Press release international PIWI Wine Award 2021 (PDF)

Press release WINE SYSTEM – Trust your Senses

International PIWI Wine Award Tasting – 443 Wines And 16 Countries

International Variety In Leading Position – Strong Natural Wine Representation – New Styles Embracement

Frasdorf, November 2021 – With a new internationally uniformed name and brand image, the International PIWI Wine Award ran the tasting on November 05th – 07th, 2021. The eleventh renowned high-quality contest announced by PIWI International, due to pandemic circumstances, took place in the proven virtual WINE SYSTEM Tasting Room, offering space to the certified PAR® Master Jury to assess 443 PIWI wines from 16 countries. As a result, 37 wines took the Top Gold Awards, 174 received Gold and 177 achieved Silver. Forty-four wines were honoured with compliments.

As measured by the number of Top Gold medals, German organic producers could climb to the top spot by winning 15 top prizes out of 37 in this category. One hundred seventy submitted wines took Germany to the mainly represented wine countries during the 2021 tasting, followed by Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Denmark. Switzerland followed with five medals. Austria and Czechia received 4 Top Gold medals each. Also, PIWIs from Italy, Denmark, Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia were right at the forefront.

International Diversity Featured By The Overall Winners

Remarkable 98 point assessments went to the forerunners in the categories of white and dessert wine. The 2018 vegan Rinot moravské zemské vino spontaneously fermented in a steel tank and wooden barrel and the 2019 Rinot moravské zemské vino made by the same method at Vinselekt Michlovsky from the Czech region Moravia. Likewise, the same position was achieved by the stylistically traditional made natural wine – the 2020 Souvignier gris Amphora from the organic wine estate Frühwirth, Lower Austria.

Top ratings of 98 points in the category of dessert wine went to the 2020 THEIA – a PIWI blend of Helios, Bronner and Solaris traditionally made in the barrique at organic wine estate Nove Lune from the Italian region of Lombardy, as well as the steel tank fermented 2020 Heppenheimer Stemmler Souvignier Gris icewine from the Bergstrasse Winzer eG located in the German Hesse region of Bergstrasse.

In the category of red wine, the place on the podium was shared between 2018 Cabertin fermented in a wooden barrel and barrique at Thuringian vineyard Bad Sulza from the German region of Saale-Unstrut and the 2019 Regent dry made in a steel tank and wooden barrel at wine-growing estate Schweigler located in Markgräflerland Baden. Both winners earned 97 points.

Best sparkling wine, likewise, 97 points, was the 2018 DONS Cuvée Brut von Skærsøgaard Vin from the Danish Jütland. A cuvée of Orion, Solaris, Cabernet Cortis and Zalas Pearl was reductively produced in the steel tank with the traditional bottle fermentation.

Further Top Ratings

Further Top Gold Awards went to Poland. The sweet 2020 Solaris Late Harvest reductively made in a steel tank at Winnica Janton from the Polish region of Lodz and the 2020 star from the Winnica Turnau – a steel tank made Seyval Blanc, earned 96 points.

Also, Bulgaria took a leading position in competition by earning Top Gold with 96 points in the category white wine with 2020 reductively made in a steel tank VINEYARD SELECTION Muscaris at the Haralambievi Family Vineyards and Winery from the Bulgarian Danube plain.

The best rosé came from Switzerland. The 2019 Divico Rosé from Florian Ramu based at Lake Geneva was made stylistically modern in a steel tank and earned 95 points.

PIWIs, Craftmanship And The New Category Of „Natural Wine“

Evident through the pure PIWI quality assessment, this year, the climate crisis and how to handle this challenge in the vineyard and cellar were the key topics of the tasting. While PIWIs need significantly less plant protection management during the wet years like 2021 was, hot and dry years, like 2020, bring some other sensory qualities that are generally not very welcome in modern stylistics. Whether applying the technically feasible measures to maintain the accustomed styles or rather the introduction of new wine types with craftmanship perfection is the right path to follow, the results of these decisions thrill the jury again and again.

