London-based Drinks International has just announced its annual list of the World’s Most Admired Wine Brands for 2023. 

This is the 13th edition of the 50-strong ranking, which remains the most authoritative list of respected wineries around the globe.

The annual list from Drinks International – the only magazine devoted exclusively to the global spirits, wines and beers market – is voted for by an academy of leading Masters of Wine, sommeliers, wine buyers, journalists and other industry experts from six continents. 

I am a member of the academy and look forward to casting my vote each year and checking the results when they are made public.

Five criteria

Each academy member must make three votes from the list of previous winners, or put forward their own suggestion if the name is not on the list. To measure “Most Admired”, we are asked to consider the following five points:

  • The wine is of consistent or improving quality.
  • It reflects its region or country of origin.
  • It responds to the needs and tastes of its target audience.
  • It is well-marketed and packaged.
  • It has a strong appeal to a wide demographic.

Drinks International editor Shay Waterworth said the "World’s Most Admired Wine Brands" is an elite club to be part of and, without doubt, an authority regarding the industry’s most revered brands. 

“Earning a place on this prestigious list is a serious achievement and I personally congratulate those in our Top 50 this year. An extra round of applause must go to Antinori for becoming the first Italian brand to top our list since its inception in 2011.

“However, what makes the list so respected is the geographical spread and independence of our academy, which we take pride in rotating to guarantee a true representation of the global trade.”

France dominates

Europe has remained the mecca of admired wine brands for 2023 with 32 places on the list, headed up once again by France, which represented more than a quarter of the overall ranking. 

Its neighbour Spain performed remarkably well to get eight brands on the list, one more than Italy. 

Penfolds, a previous winner, slipped back from second place last year but remains the clear leader among the four Australian wine producers that scored a place in the Top 50. 

Kiwis shine

New Zealand also performed well with four wineries in the list, led by the high-flying Felton Road, from Central Otago, in 19th place, the same as last year. 

Villa Maria scored a creditable 20th place and moved up six places from last year, which must surely be a vote of confidence after the winery was purchased by Indevin in 2021. 

Cloudy Bay ranked 26th, up 13 places from last year, which is good news for one of NZ's most iconic wine producers, particularly since it moved its sauvignon blanc to a proprietary bottle from the 2022 vintage. 

Craggy Range moved up one slot to 29th as the winery moves from strength to strength. 

Raised profile

Earning a place on the Most Admired Wine Brands 2023 raises the international profile of those honoured. 

I am very encouraged by the performance of NZ wine producers. When you are tucked away at the bottom of the world, you need to let your competitors know that you mean business.

Most Admired Wine Brands 2023

01. Antinori, Italy. 

02. Catena Zapata, Argentina. 

03. Penfolds, Australia. 

04. Familia Torres, Spain.

05. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, France.

06. Sassicaia, Italy.

07. Gaja, Italy.

08. Concho y Toro, Chile.

09. M. Chapoutier, France.

10. Ridge, US

11. Vega Sicilia, Spain.

12. Château d'Yquem, France.

13. Symington, Portugal.

14. Château Haut-Brion, France.

15. 19 Crimes, Australia/US.

16. La Rioja Alta, Spain.

17. Yellow Tail, Australia.

18. Gérard Bertrand, France.

19. Felton Road, New Zealand.

20. Villa Maria, New Zealand.

21. Tignanello, Italy.

22. Château Pétrus, France.

23. E Guigal, France.

24. Château Cheval Blanc, France.

25. Planeta, Italy.

26. Cloudy Bay, New Zealand.

27. Esporão, Portugal.

28. Château Lafite, France.

29. Craggy Range, New Zealand.

30. Henschke, Australia.

31. CVNE, Spain. 

32. Montes, Chile.

33. Ornellaia, Italy.

34. Frescobaldi, Italy.

35. Georges Duboeuf, France.

36. Barefoot, US.

37. Château Margaux, France.

38. KWV, South Africa.

39. Faustino, Spain.

40. Château Mouton Rothschild, France.

41. Château Latour, France.

42. Errázuriz, Chile.

43. Kanonkop, South Africa.

44. Bodegas Protos, Spain.

45. Nederburg, South Africa.

46. Marqués de Riscal, Spain.

47. Louis Latour, France.

48. Ramón Bilbao, Spain.

49. Bruce Jack, South Africa.

50. Royal Tokaji, Hungary.