To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Decanter World Wine Awards, we're profiling a number of this year's judges, who are some of the world's most renowned wine experts. Our 'Meet the Judges' interview series offers a rare insight into the world of wine and judging from the key industry experts choosing this year's best wines.
In our exclusive interview with Dawn Davies, one of this year’s Decanter World Wine Award judges, find out how she got into wine, which wines she’s drinking at the moment and her most memorable wine moments from the last ten years…
Tell us a little about yourself – where are you based and where do you work?
I work as the Wine and Spirits Buyer for Selfridges in London. Previously, I worked as a sommelier in several of London’s top restaurants.
Tell us a bit about your expertise and how you got into wine?
I am in the middle of doing my MW at the moment, but previously [I gained my expertise] mainly by working on the job and doing a lot of tasting. I fell into wine after leaving university and not really knowing what to do, I got a job in a restaurant and the rest is history.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while working in the wine industry?
Trust your judgement but always listen to what others think.
Who has been your biggest inspiration during your wine career?
There have been many people who have inspired me in the industry and also helped me on my journey. From winemakers to suppliers, and now colleagues, the support and friendship this industry offers is inspiring in itself.
What are your most memorable wine moments from the last ten years?
The Pinot Noir NZ 2013 conference – an amazing group of people and wines; the French Laundry tasting with a host of amazing food and wine, and sitting over-looking Champagne with great friends and a bottle of Cuvée Elizabeth 88 from Billecart-Salmon.
Which wine-producing areas do you think should be given more attention in 2013?
Spain and Portugal are doing some great things.
Which wines are you drinking at home at the moment?
A lot of red wine to keep out the cold.
What’s your desert island wine?
If it’s a hot island: a top quality German Riesling, or if it’s a cold one: a Barolo.
What single piece of advice do you have for new people just starting out in wine?
Ask as many questions as you can and trust your palate.
Finally, what are you looking forward to most about judging at the Decanter World Wine Awards?
Written by Decanter