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The International Spirits Challenge is now in its 20th year and is the most authoritative, respected and influential spirits competition in the world.
The ISC receive more than 1,000 entries from nearly 70 countries worldwide making the ISC a truly global competition. The judging process is held over seven days of intense blind tasting by panels of more than 50 respected and experienced industry professional. Each judge assesses products according to their age, region and variety.
The products are blind tasted and awarded a score out of 100 for their aroma, appearance and taste.
In 2014 a total of 843 medals were awarded with 193 gold medals, 441 silver medals, and 209 bronze medals. Waitrose stock more than 15 medal winning spirits, including nine Waitrose own label spirits.
There are four main wine and spirit awarding bodies in the UK, all of which use rigorous tasting procedures to ensure quality and fairness. The competitions are judged by top experts and experienced professionals from the world of wine and spirits, including Masters of Wine.
These awarding bodies help to guide and inform customers on the quality of wine from around the world. Each awarding body will categorise entries by colours/country/region and some will categorise by price.
In 2014, Waitrose stocked more than 380 award winning bottles, 50 of which were Waitrose own label wines and spirits.
The Decanter World Wine Awards launched in 2004 with just over 4,000 wines, and is now celebrating its tenth anniversary as the world's leading wine competition. In 2014, 224 wine experts from 27 countries; including 66 Masters of Wine and 18 Master Sommeliers, gathered in London to taste more than 15,000 wine entries from around the world.
Each region is categorised by price, from under £7 to over £60.00.
A total of 10,455 wines were awarded a Decanter medal in 2014. Waitrose currently stock over 330 Decanter medal winning wines.
Now in its 46th year, the IWSC is the longest running competition of its kind in the world. It aims to promote the quality and excellence of the world's best wines, spirits and liqueurs.
All IWSC entries attaining a certain level of success undergo comprehensive technical analysis to ensure they meet all relevant technical and legal requirements. This adds to the credibility of an IWSC award and the value that they convey to winning products.
The IWSC boasts an extensive list of judges. These judges encompass every aspect of the trade including Master of Wine, drink writers, educators, distillers, wine makers and buyers.
A total of 7,378 wines were awarded the IWSC medal in 2014. Waitrose currently stock more than 130 IWSC medal winning wines.
The IWC has been running for more than 30 years and is one of the largest blind tastings in the world.
IWC call on the skills of more than 300 judges, including 39 Masters of Wine, to taste more than 12,500 wines, from 51 countries and more than 430 varieties. These judges are over-seen by six chairmen, each of them leaders in their field. Between them they taste every single medal-winning wine, ensuring that only the best succeed. They are: Tim Atkin MW, Oz Clarke, Charles Metcaffe, Sam Harrop MW, Derek Smedley MW and Peter McCombie MW.
To achieve an IWC gold medal, the wine will be tasted up to six times and the results verified by one of the six IWC chairmen. In 2014, 460 gold medals were awarded across all categories of the competition. In 2014, Waitrose stocked more than 380 IWC medal winning wines.