparkling, Beaujolais, Burgundy & New Zealand. Dee’s career in wine began at Gerard Harris Fine Wines, attached to a Relais et Châteaux hotel in Aston Clinton. She progressed through her trade examinations with distinctions and scholarships along the way before moving to Waitrose in 1991. The following year Dee became a Master of Wine at the first attempt, while also picking up the top prize in the Diploma of Grocery Marketing. Dee is one of four Masters of Wine on the Government Hospitality Advisory Committee for the purchase of wine.
Pieter Ferreira – Durban-born Pieter has experienced a number of working vintages in the Champagne region; at Mumm, Moet & Chandon, Georges Veselle in Bouzy. Pieter has a particular interest and passion in Cap Classique winemaking and has made it his specialist field. He has produced leading MCC’s in the Robertson region, where the vines grow exceptionally well in the chalk/limestone soils.
Peter Liem – Peter is an American wine writer living in the Champagne region of France. He writes and publishes, an online guide to the wines and wine producers of Champagne. Peter is also a senior correspondent and wine critic for Wine & Spirits magazine, and writes about wine for various other publications as well, such as The World of Fine Wine and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Pierre-Yves Bournerias – Pierre-Yves has been a winemaker at Institut Oenologique de Champagne since 1996 and is an advisor to around 40 Champagne producers. He works with customers from harvest until the release of bottles to market. In addition, Pierre-Yves gives lectures about sparkling winemaking and tasting, and holds a live radio show about terroir, wine and food every Sunday morning on a local radio station covering four French provinces.

Outcomes of review process
Once the data has been assembled and quality checked the Benchmark Report will be released solely to the participant. It is at this stage that the participant can decide to keep their results confidential or approve their circulation amongst the trade and general public. Dissemination is done via the SWR website.

Submitters will have the option to promote their success by utilising the SWR artwork. The Sparkling Wine Review will make these items available to purchase at a minimal charge once the results are announced in January 2011.

The objective of the SWR is to produce detailed and valuable findings, such as:
A sensory evaluation of the wine;
Optimum drinking and maturity;
High quality tasting notes to focus on the individual components i.e. visual, aromatic and taste;
Technical considerations to improve the taste of the wine;
Guidance on how to enhance the value of the product;
Feedback on the packaging design and label content to help leverage consumers willingness to buy;
Giving insight into the style of the producer’s wine and how it compares amongst its peers;
Reporting on the overall marketability and positioning of the wine;
Rating the value of the product by using the internationally recognised ‘$’ symbol, i.e. 1 x Dollar ($) = poor value for money, 5 x Dollar ($$$$$) = exceptional value for money. The Dollar value will be standardised on an ex cellar basis for true international comparison.

Correlating this information will enable a qualitative analysis between the score, wine style and its perceived value for money. The calculation will generate a performance evaluation for each wine plus the category as a whole.

Cost of submission
Online fee £130 +VAT
Postal fee £140 +VAT