In just 20 years, Decanter World Wine Awards has grown to become a driving force in the world of wine.
Assuredly the world’s largest wine competition, Decanter World Wine Awards once again broke records this year for the most wine entries to date with 18,250 wines evaluated from 57 countries.
But it’s not just about size – the competition’s collegiate three-stage judging process is recognised by leading wine experts internationally for its credibility, with many taking part in the judging process firsthand.
Quick links to DWWA 2023 results
- Search all Best in Show medals
- Search all Platinum medals
- Search all Gold medals
- Search all Silver medals
- Search all Bronze medals
The 2023 competition saw an influential troupe of 236 wine experts, including 53 Masters of Wine and 16 Master Sommeliers, come together from 30 nations. With over 100 overseas judges and talented regional specialists focused on what’s in the glass, DWWA results offer consumers and trade a trustworthy guide to the dynamic world of wine.
Key results stats:
The 20th edition of Decanter World Wine Awards saw 18,250 wines judged from 57 countries with the following results: 50 Best in Show, 125 Platinum, 705 Gold, 5,604 Silver and 8,165 Bronze medals.
‘The world is waiting, producers are waiting, consumers are waiting, retailers are waiting; they want to see where these medals are going to be – and every year we get surprises,’ said co-chair Sarah Jane Evans MW.
From emerging regions, grape varieties and styles, to the unwavering – or wavering – quality of classic wine regions and producers, results for DWWA 2023 are in.
Scroll down to read our snapshot of this year’s wine developments.
Results insights from the world’s leading wine competition
The big win
For the first time ever, Australia topped the charts with a record 10 Best in Show medals, representing a fifth of all wines awarded this top accolade internationally.
Western Australia’s Margaret River, one of the most geographically isolated wine regions in the world, claimed three spots in the competition’s Top 50 selection for:
- Domaine Naturaliste, Rebus Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
- Evans & Tate, Redbrook Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
- House of Cards, Ace of Spades Chardonnay 2022
Margaret River saw continued success in the competition’s Platinum category, awarded three of the state’s four. The fourth – a first-ever Platinum and 97 points to lesser-known wine region of merit, Frankland River, for Amelia Park, Reserve Shiraz 2021.
From region to state, superlative success was bestowed upon the wines of South Australia. Not only was it South Australia’s best performance to date, but one of the best across the entire competition. Holding 35 medals in the competition’s top three tiers, South Australia was awarded 25 Gold, five Platinum and a record five Best in Show, representing half of Australia’s medals in the Top 50 list.
Elsewhere, Tasmania reinforced its reputation as a cool-climate region to know, Hunter Valley Sémillon and Shiraz excelled and Victoria’s regional diversity shone bright with Beechworth, Macedon Ranges, Pyrenees and the Grampians rubbing shoulders with Yarra Valley and Rutherglen in the top charts.
Co-chair and Australian native Michael Hill Smith MW commented, ‘Decanter World Wine Awards has evolved through time, but it’s still kept to its core principle of regions being judged by regional specialists. For me, the entry numbers are less important. What’s important for me is the credibility of the judging, the credibility of the results.’
Europe’s power trio
France and Spain were awarded eight Best in Show medals each, followed by Italy with seven. But in the Platinum category, Italy excelled with 28 wines awarded 97 points – France followed closely behind with 26 and Spain 20.
Of these major producer nations, DWWA 2023 was a year for exemplary classics and rising regions to shine together.
In Spain, the Northwest firmly put itself on the map with results which solidify its standing amongst the best wines in the world. From Rías Baixas, Bierzo and Ribeiro, a record three Best in Show medals were awarded to Spain’s Northwest, including:
- Bodegas Y Viñedos Merayo, Las Tres Filas Mencía, Bierzo 2020
- Mar de Frades, Finca Monteveiga Albariño, Rías Baixas 2018
- Ramón Do Casar, Treixadura, Ribeiro, Spain 2022
On Spain’s performance, Sarah Jane Evans MW said: ‘Spain, I think, is the most exciting wine-producing country in Europe,’ citing Alicante, Galicia and the Mediterranean coast as among the country’s vinous hotspots – in addition to Rioja, which continues to go from strength to strength at DWWA.
