Marks & Spencer was crowned Supermarket of the Year for the third year running at the International Wine Challenge awards last week, the judges applauding its ability to source wines from "unfamiliar places".

The retailer's "quirky and unusual" wines and the trouble it took to locate them put it ahead of the competition, IWC co-chairman Charles Metcalfe told The Grocer.

"Marks & Spencer did very well in the challenge with the wines it entered," said Metcalfe. "It doesn't have the biggest range among the supermarkets, but its wines are terribly well chosen. It takes the trouble to visit unfamiliar places for different wine styles."

Judging criteria did not include sales figures, but did consider a retailer's relationship with its suppliers, he added.

Category manager for wine at M&S Andrew Bird said winning the top award for the third consecutive year was testament to the quality of its wine list. "Credit for this must go to the whole wine team, including M&S Direct Online, which is continually sourcing and blending new wines exclusively for M&S."

Other winners included Tesco, which scooped Wine Club of the Year and was commended for its "clever" use of customer data, its wine club fairs that tour the country and the volume of wine sold.

Nick Juby, Tesco's wine club manager, said winning for the second year running was "a terrific achievement, which recognises the enthusiasm for wine which we share with over 500,000 members".

"The judges pointed in particular to the popularity and reach of the Tesco Wine Club Fairs, a unique ­opportunity for our ­members to find out more about wine."

Meanwhile, Majestic Wine was applauded for cementing its position as the best high street chain by dropping minimum purchase from 12 to six bottles and improving its fine wine offering through the purchase of wine merchant Lay & Wheeler in 2009.

Majestic Wines was awarded High Street Chain of the Year. Sainsbury's took the trophy for Environmental Initiative.