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D’Agata, Gilby and Ahmed appointed panel chairs as DWWA strengthens ranks

The Decanter World Wine Awards has unveiled a number of new high profile judges for the 2011 competition, including the appointment of Ian D'Agata as regional chair for the Piedmont and Southern Italy judging categories.

Award-winning journalist D’Agata, who has worked in wine for more than 25 years, is the author of The Ecco Guide to the Best Wines of Italy and co-author of the annual D’Agata and Camparini Italy’s Best Wines guide.

‘Decanter prides itself on recruiting world experts, and Ian’s knowledge of Italy is second to none,’ said Decanter publishing director Sarah Kemp.

‘With his acute judgement and incisive knowledge of Italy’s vineyards he is a great addition to the roster of world-class judges.’

D’Agata described his appointment as ‘an honour’, adding: ‘I also think this will help Decanter, as having an Italian top judge will help to recognise the subtler qualities of some idiosyncratic, peculiar Italian varieties and wines that may not always be fully understood.’

As a result of Italy’s recent success in the DWWA, in 2011 the country will be split into regional categories for the first time.

The new regions are Piedmont, Southern Italy (chaired by D’Agata,) Veneto (chaired by Richard Baudains), Tuscany (chaired by Jane Hunt MW), and Regional Italy (chaired by Rosemary George MW).

Further judging changes include the appointment of experienced independent consultant and freelance wine writer Dr Caroline Gilby MW as regional chair for Hungary.

In the Portuguese category, Richard Mayson remains as regional chair for Port and Madeira, while freelance wine writer, blogger and wine educator Sarah Ahmed – also known as The Wine Detective – takes up the new role of regional chair for Portugal table wine.

Since its launch in 2004, the DWWA has grown to become the world’s biggest international wine competition, with nearly 11,000 entries in 2010.

Entries are currently open for the 2011 competition, and will close on 1 March 2011.

Written by Decanter staff

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