After a brief detour for its 25th anniversary, the international traveling wine competition Concours Mondial de Bruxelles has moved back to Europe in 2019. The next edition is scheduled to take place in Aigle, in the Swiss region of Vaud, Switzerland from 02- 05 May.
The last edition of CMB held in Haidian, China was every bit unconventional as the competition adorned an oriental look. And this year, it will be interesting to explore one of the most promising emerging wine regions along with judging the highest number of entries at the competition.
In terms of wine consumption as well as production, China has been growing significantly over the last few years and so has been the number of entries from China for the Bruxelles based international wine competition CMB which has been traveling to a different country in Europe since its origin.
For the first time in 2018, an Asian country entered the ‘top five list’ of wine entries at the competition. China had followed after France, Spain, Italy, and Portugal. After the increase of 112.5% in entries from China in 2017 vs. 2016, the Asian country showed another rise in 2018. According to Thomas Costenoble, CMB Managing Director, “Chinese consumers set great faith on the medals and use them as a guideline in their purchasing decisions. Retailers are looking for awarded wines to meet market demand, whilst winemakers see awards as an opportunity to enter new markets, which is what motivated strong Chinese participation in the competition”.
That’s one of the reasons why Costenoble thought it was a good idea to organize CMB 2018 in China last year. The competition also went hi-tech with tabs replacing the evaluations sheets for the first time. It was indeed a welcoming move as the tabs cut down on the use of paper and helped avoid inaccuracies and other human errors during calculations. This also made the assessment process much faster.
With an increase in numbers of entries this year (9,150 wines from 46 wine producing countries) the number of judges has also increased for the competition in Aigle. The city is magnificently located on the edge of the Rhone valley, surrounded by the impressive Swiss Alps. A short distance from the city is Lake Geneva and the Lavaux wine region which is world famous for its terraced vineyards that are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Interestingly, Switzerland is ranked as the world’s 4th largest consumer country for per capita consumption of wine (33 litres).
Swiss wine entries are at an all-time high of nearly 600 wines (vs. 166 in 2018) this year overtaking wines from China. Wines from the region of Vaud account for over 50% of Swiss entries, followed by the region of Valais with 37%.
“We are very proud and delighted that Switzerland ranks among the top 5 countries for the number of entries”, comments Frédéric Borloz, chairman of the CMB Aigle 2019 association. “Besides organising an unforgettable edition of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles in Aigle, our objective was also to involve winegrowers from every wine region in Switzerland and to show off the diversity and quality of our wines. The first step of this goal has been fully achieved.”
But Switzerland is not the only country whose participation has grown in 2019. Numbers from Italy and Spain have increased respectively by 5 % and 3.4 % compared to 2018. Entries from Mexico has surged by 20% and for the first time in the history of the competition, the Republic of Moldova has entered the top 10 for the number of entries with a rise of 23% on 2018. Romania and the Czech Republic are also on the increase.
Moving from Cabernet-Sauvignon-dominated China to the cooler climates of Switzerland has also been reflected in the type of wines registered in the 2019 competition. The percentage of red wines amongst total entries has decreased by 3% in favor of white wines, whose share has increased by 3% compared to 2018. The ratio of rosé wines has remained unchanged. The majority of organic entries in 2019 come from Italy (182), followed by Spain (151), France (121) and China (53).
350 oenologists and sommeliers, international buyers, journalists, specialist wine writers and critics, researchers and representatives from industry organisations from nearly 50 countries (including yours truly) will gather in the town of Aigle this week and we can’t wait to experience magnificent Switzerland.