During what has been one of the strangest years in anyone's lifetime, we've finally got some good news with the announcement of this year’s Retailer Awards.
Out of the 32,625 retailers currently listed on our site, only 1311 ticked all the boxes and scored a medal, although this year the boxes – like everything else in 2020 – changed significantly.
|The 2019 Wine-Searcher Retailer Awards|
|Searching for the World's Best Wine Lists|
|Wine-Searcher Retailer Awards Bigger and Better|
The major change to this year's awards was the move away from focusing solely on small independent stores and allowing larger retailers – ones with more than 1500 products listed – a slice of the action too.
To maintain a fair playing field, however, and make sure larger retailers don't scoop every award due to having larger purchasing power and simply more stock, we implemented a new rule. Instead of the – admittedly, rather limiting – cap on stores to have no more than 1500 wines or spirits in order to qualify, we have switched things up to a more fair and vastly more open playing field.
The new rule now demands that at least 1 percent of a store's inventory must be dedicated to the award category. For example, to be eligible for the Best Bordeaux award, a store with 2500 wines must stock at least 25 from the Bordeaux region. This new rule applies to both wines and spirits and hopefully protects the chances of smaller retailers winning as well as allowing larger ones to join in on the fun.
As a result, this year's winners include such noble establishments as Berry Bros & Rudd – who were previously barred from winning any wine awards as their product listings exceeded our cap – and several branches of American retail giant Total Wine & More. However, before you think the little guys must have surely lost out to the big boys, you may be pleasantly surprised. As you browse through the awards, prepare to see bespoke Burgundy and German wine specialists Howard Ripley sitting on par with fine wine behemoth Hedonism Wines proving size isn't everything – it's quality, not the scale of the store that counts.
As for the other parameters, they haven't changed much. Stores still need to hold a Wine-Searcher merchant star rating of at least four stars and have no current customer complains. Each qualifying wine or spirit needs to have an aggregated critic score of 80 points or more and, as it is a competition, there must be other viable stores in the area for there to be a legitimate Gold, Silver and Bronze.
As always, auction houses, producers, wholesalers, brokers and duty free stores are not eligible for the awards.
So, whether you're in a lockdown or lucky enough to be out of one, put your feet up and find your nearest winning stores here. With awards in 211 cities across 30 countries, there's bound to be something near you.
And if not then, during these uncertain house-bound times, surely somebody will deliver?