Entries have opened for the 2015 Decanter World Wine Awards, with thousands of wines set to compete for medals before a star-studded array of judges, including Masters of Wine, sommeliers and other leading critics.

The 2015 Decanter World Wine Awards 2015 is open for entries

Wineries can enter the Decanter World Wine Awards 2015 (DWWA) online via the DWWA website or by post.

More than 200 judges are set to take part and Decanter has announced that Markus Del Monego MW (pictured) has joined the team for 2015, as Regional Chair for South East Mediterranean. Del Monego is a former winner of Best Sommelier in the World, and became a Master of Wine in 2003.

Decanter consultant editor Steven Spurrier and Gerard Basset OBE, both a Master of Wine and Master Sommelier, will again be chair and guest vice-chair of the awards respectively.

Many Regional Chairs will return for DWWA 2015, including Jasper Morris MW for Burgundy, Richard Juhlin for Champagne and both Michael Hill Smith MW and Anthony Rose for Australia.

French and South African winemakers will be keen to repeat their success at DWWA 2014, which saw them scoop a combined 12 of the 33 coveted International Trophies – the top prizes in the competition.

But, rivalry across the different categories has been intense in the past and DWWA 2015 is expected to be no different.

Around 15,000 wines were entered for DWWA 2014, with a total 10,455 medals awarded. That included 125 Regional Trophies and 454 Gold medals, alongside the 33 International Trophies.

Once wines are entered, they must be sorted into categories based on provenance and style in order for them to be judged fairly against their peers. All wines are blind tasted by expert panels of judges, under the guidance of Regional Chairs.

The best wines of a specific style and from a particular country will be put forward as contenders for a Regional Trophy. The winners will then go on to compete for an International Trophy.

Results often throw up surprises and lay down markers. Last year, judges awarded a first International Trophy to Canadian Icewine, Inniskillin’s 2012 Vidal, while a L’Ecole No.41 winery’s Ferguson 2011 from Washington State wine beat ‘Old World’ rivals to claim the International Trophy for Best Bordeaux Blend Over £15.

The deadline for sending entries is 2 March.

Written by Decanter.com staff