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How the judging and medals work
Want to know how the judging and medal system works for the Decanter World Wine Awards? See our guide below.
Producers are invited to submit their wines and provide us with the wine’s technical details, price and retail availability. Four bottles of each wine arrive at the Decanter warehouse and are logged, categorised and coded according to country and region.
Organising wines for DWWA judging week
Wines are organised for tasting by country, region, colour, grape, style, vintage and price. This ensures that wines are judged in flights against their peers. The price brackets are:
- Price band A – Entry Level: up to £9.99
- Price band B – Mid-Range (Lower): £10 to £14.99
- Price band C – Mid-Range (upper): £15 to £19.99
- Price band D – Premium: £20 to £29.99
- Price band E – Super Premium: £30 to £49.99
- Price band F – Boutique/Icon: £50+
DWWA has judges from around the world, including Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers, and many of them are the foremost experts in their field. Judging is organised into categories, initially based on region. For example, Champagne will be judged by a panel of Champagne experts.
The judges taste wines individually. They know the region, style and price bracket, but they don’t know who produced the wine or the brand name. They then compare notes on the wine and reach a consensus on each wine’s medal.
Medal categories correspond to the 100-point scoring system used by Decanter and many top wine critics around the world.
Wines are judged on their own individual merits. That means it is entirely possible for several wines to receive a Seal of Approval or to be awarded a Bronze, Silver or Gold medal in one session. Similarly, another session may yield fewer medals.
Gold medal-winning wines are re-categorised by grape or style and re-tasted by a panel consisting of Regional Chairs and Co-Chairs. The wines will be judged according to their origin and the judges will be aware of countries, regions, sub-regions, grapes, vintage and price bands.
There would be no limit to the number of Gold winners which could be promoted to Platinum. Within each grape variety or style, more than one wine from a specific country or region can be promoted to Platinum. The winners will be awarded ‘Platinum’ medals and wines with a price band below £15 will be awarded the ‘Best Value Platinum’ medals.
Best in Show
The Best in Show is the ultimate accolade at the Decanter World Wine Awards. In a separate tasting, the 3 Co-Chairs will select the ‘Best in Show’ from the Platinum winners. When selecting the ultimate accolade, the 3 Co-Chairs will be aware of the origins, grapes, vintage and price bands.