Croatia, Switzerland, Brazil, Bolivia, China, Czech Republic and Turkey. These are not normally the first countries you might think of when looking for wine. Yet all pulled off surprise wins at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards.

There were high-level wins throughout this year’s DWWA for smaller wine producing countries, emphasising the wine world’s growing strength in depth.

Surprise winners of the top platinum – best in show medals include a red wine from Croatia and a white from Switzerland:


Platinum – Best in Show: Best White Blend over £15

95/100 – Diego Mathier Réserve, Nouveau Salquenen Ag, Adrian & Diego Mathier 2014, Valais, Switzerland

60% Savagnin, 30% Marsanne, 10% Petite Arvine

Platinum – Best in Show: Best Red Single-Varietal over £15

95/100 – Veralda 2015, Istria, Croatia

100% Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso


Brazil, which hosts the Rio 2016 Olympics this summer, also performed strongly in the DWWA 2016 medals table, taking one gold and two platinum medals in the over £15 categories.

Staying in South America, a Bolivian Tannat Malbec blend picked up a surprise platinum medal beating off stiff competition from better known rivals Chile and Argentina.

Sweet Surprise

The sweet wine category perhaps showed the most diversification of new and surprising areas with platinum awards going to a Croatian sweet wine, a Vidal based Ice Wine from China and a Riesling based Ice Wine from the Czech Republic. Czech Riesling is showing promise for dry wines too with Zamecké Vinarstvi Bzenec’s 2011 Riesling collecting a platinum award.

Nero d’Avola, best known for creating Sicily’s top red reds, was the grape used to create Turkey’s platinum winning entry this year while Grace winery in Japan secured two platinums.

Just 130 platinum medals were awarded in total; one level below ‘best in show’ and equivalent to the regional trophy medal in previous DWWA competitions.

The 2016 DWWA acknowledged and celebrated that the wine map is always expanding, changing and improving. This ever evolving landscape is just one of the many things that makes the current wine wine scene so exciting and vibrant.

See all DWWA 2016 Results here