Ondarre Rioja Reserva wins Wine of Year

Ondarre Rioja Reserva was declared NOffLA’s Wine of the Year at the 15th NOffLA Gold Star Wine Awards at SIP 2015, held in the Morrison Hotel recently.

This wine is in the ‘Old World Red Under €20’ category.

Suavia Soave Classico DOC was declared Best White Wine at the awards. It’s in the ‘Old World White Under €20’ category.

The two were among 15 winning wines which will be sold at over 315 NOffLA-member outlets around the country.

The chosen wines will be recognisable by distinctive Award symbols on each bottle. In the pre-Christmas period NOffLA members will promote the Gold Star Awards 2015-2016 Collection as ideal Christmas gifts in a variety of special gift packs.

In excess of 600 wines were submitted to the Gold Star Award adjudication panel of NOffLA judges and independent wine writers.  Points were awarded on the basis of appearance, smell, taste and value for money criteria, and the winning 15 were selected as the best wines from key suppliers across a number of price categories.

At the event, the Association repeated its call on the Government to reduce excise duty on alcohol, specifically wine which is currently 624% higher in Ireland then other EU countries.

In congratulating the winners at the awards, NOffLA Chairman Gary O’Donovan commented on the current trading environment. Things are looking up in the economy, he stated, “Consumer sentiment is up 5% to a nine-year high”.

NOffLA members are committed to excellence both in terms of personal service and the high quality wines they offer.

“However, this offering is under serious threat if this tentative economic recovery does not reach retailers and SMEs.  NOffLA members are committed to supporting local communities but the excise increases in Budget 2013 and Budget 2014 prevent us from investing in our local economies. Since 2008 some 3,000 jobs (35%) have been lost in the sector and 546 off-licences have closed.

“This Government has committed itself to full employment by 2018 but punitive taxes prevent independent retailers from playing an active part in reaching this goal.  Currently, Ireland has the highest taxation on wine with Irish consumers paying 624% more than their European counterparts. Excise duty and employment are intertwined with our members reporting that they have had to reduce staff due to duty increases. In a recent survey of our members, 70% said they would take on more staff if excise was reduced. A further increase in excise duty would force 16.4% of outlets to close outright, with a further 51% struggling to remain open.

The high excise tax on alcohol and on wine in particular was causing the off-trade severe problems in moving forward and helping grow jobs in their local communities.

“Those who would ask us to invest in our local economies are actually preventing us from doing so,” he said, adding, “We’d be shocked to see an increase in excise in this year’s Budget.”

Next year, awards in the craft beer and cider categories are to be added to the wine awards.



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