This year, Rioja alone collected 33 medals in the competition’s top three award categories, including 23 Gold, seven Platinum and two Best in Show:
- Ramón Bilbao, Lalomba Finca Ladero 2018
- Bodegas Ysios, Finca Lagunazuri 2018
The Catalonian sparkling wine scene is in full ferment at present, and results point to this exciting quality shift with Penedès sparkling securing a spot in the competition’s Top 50 for a second year running; this year for Albet I Noya, El Corral Cremat Brut 2012. ‘Here’s the perfect bottle to introduce those in the fine-wine community to the potential of Catalunya’s fine sparkling wines,’ said judges.
Of Spain’s 88 Platinum medals, Jumilla experienced its first for Bodegas BSI, Gémina Finca El Volcán 2018, a wine produced with 100% Monastrell.
Rounding out Spain’s results highlights, Sherry excelled with outstanding cross-category expressions winning the judges over from Finos to Olorosos. Fortifieds saw two Best in Show, four Platinum and 13 Gold medals awarded – only two of these non-Sherry wines for a PX from Montilla-Morilles and Grenache from Priorat.
France’s Best in Show winners featured Bordeaux reds, Vintage and Non-Vintage Champagnes, Provence rosé, Languedoc-Roussillon red and Alsace Riesling.
Languedoc-Roussillon put on an impressive turn of speed with 36 more medals than last year, including five Platinum and 15 Gold medals. It’s Best in Show marks the region’s fifth ever, and only the second for sub-region Pic Saint Loup, awarded to Domaine Clavel, Des Clous 2020. Of its Golds, two were awarded to orange wines out of just six globally for this trending style.
‘France has had an excellent year’ said co-chair Andrew Jefford. ‘Particular regional strengths came from the Loire, with a record-breaking 24 Golds – more than double last year’s total; and from Bordeaux, where a great run of recent vintages helped propel the region to 25 Golds, two Platinum, plus two of our Best in Show wines, too.’
- Château De Rochemorin, Pessac-Léognan 2020
- Château Fayat, Pomerol 2020
Awarded a praiseworthy 155 Gold medals, France has broken records for the best Gold performance across the competition’s 20 years, a record last held by Italy with 146 Golds awarded at DWWA 2021.
New to the Gold category, Corsica added to this record achievement with a Value Gold (under £15 a bottle) at that, for Les Vignerons D’Aghione, Casanova Costa D’Oru, l’île de Beauté 2022; a rosé produced with some of Corsica’s most representative varieties including Nielluccio and Sciacarello.
To complete the influential trifecta, Italy’s regional diversity shone through at DWWA 2023, with benchmark examples of signature styles sitting alongside some exciting Italian wines offering something different.
Two Barolo wines won Best in Show medals for Italy, yet so did Tuscan Cabernet Franc and also Sicily’s Mecori, Duo, Etna 2021, blending Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio.
Tuscany topped the charts with three Best in Show, six Platinum and 21 Gold medals, representing Italy’s best regional performance, and one of the best regional performances across the entire competition.
Small but mighty, Alto Adige saw its second best performance ever in this 97-point category for its top-quality white wines. Impressively, its six Platinum medals outcompete those from Italy’s better-known Northern regions including Piedmont and Veneto.
To the Northeast, some of Friuli-Venezia Giulia’s native and traditional varieties have been epitomised by Colli Orientali producers, awarded both of the region’s Platinum medals for a Pinot Bianco-Friulano blend and red Schioppettino, plus four of the region’s six Golds:
- Colutta, Pinot Grigio 2022
- Specogna, Malvasia Riserva 2017
- Torre Rosazza, Ronco Delle Magnolie Bianco 2020
- Vigna Traverso, Sauvignon Blanc 2022
Stars of the South, Campania was awarded two Platinum medals, one of these a first to the heroic viticultural coast of Costa d’Amalfi for Marisa Cuomo, Fiorduva 2021. While Sicily, holding the sole Best in Show of the South, saw a further Platinum and three Golds awarded.
New world favourites
‘Things come, things go, fashions turn but, year after year, Stellenbosch quietly gets on with producing some of the Southern Hemisphere’s most assured Cabernet Sauvignon,’ said judges of South Africa’s Best in Show win for Le Riche Wines, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2020.
Stellenbosch and Elgin, a high-sited, mountain-fringed zone in the Cape’s deep, ocean-cooled south, set the agenda for South Africa’s strong DWWA performance this year with Iona, Highlands Chardonnay 2021 from Elgin awarded South Africa’s second Best in Show.
Elgin was awarded a further Platinum and its best ever Gold performance, while Stellenbosch also received one Platinum and 11 Golds.
