The first Decanter Asia Wine Awards have begun in Hong Kong, coinciding with the launch of Decanter's new Chinese-language website.
Judges from across Asia gathered in Hong Kong’s Cyberport this morning to begin a week of tasting, following an introduction to the judging process given by Decanter tasting director Christelle Guibert.
At the opening address, Decanter publishing director Sarah Kemp said that the key to the new competition’s success would lie in the rigorous selection of the judges invited to taste at it.
‘The Decanter Asia Wine Awards has gathered together the most influential wine professionals in Asia because this competition is not simply a replica of the Decanter World Wine Awards, but is instead an Asian competition for Asian consumers.
‘It’s a total thrill to see such distinguishing opinion formers and today is the start of a new chapter in Decanter’s history,’ she added.
The new competition – at which more than 2,000 wines will be judged – is co-chaired by Jeannie Cho Lee MW and Steven Spurrier, with vice-chairs Michael Hill-Smith AM MW, Andrew Jefford, Shinya Tasaki, Gerard Basset MS MW and Poh Tiong Ch’ng each leading panels of leading experts recruited from across Asia.
Kemp also announced the launch of the first phase of the new DecanterChina.com website, in Simplified Chinese and English.
The site features wine advice tailored for China’s emerging market, including daily wine tips, a translation glossary of key terms, multi-city events listings and news.
Future developments will see the introduction a host of new features including columnists, wine reports, vintage guides, wine recommendations, as well as travel guides, restaurant reviews and more.
The new site is also home to the Decanter Asia Wine Awards, and profiles each of the competition’s judges.
In May this year, the number of visitors from China to Decanter.com surpassed both the UK and US for the first time, and Chinese visitors now account for over a third of Decanter.com’s global readership.
Judging week runs until Thursday 20 September, and the full results of the Decanter Asia Wine Awards will be published on DecanterChina.com on 24 October 2012.
Award-winning wines will then be showcased to consumers at venues across Asia as part of the Decanter Asia Winners’ Tastings programme, in partnership with Enomatic.
Written by John Abbott in Hong Kong