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New judging panel for Decanter World Wine Awards 2017

Entries are now open for the Decanter World Wine Awards 2017 and there is a new judging panel in place. Read about the changes to the chairmanship of DWWA and see the new Regional Chairs below.

Decanter is delighted to announce the chairmanship of the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) 2017 will be shared between Sarah Jane Evans MW, Michael Hill Smith MW and Gerard Basset OBE MS MW.

The three will take on their new roles as Chairs of the competition to oversee and lead all Regional Chairs and judges to blind taste wine entries received during judging week.

There are also new Regional Chair appointments for the 2017 competition:

  • Huon Hooke – Australia joint Regional Chair alongside Anthony Rose
  • Justin Howard-Sneyd MW – Languedoc-Roussillon joint Regional Chair alongside Bernard Burtschy
  • Michael Garner – Regional Italy joint Regional Chair alongside Jane Hunt MW
  • Ferran Centelles – Spain joint Regional Chair alongside Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW
  • Markus Del Monego MW – Germany Regional Chair
  • Fiona McDonald – South Africa Regional Chair
  • Andy Howard MW – Southern Italy Regional Chair

Steven Spurrier, Decanter consultant editor and Chairman of the DWWA since its launch in 2004, will become Chairman Emeritus and aid the Chairs in an advisory capacity.

Spurrier has played a key role in the past 13 years and have seen the DWWA grow to become the largest and most influential wine competition in the world. The 2016 competition saw a total of over 16,000 wines entered from all over the world.


Sarah Kemp, Decanter’s managing director, said, ‘We are privileged to have such an excellent panel of tasters join us for DWWA 2017 and Steven Spurrier continue to hugely support the competition as Chairman Emeritus.

‘I look forward to receiving all of them at judging week and another great year of results for producers around the world.’

DWWA 2017 opened for entries on 1 December 2016 at £126 + VAT per wine.

Judging Week – 24-28 April, 2017

The world’s most respected international wine experts gather together in London to taste all wines entered into the competition.

Over 240 judges joined in 2016, including 26 Master Sommeliers and 69 Masters of Wine. Only the very best palates in the world are invited to judge at the DWWA.

How wines are tasted

A new enhancement on the judging process was introduced in 2016, where Decanter has given every single wine tasted an individual score in a 100-point system.

DWWA medals, judging

There is upmost respect for each wine, as each is grouped into categories and blind tasted.

Each wine is judged individually and notes are compared to collectively agree on a medal (Bronze, Silver, or Gold), Seal of Approval (Commended) or no medal.

Each Silver and Gold wine is then re-tasted by the Regional Chairs to ensure consistency across the panel.

Wines awarded a Gold medal go on to be re-tasted to compete for the Platinum Best in Category medal and all Platinum medal winners are tasted afterwards for a fourth time to select Platinum Best in Show winners – the highest accolade in the DWWA.

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