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Photo highlights: DWWA 2024 judging week

'It's been an extraordinary week,' said Michael Hill Smith AM MW on the 21st edition of Decanter World Wine Awards. First round of judging complete, discover the week in pictures.

Between 6th to 11th May, London played host to the 21st edition of Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA), uniting 250 esteemed wine connoisseurs from 33 countries. Together, these experts meticulously evaluated over 18,000 wines from 57 countries, completing the first of DWWA’s three-stage judging process.

Commenting on the scale of the competition, Co-Chair Michael Hill Smith AM MW said, ‘Every time I do this, I look at the numbers and I think, how is it that we judge 18,000 wines, with so many judges, with so many moving pieces, and all the wines come at the same time.

‘It’s done in a really professional way. It’s extraordinary the way it works, and the fact that so many good wines come through this system is is terrific.’

On the judges involved, Co-Chair Sarah Jane Evans MW added, ‘Something really exciting that I always forget until I come back to judge at DWWA is, you are judging with the world’s experts. So, when you go as a Co-Chair and take part in discussion from one region or one country, there are people there who can talk to you about how the vintage has been, what was happening that year… all kinds of specialist details. Golly, that’s a very inspiring thing!’⁠

‘All the really hard work is done this week, which is sorting out everything which should be considered for Gold.’ said DWWA Co-Chair Ronan Sayburn MS.

‘We’re on path for what we usually get [in regards to number of Golds awarded] which is a good sign. It means people are still being as strict, or as generous, as possible, however you want to see that.’

Looking ahead to the next stages of the competition, Sayburn added, ‘Next week, we either keep things exactly as they are, so we say “This is a good Gold” and keep it as it is, or we think it’s maybe not deserving of Gold so it gets a second re-evaluation and gets pushed down to Silver. But, if it’s an exceptionally good Gold, then we push it up to Platinum, and then maybe a little bit further and it gets considered for the Best in Show.’

As we delve into the second and third rounds of judging, dive in below to relive captivating moments captured during the initial round of DWWA 2024 judging.