Belá (Štúrovo, Slovakia), June 2019 – Danube Wine Challenge results and special awards announced

The 7th edition of the Danube Wine Challenge International Wine Competition was held on 5 and 6 June 2019 at Chateau Béla in Belá (Štúrovo). Fifty top tasters from twelve nations evaluated 380 wines registered by 89 producers (distributors) from 10 countries. An international jury presented 113 medals and 19 special awards. The organizers gave local producers the perfect opportunity to participate at this prestigious event – without having to send their wines abroad – because this time, experts from all over the world came to Slovakia to judge wines and discover our country as an attractive wine tourism destination.


World elite tasters evaluated wines in Slovakia

For this seventh edition, the organizers strengthened the Danube Wine Challenge (DWCH)’s international scope by applying for patronage of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), as well as admission to the World Federation of Major International Wine and Spirits competitions (VINOFED).

The tasting panel from the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Serbia, Mexico, the Czech Republic, as well as local experts (oenologists, winemakers, sommeliers, wine journalists, consultants and traders) contributed to the contest’s high professional level.

Two members were especially noteworthy. Elizabeth Gabay MW (Master of Wine), a Brit based in Provence (France), is an internationally-renowned expert on rosé wines with an interest in Central European wines. Fernando Gurucharri, is the President of the Spanish Tasters’ Union and organizer of the Bacchus Madrid international wine competition. At the DWCH, he represented OIV and VINOFED (being vice-president of the latter) as delegate–commissioner of both organizations.


International jury appraised high quality of wines at Danube Wine Challenge

In accordance with the Statutes of the DWCH and respecting the 30% OIV limit, 113 medals were awarded: 14 Double Gold, 70 Gold and 29 Silver.

Six of the ten Category Winner awards went to Slovakian wines – a very strong local performance. The final “Master tasting” jury, which comprised solely foreign tasters, selected champions in two categories – still dry wines and still red wines: Huxelrebe 2017 (Vinařství Josef Valihrach, Czech Republic) and Kékfrankos 2017 (Esterházy Etyeki Kúria, Hungary).

Additional special awards went to the following wines:

  • Danube Wine Trophy for the best-rated Grüner Veltliner/Veltlínske zelené – Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Kellerberg 2017 (Domäne Wachau, Austria),
  • Danube Wine Trophy for the best-rated Blaufränkisch/Kékfrankos/ Frankovka modrá – Kékfrankos 2017 (Esterházy Etyeki Kúria, Hungary),
  • Special Elizabeth GabayMW prize for the best rosé wine, according to the prize’s namesake – Cabernet Sauvignon rosé2018 (ViaJur, Slovakia),
  • The Best Wine Collection – Tokaj & Co (Slovakia),
  • The Best Wine of the Danube Wine Route & The Best Wine of the Nitra Region – Alibernet ľadové víno 2017 (HR Winery, Slovakia).


Comprehensive results are available at


A unique presentation about Slovakian rosé wines

Elizabeth Gabay MW’s special lecture and tutored tasting (master class) on Slovakian rosé wines was undoubtedly a highlight of the DWCH wine event. For the first time, such wines’ quality, characteristic features and typical style were analysed in detail at an international forum. Participants tasted 24 representative samples selected by the respected wine expert, and sought to answer the question: what are – or should be – typical Slovakian rosé wines? The consensus was clear: such wines shouldn’t seek to imitate the world; rather they should retain the diversity of styles and grape varieties, fresh acidity, bright fruit, delicacy, and above all originality. Rosé is the only still-wine category to enjoy continual international growth in terms of production and consumption. This reflects the good work and knowledge of winemakers, and represents relatively quick return on investment for producers.


The river and wine unite countries

The Danube Wine Challenge 2019 set a real challenge for the organizers: to boost Slovakia’s positive visibility through wine, which just like the Danube river, has brought nations and nationalities together since time immemorial…

The number of foreign and domestic participants demonstrated this competition’s international standing, and illustrated its potential to become a significant wine event of European importance.


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