Awards for own-brand wine ranges
UK supermarkets' own-brand wines have scooped a record number of medals at a prestigious competition, with even the budget retailers producing bottles that would be "welcome at any dinner party".
Judges at the International Wine Challenge (IWC) awarded medals to 498 supermarket exclusives and own-brand bottles - 138 more than last year - saying connoisseurs needed to look only as far as their local grocer.
Wines created for Aldi, Asda, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco, The Co-operative and Waitrose all picked up gold medals, with a total of 33 awarded to supermarket wines.
M&S topped the medal table with 12 golds, 52 silvers and 105 bronzes.
Tesco won five golds, including two for its £9.99 Finest Chablis 2013 and the £11.99 Finest Sancerre 2013.
Sainsbury's £20 Blanc de Blanc Champagne Brut NV also won gold, as did its £8 Taste the Difference Pedro Ximenez Sherry NV.
Morrisons received four gold medals, one for its £6.99 Amontillado Sherry NV, while Aldi produced two of the "best value gold medal winners of the whole competition" - The Exquisite Collection Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2014 and The Exquisite Collection Clare Valley Riesling 2014, costing £7.99 and £6.99 respectively.
Three wines created exclusively for Waitrose were also awarded gold medals - the Craggy Range Te Muna Road Pinot Noir 2013 (£22.99), Polish Hill River Riesling 2008 (£8.99) and Tre Fiori Greco Di Tufo 2013 (£10.99).
The Co-operative received a single gold medal for its Château Roumieu 2012, which costs £11.99.
IWC co-chairman Charles Metcalfe said: "We have never awarded so many medals to own-brand wines before, which demonstrates the vast improvement in supermarket ranges.
"It is fantastic that supermarkets are offering such extensive ranges of different styles and that UK shoppers can get top quality wine on their doorstep.
"Serve any one of these medal winners to your friends and family and they are guaranteed to be blown away."
This year also produced record successes for English producers, with 14 sparkling wines picking up gold medals.
Winemakers from Kent, Hampshire, Sussex and Surrey received top prizes at the competition, including Court Garden, Chapel Down, Hambledon Vineyard, Bluebell Vineyard Estate and Wiston Estate winning gold medals.