NOffLA awards judging starts and Gold Star returns

The NOffLA 2010 Off-licence of the Year Awards judging began on 29 June, and Gold Star wine awards are back again this summer

NOffLA members are reminded that judging for the 2010 awards begins on 29 June. The National Off-Licence Association would like to wish all entrants the best of luck and to offer sincere thanks to the award sponsors for their support; Hennessy, Smirnoff, Faustino, Budweiser and Wyndham Estate.

The Association’s independent adjudicator for round one is Fiona M Keane, BArch, MRIAI, MIDI. Keane is an architect and has lectured for some years on interior design at Dublin Institute of Technology. She holds the Certificate of the IGS, Certificate WSET, Higher Certificate WSET, and is currently studying for the WSET Diploma. Keane has adjudicated the National Tidy Towns competition for Bord Fáilte.

Mary Dowey has been one of Ireland’s leading wine writers for the past 14 years. Wine correspondent of the Irish Times from 1995 to 2005, she is now wine editor of The Gloss magazine and an occasional contributor to the internationally renowned Decanter. Dowey also presents themed gourmet wine dinners at Dublin’s Merrion Hotel, as well as annual spring wine appreciation weekends at Ballymaloe House. Her latest book, 101 Great Wines Under E12 was a Christmas bestseller, while Food & Wine: Matching Made Simple, has been translated into eight languages.  

Although the second year of the revamped awards takes place in a changed Irish retail environment, it still promises to be an exciting competition as raising one’s standards is now so much more important. All participants in the awards will receive a certificate of Standard, Merit or Excellence, depending on their performance. The first round of the competition runs from Monday 29 June to Friday 14 August; round two from 14 September to Friday 9 October; and the final will be held on Monday, 11 January 2010.

NOffLA Gold Star returns for the ninth year

The 2009 Irish Wine Show will be held at The Pavillion at Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin 18, on Tuesday, 29 September, from 10.30am to 5pm. This will be the ninth wine show hosted by the National Off-Licence Association at which the Gold Star Awards are presented and is now part of the industry’s calendar of not-to-be missed events.

Preparations are already in hand to make a success of the 2009 Irish Wine Show. NOffLA WSET Diploma and Higher Certificate holders will gather in Dublin on Wednesday 12 August to participate in the blind tasting to select the wines for the Gold Star Awards 2009. The best sparkling/Champagne will be tasted by Champagne Academy members of the National Off-Licence Association. Both tasting panels will be chaired by leading Irish wine writers.

Winning a Gold Star Award is a distinctive accolade for the featured wines and also provides a strong marketing platform, particularly in the all-important pre-Christmas selling period.

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