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Decanter World Wine Awards 2021 judging begins

The 18th edition of the world's largest and most influential wine competition commences with a record number of wines...

Monday 14 June marked the start of Decanter World Wine Awards 2021 judging weeks, held for a second year at the Decanter offices in Canary Wharf, London.

Over the course of two weeks, almost 170 expert wine judges, including 44 Masters of Wine and 11 Master Sommeliers, are judging more than 18,000 wines from 56 countries, including a first-ever entry from Liechtenstein.

DWWA 2021 judging

Panels of judges tasting at the 2021 Decanter World Wine Awards

Similar to 2020 judging, safety measures are in place to ensure the safety of all judges and staff, but the judging process is as rigorous as ever.

On this, DWWA 2021 Co-Chair Andrew Jefford comments in the judges’ welcome video, ‘The joy and the distinction of DWWA is its collegiate search for excellence from you, our expert judges. That discussion should begin every time you come to a new category, as well as embrace your verdicts. Co-Chairs of course will be re-tasting all the Golds as usual, and are available for consultation.’ 

DWWA 2021 Co-Chairs Ronan Sayburn MS and Sarah Jane Evans MW

DWWA 2021 Co-Chairs Sarah Jane Evans MW and Ronan Sayburn MS

With travel restrictions still in place, Co-Chair Michael Hill Smith MW (based in Australia) has taken on a consultant role, and acting in his place, Ronan Sayburn MS has been appointed Acting Co-Chair, overseeing the competition alongside Andrew Jefford and Sarah Jane Evans MW.

Concluding the welcome video, Michael Hill Smith MW comments, ‘One of the great sadnesses about 2021 was the death of our friend and fellow taster Steven Spurrier. This competition was Steven’s idea, so in a way it’s a really important part of his legacy. He used to love coming here, he used to love tasting with you all. So during the weeks, if you find a really good wine on the table, have a silent toast, or a loud one, to our old mate Steven.’

DWWA 2021 judges watching welcome video

DWWA judges watch the welcome video on their first day judging


Read: Wine world legend Steven Spurrier, 1941-2021


Joining the Co-Chairs, the Decanter World Wine Awards judging panel includes almost 30 Regional Chairs and more than 135 judges. Some of this year’s new judges include:

  • Mags Janjo
  • Dominic Smith
  • Alastair Pyatt
  • Wieteke Teppema
  • Anja Breit
  • Freddie Cobb
  • Joe Aylmer

More than 18,000 wines will be judged at DWWA 2021

DWWA 2021 judging concludes on Wednesday 28 June with results announced on Decanter.com 7 July 2021.

With special thanks to our sponsor, Riedel, and drinks sponsors One Gin, Small Beer Co and Adnams


DWWA 2020: How the world’s largest wine competition was made possible during a pandemic

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