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How the judging and medals work
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+
The success of the Decanter World Wine Awards rests on its unique judging process and world-class judging panels. Wines are judged on a regional basis in carefully organised flights by country, region, colour, grape, style, vintage and price point. This ensures wines are judged in flights against their peers.
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. This means it is entirely possible for several wines to be awarded a Bronze, Silver or Gold medal in one flight. Similarly, another flight may yield fewer medals.
The Judging Process
Stage 1: Bronze, Silver & Gold medals
In the first round of judging, Regional Chairs oversee their respective panels, settle any score discrepancies, and re-taste all Silver and Gold winners for consistency. Co-Chairs then re-taste all Gold winners for final endorsement. Silver winners are therefore tasted twice and Gold winners three times. This rigorous process ensures that each wine is reviewed thoroughly.
Stage 2: Platinum
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 are judged according to their origin and the judges will be aware of countries, regions, sub-regions, grapes, vintage and price bands.
There is 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 ‘Value Platinum’ medals.
Stage 3: Best in Show
The Best in Show is the ultimate accolade at the Decanter World Wine Awards. In a separate tasting, the four Co-Chairs re-taste all the Platinum winners to select the ‘Best in Show’. When selecting the ultimate accolade, the Co-Chairs are aware of the origins, grapes, vintage and price bands.