See behind the scenes as dozens of top wine experts from across Asia, including professor Li Demei from China and award winning sommelier Shinya Tasaki, begin judging thousands of entries to this year's Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA).

Forty judges arrived at Hong Kong’s Cyberport on Tuesday 1 September to begin collectively blind tasting 2,600 wines entered into the Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015.

Some of Asia’s best palates are among the judges. China’s professor Li Demei, already a columnist for DecanterChina.com, is one of the new vice chairs at DAWA 2015, joining wine critic and writer Poh Tiong Ch’ng and Japan’s Shinya Tasaki, previously named the world’s best sommelier and now president of the international sommeliers’ association.

Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 vice chairs, Dawa 2015

The Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 vice chairs

Decanter’s publishing director, Sarah Kemp, welcomed the vice chairs to the fourth edition of DAWA. From right to left they are, Steven Spurrier, Poh Tiong Ch’ng, Andrew Jefford, Shinya Tasaki, Gerard Basset OBE MW MS, Li Demei and Michael Hill Smith MW.

Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015, Dawa 2015, judges

Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 judges

Judges listen to the opening addresses by Sarah Kemp and Steven Spurrier ahead of tasting. Spurrier, who is Decanter consultant editor and chair of the awards, said that it was important to be critical. ‘Gold medals are the best that a wine can be,’ he said, adding that golds would generally constitute 2% of an entire tasting set.

Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015, Steven Spurrier, Sarah Kemp

Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 chair Steven Spurrier speaks to judges

When it comes to deciding medals, Spurrier drew a parallel between the role of the vice chairs and that of Queen Victoria within the British political system of the 19th Century. ‘Parliament defined her role as having the right to advise, encourage and warn. This is similar to the role of the vice chairs at Dawa 2015,’ he told judges.

He emphasised that a whole panel must come to agreement before a wine is awarded a medal.

Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015, Dawa 2015, judging week

Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 wines are poured for judges

After the speeches, it was time to get down to business. A team of assistants are working throughout the week to check and pour wines for judges; a similar job to the one performed by Decanter’s ‘red shirts’ during the Decanter World Wine Awards.

Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015, Dawa 2015, Andrew Jefford

Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 vice chair Andrew Jefford

Some of you may have read Andrew Jefford’s take on the state of wine tasting notes this week. There should be plenty of chance for judges to sharpen their skills in Hong Kong’s Cyberport. Just in case, here is Jefford’s six step guide on how to write wine tasting notes that are useful.

Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015, Dawa 2015, Li Demei begins judging week

Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 vice chair Li Demei begins judging week in Hong Kong

Professor Li Demei, one of the leading authorities on Chinese wine and a columnist for DecanterChina.com, is attending DAWA 2015 as a vice chair for the first time. He is also an early frontrunner for the best dressed judge at this year’s competition.

DAWA 2015 judges Rajeshwarean Gopal, Gurjit Barry, and Fabien Duboueix.

DAWA 2015 judges Rajeshwarean Gopal, Gurjit Barry, and Fabien Duboueix

To celebrate a successful judging week for the Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015, with over 2,600 wine entries, our judges enjoyed an evening of celebration at Mamoz in Hong Kong.

A big thank you to our Champane sponsor Ruinart

A big thank you to our Champagne sponsor Ruinart

DAWA 2015 judges Hiroki Matsumoto, Hiroshi Ishida, vice-chair Shinya Tasaki, and Hayato Kojima Cwe

DAWA 2015 judges Hiroki Matsumoto, Hiroshi Ishida, vice-chair Shinya Tasaki, and Hayato Kojima Cwe

DAWA 2015 judges Dheeraj Bhatia, chair Steven Spurrier, and Stephane Soret

DAWA 2015 judges Dheeraj Bhatia, chair Steven Spurrier, and Stephane Soret enjoying a glass of Ruinart Champagne

Results for the Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 will be published on Decanter.com on 5 October 2015.