Nearby in Cape Town, Durbanville experienced its first rise to the Platinum charts for Diemersdal Wine Estate, The Journal Sauvignon Blanc 2022, and of the nation’s 30 Golds, Breedkloof was awarded its second-ever Gold (last awarded in 2016) to Quest Wines, Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2022.
To more Southern Hemisphere highlights, Argentina matched its best-ever Gold performance from last year with 24 wines awarded. Andrew Jefford commented: ‘I looked at the great spread of Argentinean wines as part of our Gold medal selection process, and that was pretty exciting.’
Argentina’s success continued through second and third rounds of judging, going on to achieve four Platinum and two Best in Show medals – Malbec reigning supreme.
The nation is not just about Malbec, though, as proved by Argentina’s Top Value Gold, produced from 100% Cabernet Franc for Bodega Zuccardi, Brazos De Los Andes Cabernet Franc, Uco Valley, Mendoza 2022.
One of 10 wines in the competition’s new Top 10 Value list, judges re-tasted all 101 Value Golds (Gold medal-winning wines priced under £15) to determine the 10 best.
In Chile, fine wines are emerging from relatively new wine sub-regions. Colchagua received its first-ever Best in Show with Casa Silva, Gran Terroir Carménère 2022 from the Los Lingues sub-region, while Malleco Valley was awarded its first-ever Platinum for Viña Morandé, Black Series Pinot Noir 2021.
To the new region in the ‘Old World’, 2023 marks the UK‘s fifth consecutive year to have UK sparkling featured in the competition’s coveted Best in Show selection for Kent’s Gusbourne, Blanc de Blancs 2018.
On this, Simon Field MW, regional chair for the UK, said: ‘The quality of the sparklers continues to impress as the category takes on maturity; as the wines and winemakers alike take on a little more age it becomes increasingly clear that the long-held faith in such things has most definitely not been informed by misguided patriotism.’
The nation saw a further Platinum and six Gold medals awarded almost exclusively to sparkling wines, but still wines, in both volume and quality, look to be on the rise.
New and improved
Portugal’s rise in quality has not gone unnoticed. Its overall medal count is up, but it’s its almost 50% increase in Golds awarded that is most notable.
‘This year’s DWWA marked a watershed moment’, said Sarah Ahmed, regional chair for Portugal: ‘The Portuguese white entries not only scooped their highest ever Gold medal tally but, for the first time, more whites than red – 11 versus 9 – were awarded top medals (Gold, Platinum and Best in Show),’ she continued.
‘It was a ‘wow’ moment, with over 40% of medals going to white wines. Especially when you consider that, when I first judged Portuguese wines at DWWA in the noughties, there were no light white wine entries whatsoever.’
In total, Portugal received three Best in Show, three Platinum and 40 Gold medals, with its fortified wines representing more than half of these including some top notch Madeiras, Ports and a lesser-known fortified, Moscatel Roxo de Setúbal.
To the US, California is often cited in the competition’s Top 50 selection, but this year Oregon took the forefront with the nation’s sole Best in Show win. Last awarded in 2020, Oregon’s Best in Show for Archery Summit Winery, Pinot Noir 2021 from Willamette Valley ‘is a fine example of the charm, balance and satisfaction that fine Dundee Hills Pinot can provide,’ said judges.
Of the US’s two Platinum medals, both were long-awaited too: a second-ever Platinum awarded for Washington State to Bledsoe Family Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley 2020, last awarded a decade ago, and a first Platinum to Sauvignon Blanc for Clos du Val, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California 2021.
More famously known for its herbaceous, racy Sauvignon Blancs, New Zealand’s top results have seen a shift away from wines produced with its most recognised variety to its outstanding Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.
There’s place for all in New Zealand’s top medal showing, but it’s Palliser Estate’s Hua Nui Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2021 from Martinborough which came out on top with a Best in Show win. This is alongside four Platinum medals (two Chardonnay and two Pinot Noir wines), plus 27 Golds – only nine of these to New Zealand’s namesake grape.
Breaking new ground
‘You look at other newer regions like the Balkans, from where we get terrifically good entries’ commented Jefford. ‘Increasingly we see real literacy of winemaking coming from it and similar regions, so that is very exciting to monitor’ he continued.
Serbia won its first ever Best in Show medal for Vinarija Vinčić’s Grašac 2020, a white wine from the Danudian hills of Fruška Gora. Judges said it was a ‘fine-dining, white-tablecloth’ example of wine made with the Grašac grape variety, also known as Laški Riesling, Welschriesling or Riesling Italico.
