Steven Spurrier founded the prestigious London-based world wine awards in 2004.

Decanter World Wine Awards dp

Since then, the competition has grown in popularity and has become the largest wine competition in the world. In fact, the Decanter awards receive over 15,000 entries each year from various wine producers worldwide.

One of the most renowned wine magazines in the world, The British Decanter Magazine hosts the world wine awards every year. Each year, the Decanter awards bring together over 200 wine experts from all over the world to judge the wines. Notably, Steven Spurrier chairs the group of judges which includes 66 masters of wine and master sommeliers.

Examples of renowned judges at the Decanter World Wines Awards include Paz Levinson and Stephen Brook. Paz is the Cheffe Sommelière Exécutif at MAISON Pic, at the awards she was the Regional Chair for Argentina & South America. Stephen Brook is the author of The Wines of California and The Complete Bordeaux. During the 2018 Decanter awards, he was the Regional Chair for Piedmont.

Decanter World Wine Awards

Judging & Awarding

A preliminary rating takes place before the official wine tasting and judging happens. The rating involves logging, categorizing and coding each of the wine entries based on; country, region, grape, color, vintage, style, and price. Categorizing ensures judges appraise the wine in flights against their peers.

Although it’s a blind tasting competition, judges know beforehand the region, style and price bracket of the wine. However, they are not aware of the producer, wine name or wine brand. The tasting led by a category by a category specialist happens in categories beginning with the region or area of origin. For example, a Champagne specialist will lead a panel of Champagne experts judging Champagne. Once the judges taste the wines, they compare their notes and reach a consensus on each wine’s medal. In case the judges disagree, the regional chairs re-taste the wine and issue a way forward.

All wine produced for commercial use is eligible to enter the international wine competition, except fruit-flavored wine. The international wine award uses two rating systems, to ensure that everybody reviewing the results of the competition understands them.

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It is fresh and has an intense and vibrant, fruity aroma. The palate has hints of dry fruit, wood and citrus flavors.

Therefore, judges use the 20 and 100 point scoring system with the following rubric;

  • 5–20 or 95-100 points (Decanter Gold Medal). Excellent wine of great complexity and character.
  • 17-18.4 or 90-94 points  (Decanter Silver Medal) – An accomplished wine with impressive complexity
  • 5-16.9 or 86-89 points (Decanter Bronze Medal) – A well made straightforward & enjoyable wine.
  • 5-15.4 or83-85 points (Decanter Commended/Seal of Approval) – Wine the judges consider acceptable & simple. These wines are recommendable due to their unique character or high potential. However, they don’t receive a particular award.

The recently concluded 2018 international wine awards competition received 16,903 wine entries. Of this, 50 won the Best in Show medals, 149 won the Platinum medals. And, 439 won the Gold medals while 3,454 won the silver medal. The wines that won the Best in the show, medals include;

Annie’s Lane Copper Trail Clare Valley Shiraz 2016

The fruity wine has a dark ruby-purple, dark color with aromas of blackcurrants, dark plums, and coffee. On the palate, it is sumptuous with hints of chocolate and toasty oak. The finish is long with velvety tannins and spices, a delicious wine to have with venison.

Artemis Karamolegos Assyrtiko 2016

A beautiful bone-dry white wine with a pale green-gold color and a citrus and raisin aroma. On the palate, it’s balanced with notes of peaches, anise and ripe melon. The finish has a hint of acidity, which makes this wine an excellent accompaniment for Risotto, white cheeses and seafood.

1968 Blandy’s Sercial Vintage, Madeira.

This wine has a pale walnut with green glints color. It is fresh and has an intense and vibrant, fruity aroma. The palate has hints of dry fruit, wood and citrus flavors. The wine has a long finish, which makes it a perfect after-dinner drink or an accompaniment to cheeses.

Wineries that enter their wine in the competition enjoy the following benefits;

An increase in sales. As a result of the worldwide endorsement and promotions of the winning wines by Decanter World Wine Awards team.
The competition is the first step to finding a distributor and sign up for an exclusive wine tasting. Therefore, the competition is an excellent entryway to break into the UK market, for wineries that have never exported to the UK.

Wineries get to test their wine against the competition. Thus Decanter World Wine Awards are a learning experience for winemakers.
Enhanced wine brand perception and increased sales, since the most influential people in the wine world, judged the wine. Thus, boosting the customer’s confidence and knowledge of the wine.