One of the exceedingly exciting roles plays the natural wine. Recently, WINE SYSTEM has created a separate category for the type that is easy to filter at Online-Ranking. The requirement to qualify for this category is the EU Organic Certificate based upon the principle „nothing in and nothing out“, which primarily means the waiver of SO2 injection.

Head of tasting and board member of WINE SYSTEM Brigitte Wüstinger says about PIWI and natural wine:“Particularly in case of PIWIs which are not that much defined by the varietal taste profiles like, for instance, Riesling, we find again and again that it’s paying off to remain stylistically open and to work with what the nature gives us in the particular year. Natural wines from the current ranking provide perfect proof. Among fourteen submitted products that comply with our definition of this term, a remarkable number of 4 could win Top Gold.“ Head of tasting and board member Martin Darting continues: „If we, as the jury, after 11 years have to conclude, this would be the following – keeping in mind the climatical changes to await in the following decades, everything speaks in favour of the combination of PIWI and organic winegrowing. There are only a few reasons or none that are against it.The 2021 tasting has again impressively proved that the combination with fine craft produces masterpieces.“

Supplementary Information

*) During the tasting of the International PIWI Wine Award 2021, a small part of the jury operated with a physical presence in compliance with all hygienic and safety regulations. The majority of the tasting crew worked virtually. The submitted wines were classified in the climatic, stylistic and analytic parameters. The wines were anonymised and numbered before being unpacked and presented to the jury of PAR® Certified Masters in the determined order. In compliance with the PAR® method, the auditors operate in a crew of two. At the first step, each wine is tasted separately. A discussion follows this process. Once a consensus is reached, the results are thoroughly documented.

Background Information

WINE SYSTEM – Trust your Senses with its activity area in consulting, training and PAR® high-quality contests is a capable partner for winegrowers, retail and expert audience in the fields of wine and sensors since 1999. WINE System AG operates under the leadership of both board members Brigitte Wüstinger and Martin Darting since 2019. Since many years, the company organisers well-known high-quality contests, for instance, ORGANIC WINE AWARD INTERNATIONAL, WINE AWARD INTERNATIONAL, PiGUNDY WINE AWARD INTERNATIONAL, International PIWI Wine Award, as well as other smaller events. The database that contains more than 40.000 listed wines became a global information tool highly appreciated among experts.

PIWI International Association promotes the information exchange between research organizations, growers, refiners of PIWI grape varieties and wine producers. Many fungus-resistant grape varieties have been put into practice during the last years, some of them on a trial base. There is a big information demand about this type of grape, namely detailed feature characterization, manual for the best possible winemaking, degustations, marketing exchange and how to better inform final consumers. Besides arranging of congresses and study groups, the initiation of the International PIWI Wine Award is an essential part of the PIWI activities. President: Alexander Morandell.

Assessment with PAR®: Thanks to the transparency of the internationally recognized sensory testing system PAR, each submitted organic wine receives replicable and objective documentation of its sensory and oenological characteristics, respectively its authenticity, origin, and style. The PAR® training enables the qualified jury consisting of „PAR® Certified Masters“, for the most part, oenologists, sommeliers verified by the CCI and appropriately qualified wine experts to assess each wine neutrally, excluding personal preferences or preconceived opinions regarding “good taste.” In contemporary oenology, new international styles, likewise the traditionally made wines, experience appreciation and acceptance. The reproducible and differentiated methodology underlying the tasting provides the added value brought by this contest to the participants, far exceeding the pure marketing benefits. The detailed PAR® evaluation sheet is a proof instrument for quality management of wine-growing production.


WINE System AG
Brigitte Wüstinger
and Martin Darting
Daxa 8
83112 Frasdorf
Tel. +49 8032-91633-20
Fax +49 8032-91633-49

Press contact

WINE System AG
Sonja Hartung
Daxa 8
83112 Frasdorf
Tel. +49 8032-91633-20
Fax +49 8032-91633-49