Elsewhere in the Balkans, Slovenia had its best-ever Gold and Silver performance with 12 Gold medals and 80 Silver, signifying an overall increase in quality. Up 44 medals from last year, Croatia’s results saw an improved Gold performance too, including a Gold to skin contact, orange wine: Nerica Vina’s Pošip 60 2020 from the Coastal sub-region Srednja i Južna Dalmacija.
With one Platinum and six Golds out of the country’s eight, Georgia’s Saperavi impressed across a range of styles, including a first-ever Gold for its rendition as a ruby-coloured sparkling wine for Badagoni, Maestro Saperavi, Kakheti 2021.
Hungary’s Furmint impressed too with all three of its Platinum medals awarded to one sweet and two dry styles based on the variety. Famed sweet Tokaji Aszú is not new to the competition’s top medal charts, nor the hearts of wine lovers from antiquity to date, but Furmint as a dry wine has seen a steady increase in interest globally, and a look at results suggests quality is on the rise too with Oremus’ Mandolás Tokaji Furmint 2020 and Tokaj-Hétszőlő’s Selection 2011 both awarded 97 points.
Ukraine had an impressive year winning 37 medals, up from 14 last year, including its first Platinum medal to a fortified wine from the Odessa region for Shabo, Limited Edition Muscat Ottonel 2016.
From China, 274 Chinese wines from 14 regions were awarded a medal, a 17% increase from last year, and following a continuous upward trend since 2020.
This year’s awards also saw a visible uplift in average quality; 63% of the wines entered from China received a Bronze medal or above, up from less than half (49%) five years ago.
This uplift is seen of Japan’s wines too, with matched results from last year’s Platinum and four Golds, plus a notable increase in Silver and Bronze medals. Chubu was this year’s best performing region, with all four of Japan’s Gold medal-winning wines coming from the Nagano Prefecture and Best in Show from Yamanashi for Suntory’s Tomi No Oka Koshu 2021.
Elsewhere, Israel has its best performance since 2020 with five Gold medals awarded to its top-quality reds alongside 34 Silver; and with medals up almost 50% from last year, Turkey also made the competition’s Gold medal chart for two Öküzgözü-Syrah red blends.
Hybrid hubbub and alternative packaging results
Vitis vinifera is King in the world of wine, but if there’s one thing DWWA results are telling of, it’s that the world of wine does not stand still. It’s early days, but with mindful practices in the vineyard and winemaking know-how, results show quality wines can be produced with hybrid varieties and can be packaged in non-traditional formats.
Canada is a cool climate region that knows a thing or two about the benefits of hybrid grape varieties, and for the first time a single varietal L’Acadie Blanc, a hybrid crossing of Cascade and Seyve-Villard, was awarded a Gold medal in its rendition as a sparkling wine for L’Acadie Vineyards, Prestige Brut 2017 from Gaspereau Valley in Nova Scotia. A noteworthy first-ever Gold for the region too.
Pennsylvania in the US received its first ever DWWA medal for Benigna’s Creek Traminette NV, awarded a Bronze, while in Missouri, Traminette again appeared in the 2023 medal chart with a Silver for Stone Hill Winery’s Cream Sherry NV.
DWWA judge Bree Stock MW highlighted exciting work with hybrid varieties, mentioning Vermont within a thriving US wine scene overall. Stock commented, ‘There’s just a lot to explore at the moment and I think it’s really being embraced in the traditional wine world, but also [by] the younger community as well, where wine is being produced as sort of a meta beverage and crossing a lot of different categories.’
For the first time, DWWA 2023 allowed entries of wines sold in alternative packaging, from cans to bag-in-box, reflecting this category’s rise and further emphasising the competition’s commitment to sustainability. A total 31 ‘alt packaging’ wines won medals, including four Silvers.
Co-chair Ronan Sayburn MS said of the results: “I think it’s the toughest wine competition to enter because the standards are very, very high. The medals have to be earned.”
Jefford concluded, ‘If the wine world could be said to have any sort of a benchmark or proving ground, a place where your wines can go to match up against those being made elsewhere [on all five continents], then it might just be Decanter World Wine Awards.’
With special thanks to our sponsor
Thank you to the Decanter World Wine Awards official sponsor Riedel for supplying glassware for the 2023 competition