This is not just any supermarket ...

19 September, 2008

Marks & Spencer stole the show at the recent International Wine Challenge awards presentation at London's Grosvenor House Hotel, being named supermarket of the year and taking the top retail prize as merchant of the year.

Judges praised M&S for its "outstanding service and range to customers" and "risk-taking with high end wines". They also noted the wine team's approach to ethical issues in South Africa, detailed back labels, and impressive POS.

"There has been an incredible amount of advancement in recent times for

M&S ," they added. "Including winemakers as part of the team brings a wealth of experience and knowledge and understandably this has helped to establish an innovative wine selection, where price equals quality. Their unique web offers complete the package that quite clearly makes them the 2008 Wine Merchant of the Year."

M&S wine boss Chris Murphy said: "I'm very proud of these achievements - and the fact that our wines have already won almost 300 awards this year alone - which recognise all the hard work and effort put in by our buying teams and producers.

"It's these very real and genuine partnerships that make our wines different."

Majestic picked up the award for best high street chain. Tanners was named

best direct merchant and large independent, and D Byrne of Clitheroe was judged best small independent.

Tesco was

innovator of the year.

For full details of this year's IWC winners go to

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English wine: a happy harvest for Christmas

All across England and Wales, vineyards are being harvested. Down winding country lanes come armies of welly-wearing conscripts wielding secateurs and buckets, ready to reap the rewards of our vines. Happily they come, their cheeks ruddy with pride. Half an hour later they’re crawling over muddy clods with lacerated hands, drenched in claggy juice and cold sweat, as if ploughing through an endurance race.

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