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Published:  23 July, 2008

More than 200 of the wine trade's great and good descended on London's Vintners Hall last Tuesday to taste the gold medal winners of the 2004 International Wine and Spirits Competition. Wines from across the world were available to taste, with Australia (32 wines) and France (18 wines and Champagnes) leading the way. We are very pleased with how the competition went this year,' said Maryan Hook, IWSC sales and marketing manager. We saw an increased number of entries from Australia, South Africa, Chile and Argentina, and steady numbers from elsewhere.' Commenting on the standard of entries, IWSC tasting co-ordinator Pip Mortimer remarked that they were of a particularly high quality this year. Every year the judges say that the quality is better than ever before. The star flight this year was probably that of Australian Shiraz. The quality of the wines was simply stunning,' she said. 2004 IWSC president Paul Symington, of the Symington Port Family, said that the producers of those wines and spirits that made it through to the showcase tasting have reason for considerable pride'. He added: The principles on which the IWSC is based ensure the judgements are free of any commercial pressures and are not the subjective opinions of one person. This independence is worth noting in a world where the number of competitions and awards for wines and spirits seems to be expanding at an ever-increasing rate.' The spirits world was also well represented at the tasting with top vodkas, aquavits, gins, Tequilas, brandies, Cognacs, Armagnacs, Calvados and a host of whiskies available. * A full list of medals, trophies and overall producer and buyer awards will be published on 29 September.